MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Summer festivals 2014


  • (May 22 – 25)Dylan Days

    Hibbing, MN

    Bob's hometown celebrates his 73rd birthday with a film festival, singer-songwriter contest, photo exhibit and Bobby Zimmerman bus tour.

  • (May 22 – 26)ChocolateFest

    Burlington, WI

    This big festival in southeast Wisconsin features a battle of the chefs, the Project Yum-way candy-wrapper design contest and chocolate-eating contests, plus a crafts fair and carnival.

  • (May 23 – 24)Festival of Nature

    Baileys Harbor, WI

    Ridges Sanctuary hosts this annual festival, with programs and field trips on wildflowers, birds, trees and insects held around Door County.

  • (May 23 – 26)Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

    Oak Forest, IL

    In this west Chicago suburb, there's lots of music, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.

  • (May 24 – 26)Fort Michilimackinac Pageant

    Mackinaw City, MI

    This free pageant at Colonial Michilimackinac features a cast of more than 400, re-enacting events that took place between the French, British and Indian tribes on June 2, 1763.

    There are also 18th-century fashion shows, voyageur contests, kids' games, a Saturday parade and fireworks.

  • (May 24 – 25)Native American Festival

    St. Ignace, MI

    This family-friendly festival at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture features drumming, dancing, singing, Ojibwa games, artisan workshops and Sunday mass in Ojibwa.

  • (May 25)BobFest

    Spring Green, WI

    The Spring Green General Store in this artistic town on the Wisconsin River celebrates Bob Dylan's 73rd birthday with free outdoor music.

  • (May 30 – 31)Street Faire at the Lakes

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    This western-Minnesota lake town hosts a juried arts show with music, fair food and a beer garden.

  • (May 31)CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival

    Des Moines, IA

    This festival at the State Capitol Complex features martial arts, lion dancers, chopstick races, a fashion show and a fortune-cookie world-record attempt.


  • (Jun 1)Ride the Drive

    Madison, WI

    Ride, walk or skate a car-free six-mile loop along Lake Monona, around the State Capitol and through downtown. There are also family activities, parades, food and music.

  • (Jun 1)Model A Day

    Sharon, WI

    In this hamlet near Lake Geneva, on the Illinois border, Model A's from the 1920s and '30s line main street, and people dressed as gangsters and flappers promenade in front of historic buildings.

  • (Jun 6 – 8)Buffalo Days

    Luverne, MN

    This festival in the southwest corner of Minnesota features a cow-chip throwing contest, fire-truck ladder rides, duck races, an arts show and a big parade.


  • (Jun 6 – 15)Lilac Festival

    Mackinac Island, MI

    Most of the events of this festival charge a fee, except for the closing-day grand parade, but the island really is gorgeous when its lilacs are blooming.

  • (Jun 6 – 8)Fresh Art Spring Tour

    Lake Pepin, WI

    Artists' studios and gardens will be open along the Mississippi and in the bluffs between Maiden Rock and Pepin in western Wisconsin.

  • (Jun 6 – 8)2 Rivers Wine & Jazz Festival

    Ottawa, IL

    The festival in this town on the Fox and Illinois rivers features wine from 25 Illinois vineyards and jazz and blues in Washington Park.

  • (Jun 8)Wisconsin state-parks open house

    All state parks, WI

    Visit a state park without paying the daily vehicle fee, $7 for residents and $10 for non-residents.

  • (Jun 10 – 15)Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival

    Worthington, MN

    This southern Minnesota town is a windsurfing hot spot and this year hosts the U.S. Windsurfing National Championships on Lake Okabena. There's also live music and Arts on the Shore.

  • (Jun 12 – 15)Irish Festival

    Oshkosh, WI

    This festival in Riverside Park on the Fox River includes Irish music, food and dancing.

  • (Jun 13 – 15)Bridgefest

    Houghton/Hancock, MI

    There will be helicopter rides, a water-ski show, a Friday parade and Saturday fireworks. The two towns are linked by the Keweenaw Peninsula's massive Portage Lift Bridge.

  • (Jun 13 – 14)Balloon Rally

    Monroe, WI

    The capital of cheese country hosts Wisconsin's longest-running rally. There's a balloon launch and glow Friday evening and a 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. launch Saturday, as well as an arts and crafts fair, classic-car show, live music, games and food.

  • (Jun 13 – 14)More on 34

    Aurora to Galesburg, IL

    A 131-mile yard sale along U.S. 34 from Aurora to Galesburg, with events in many towns.

  • (Jun 13 – 15)Stone Arch Bridge Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    250 artists show their wares on the banks of the Mississippi at St. Anthony Main. There are also three stages, art for kids and a car show.

  • (Jun 13 – 15)Old Canal Days

    Lockport, IL

    Lockport was the headquarters of the Illinois & Michigan Canal and site of the first lock; now it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

    At its festival, there are historic reenactors, horse-drawn carriage tours of the canal, duck races, a juried craft show, music and a Friday parade.

  • (Jun 14)Northern Spark

    Minneapolis, MN

    From sunset to sunrise, artists perform a variety of projects at museums and outdoor venues along the riverfront and around Minneapolis.

  • (Jun 20 – 22)Great Galena Balloon Race

    Galena, IL

    Eagle Ridge Resort hosts two balloon races, two night glows and rides for the public. An Alefest Friday includes tastings of more than 100 beers.

  • (Jun 21 – 22)Midsummer Fest

    Coon Valley, WI

    This family festival at Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center, in the coulees near La Crosse, features the best of Scandinavian culture: food, music and crafts. For children, there will be a visit from the trolls by the bridge, fjord horses and a scavenger hunt.

  • (Jun 21 – 22)Afton Strawberry Festival

    Afton, MN

    This village on the St. Croix River revives an old tradition with a European-style flea market, art fair, music and children's activities.


  • (Jun 21 – 22)Air and Water Show

    Milwaukee, WI

    This show, between Bradford and McKinley beaches on the lakefront, features many aerobatics.

  • (Jun 21 – 22)Spring Iowa Barn Tour

    Northwest, IA

    This year's tour of historic barns is in Plymouth, Cherokee, and Sioux counties in northwest Iowa.

  • (Jun 21)Walk Around the World International Festival

    Rochester, MN

    Performances, food and a market showcase cultures around the world in Peace Plaza downtown. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • (Jun 27 – 29)Water Ski Days

    Lake City, MN

    There's music, an arts and crafts fair and, on Sunday, a 2 p.m. parade followed by a water-ski show on Lake Pepin, where water-skiing was invented.

  • (Jun 27 – 28)Midwest Viking/Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival

    Moorhead, MN

    This festival at the Hjemkomst Center includes demonstrations, performances and goods that tell about society and culture in Viking-age Scandinavia and beyond.

  • (Jun 28)Rhythm & Booms

    Madison, WI

    There's a carnival, music, bicycle parade and fireworks over Lake Monona.

  • (Jun 28)Cardboard Cup Regatta

    Crystal Lake, IL

    Watch or enter the cardboard-boat races on Main Beach, where prizes are awarded in many categories.


  • (Jul 2 – 6)Petunia Festival

    Dixon, IL

    This festival in the Hometown of Ronald Reagan features music, a carnival, fireworks and a Sunday parade.

  • (Jul 2 – 6)Sawdust Days

    Oshkosh, WI

    This festival in Menominee Park, next to Lake Winnebago, celebrates the logging era, when Oshkosh was known as Sawdust City. It includes a historic village, flea market, carnival, Fourth of July fireworks and music on four stages, including Sabor-a-Mexico.

  • (Jul 3 – 6)Eyes to the Skies Festival

    Lisle, IL

    This large festival on the west edge of Chicago features a daily hot-air balloon launches, glows and fireworks shows, plus children's activities and a craft fair.

  • (Jul 3 – 5)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

    In LeClaire Park on the river, blues musicians celebrate the music that traveled up the Mississippi.

  • (Jul 3 – 5)Iowa City Jazz Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This downtown festival features a Culinary Row, Fun Zone for kids and Sunday fireworks in addition to music.

  • (Jul 3 – 5)Riverfest

    La Crosse, WI

    This big riverfront festival includes water-ski and air shows, an arts and crafts fair, a lip-sync contest, a dragon-boat race, Venetian and family parades and music on four stages.

  • (Jul 3 – 4)Red White and Boom

    Minneapolis, MN

    On Thursday, there's the Hot Dam 5K fun fun, followed by music and a movie. On Friday, there's a half-marathon in the morning, and music and family activities from 6 to 10 p.m., followed by fireworks.

    Festivities are along the riverfront downtown.


  • (Jul 3 – 6)Ribfest

    Naperville, IL

    Big-name bands perform in Knoch Park, where there's also magic shows, kids' games, food and fireworks on the last evening.

  • (Jul 3 – 6)Taste of Minnesota

    Waconia, MN

    This revived free family festival features food, music, games and fireworks. Originally planned for Harriet Island in St. Paul, it now will be at the Carver County Fairgrounds in this southwest Minneapolis exurb.

  • (Jul 4 – 6)Blues Festival

    Thunder Bay, ON

    This festival has a scenic location in Marina Park, on the Lake Superior waterfront.

  • (Jul 4)Fourth Fest

    Duluth, MN

    Duluth claims to have Minnesota's largest fireworks show, part of festivities in Bayfront Festival Park.

  • (Jul 4 – 6)Prairie Home Companion 40th Anniversary Celebration

    St. Paul, MN

    On the grounds of Macalester College, Garrison Keillor and friends celebrate 40 years of the renowned public-radio variety show. Many activities are free, including a Community Sing-Along with Keillor at noon Sunday.

    The extensive musical lineup includes Iris DeMent, Gillian Welch and the Wailin' Jennys.

  • (Jul 5 – 12)National Cherry Festival

    Traverse City, MI

    This town on Lake Michigan attracts half a million people to events that include air shows, an arts fair, music, races, the big Cherry Royale Parade and many contests, including pie-eating and pit-spitting.

  • (Jul 9 – 13)Winnipeg Folk Festival

    Winnipeg, MB

    This easy-going, family-friendly festival features 70 performers, food and hand-made art from around the world plus a fun play area for children.

    Many people camp on-site at Birds Hill Provincial Park. Tickets are cheapest when bought in advance.

  • (Jul 9 – 13)Taste of Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    The big free festival in Grant Park offers lots of food and music. Headliners include AWOLNATION, Janelle Monae, Nickel Creek, Emmylou Harris, Jeff Tweedy and Aloe Blacc.

  • (Jul 10 – 13)Bastille Days

    Milwaukee, WI

    Look for minstrels, beignets, French lessons, a Mardi Gras celebration and a 43-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower in Cathedral Square Park.

  • (Jul 10 – 12)Heart of the North Rodeo

    Spooner, WI

    Look for the four R's in this western Wisconsin town: roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. A parade is on Saturday.

  • (Jul 10 – 13)Iola Old Car Show

    Iola, WI

    This show and swap meet brings up to 130,000 people to this village east of Stevens Point.

  • (Jul 10 – 13)Balloon Rally/Ribfest/Chalkfest

    Wausau, WI

    At the airport, Balloon Rally & Glow features barnstormer plane rides, kite-flying, pig-racing, music and fireworks. Also at the airport, the Big Bull Falls BBQ Ribfest is Thursday through Saturday.

    On Saturday and Sunday, artists decorate downtown during Chalkfest.

  • (Jul 11 – 12)Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant

    Walnut Grove, MN

    The festival in this western Minnesota town revolves around the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek.'' Family Festivals are held each Saturday.

  • (Jul 11 – 20)Northwest Water Carnival

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    This big festival celebrates its 80th year with a sand-castle contest, water fights, ship-building (in less than 30 minutes), beer tasting, watermelon feed, bike tour and more. On the last day, there's a big parade at 1 p.m.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Blissfest

    Cross Village, MI

    This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas. There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. Rustic camping is available.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Karl Oskar Days

    Lindstrom, MN

    The festival in this Swedish town just north of the Twin Cities features fireworks, a car show and a parade.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Wild Rice Festival

    Deer River, MN

    This northern town near Grand Rapids offers a powwow Friday, wild-rice lunch, bike rodeo, sawdust scramble, singing competition and fireworks Saturday and a parade Sunday.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Windmill City Festival

    Batavia, IL

    There's a carnival, pet parade, ice-cream eating contest and live bands in the town on the Fox River.

  • (Jul 11 – 20)Fiesta Days

    McHenry, IL

    There's a Music Fest, carnival and car and motorcycle s Petersen Park the first weekend and a children's ice cream social, Shakespeare Festival, arts and crafts fair and a Sunday parade the second weekend in Veteran's Memorial Park.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival

    Clear Lake, IA

    There are professional races plus a tour and family fun rides at this festival based in City Park.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)South Shore Frolics

    Milwaukee, WI

    This festival in Bay View's South Shore Park includes bands, games, a car show, nightly fireworks and a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday.

  • (Jul 12 – 13)Phelps Mill Festival

    Phelps, MN

    There's a juried arts and crafts fair, children's activities and music in this bucolic, tucked-away park along the Otter Tail River, next to an 1889 brick and clapboard mill that's open for tours.

    The hamlet of Phelps is just west of Otter Tail Lake and north of Underwood.

  • (Jul 12 – 13)Art Fair On/Off the Square

    Madison, WI

    Nearly 500 artists from around the nation will be selling on Capitol Square and 140 Wisconsin artists around Monona Terrace, attracting more than 200,000 people.

  • (Jul 12 – 13)Grand Marais Arts Festival

    Grand Marais, MN

    This juried art show along the Lake Superior harbor includes children's activities, art demonstrations, a pie social and live music.

  • (Jul 12)Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games

    Farmington, MN

    This fest south of St. Paul features Celtic music, a British car show, a harp competition and heavy games -- hammer throwing, sheaf tossing, caber turning and the stone put.

  • (Jul 18 – 26)Aquatennial

    Minneapolis, MN

    Among the highlights of this big festival are the Lake Calhoun milk-carton boat races and sandcastle contest, the Hennepin Avenue Torchlight Parade and Mississippi River fireworks show.

  • (Jul 18 – 20)Bavarian Blast

    New Ulm, MN

    "Das Fest Mit Fun'' features German music, food and beer at the Brown County Fair Grounds in this Minnesota River Valley town. The big parade is Sunday.

  • (Jul 18 – 20)Highland Fest

    St. Paul, MN

    This street fair in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood includes an arts fair, music, carnival rides, wiener-dog races, a strongman competition and food.

  • (Jul 18 – 20)Festa Italiana

    Milwaukee, WI

    At the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park, there's cannoli-eating and pizza-making contests, celebrity chefs, a bocce ball tournament, parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, nightly fireworks and music and dance on five stages and an opera tent.

  • (Jul 18 – 20)Stillwater Log Jam

    Stillwater, MN

    The festival in this St. Croix River town features historical pontoon-boat tours, vintage baseball, lumberjack demonstrations, a fishing contest, music and a parade.

  • (Jul 19)Stockholm Art Fair

    Stockholm, WI

    This hamlet on Lake Pepin, a favorite day trip destination for Twin Citians, becomes a shopping mecca during this big fair.

  • (Jul 19 – 20)Agate Days

    Moose Lake, MN

    See the beautiful stones on display, then dig for them at 2 p.m. Saturday during the Agate Stampede, when a load of rocks seeded with 400 pounds agates and $400 in quarters is dumped downtown.

    There's also music and an art fair.

  • (Jul 19)Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    Hear island music on Lake Superior, from Bayfront Festival Park.

  • (Jul 19 – 20)Oregon Trail Days

    Oregon, IL

    This town on the Rock River celebrates its heritage with an American Indian encampment and cowboy and frontier acts, with Wild West activities for kids and canoe rides. It's in Lowden State Park, and tipis are available to camp in.

    Proceeds go to restore Oregon's 48-foot statue of Chief Black Hawk, made in 1911.

  • (Jul 19 – 26)Charlevoix Venetian Festival

    Charlevoix, MI

    A week of music and games winds up with an 11 a.m. street parade and 10 p.m. lighted boat parade, followed by fireworks.

  • (Jul 19 – 20)Ethnic Arts Festival

    Evanston, IL

    Dawes Park on Lake Michigan turns into a global village for this celebration of music, dance, arts and food.

  • (Jul 20)Woodstock Folk Festival

    Woodstock, IL

    Music on the square in this town not far over the Wisconsin border from Lake Geneva.

  • (Jul 20)Chinatown Summer Fair

    Chicago, IL

    This neighborhood street festival includes a lion-dance procession, baby and cutest dog contests and food from the many restaurants.

  • (Jul 22 – 27)Waterama

    Glenwood, MN

    This festival on the shores of Lake Minnewaska is famous for its lighted pontoon parade, followed by fireworks. On Sunday, there's a parade on land, followed by a water-ski show.

  • (Jul 23 – 26)Great River Days

    Muscatine, IA

    This festival in Riverfront Park includes paddlewheeler rides, a carnival, battle of the bands, wiener-dog dash, main-stage evening concerts and a Saturday parade.

  • (Jul 24 – 26)Lumberjack World Championships

    Hayward, WI

    You can't see this kind of thing just anywhere: cut-throat log rolling, boom running, springboard chopping and speed climbing.

  • (Jul 24 – 26)Nordic Fest

    Decorah, IA

    Ole and Lena host this friendly, authentic, very fun and very large festival of Scandinavian culture. The parade, one of the region's best, is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

  • (Jul 25 – 27)North Star Stampede

    Effie, MN

    The rodeo in this town of 90 is a good excuse to explore the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, which winds through Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids.

  • (Jul 25 – 27)Pierogi Fest

    Whiting, IN

    This suburb of Chicago exalts the plump Eastern European dumplings, filled with cheese, mashed potatoes or sauerkraut, with pierogi eating and tossing contests, a Mr. Pierogi songfest and a Polka Parade.

  • (Jul 25 – Aug 2)National Balloon Classic

    Indianola, IA

    This giant hot-air balloon festival includes daily flights, rides for the public, music, night glows, fireworks and a parade.

  • (Jul 25 – 27)German Fest

    Milwaukee, WI

    Look for dachshunds, dirndls and lots of oompah music at this big party at Henry Maier Festival Park on Lake Michigan.

  • (Jul 25 – 27)Taste of Wisconsin

    Kenosha, WI

    This free harborfront festival features locally produced specialties as well as cooking demonstrations, gardening workshops and music on three stages.

  • (Jul 25 – Aug 3)Coast Guard Festival

    Grand Haven, MI

    There's nightly entertainment on the waterfront, a downtown carnival, tours of Coast Guard cutters, a Grand Parade and fireworks.

  • (Jul 25 – 26)Riverboat Days

    Wabasha, MN

    There's a lighted boat parade Friday, and on Saturday an arts fair, firemen's water fight, waterfront carriage rides and a 6 p.m. Grande Parade.

  • (Jul 26)ArtBike + ArtCar Parade

    Minneapolis, MN

    Decorated bikes, cars and one Couchmobile will circle Lake Harriet at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to bring a decorated conveyance and join the parade; meet at 5 p.m. at the Rose Garden.

  • (Jul 26)Circus Celebration Day

    Baraboo, WI

    In the downtown square, there will be circus-themed performances, walking tours, music, children's activities and a Big Top parade.

  • (Jul 28 – Aug 3)EAA AirVenture

    Oshkosh, WI

    This huge Experimental Aircraft Association festival includes air shows, fireworks, big-name concerts, children's activities, workshops, exhibits and rides in historic aircraft.

    Reserve lodgings early; it fills rooms within a 60-mile radius.

  • (Jul 29 – Aug 3)Mississippi Valley Fair

    Davenport, IA

    There are chainsaw artists, a zip line and alligator and bear shows as well as a carnival and grandstand acts that include national country musicians.

  • (Jul 30 – Aug 3)Riverfest

    Ottawa, IL

    At the confluence of the Fox River with the Illinois, there's a carnival, paddleboat races, Art in the Park, Taste of Ottawa, live bands and a parade at 1 p.m. Aug. 3.

  • (Jul 31 – Aug 10)Wisconsin State Fair

    West Allis, WI

    The fair in this Milwaukee suburb features lots of contests, including hog-calling, cookie-stacking and cream puff-eating.

  • (Jul 31 – Aug 2)Brat Days

    Sheboygan, WI

    This town on Lake Michigan is sausage central. There's music, a carnival, beer and, of course, a brat-eating contest. The parade is Saturday.

  • (Jul 31 – Aug 3)Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival

    Davenport, IA

    Since 1972, fans of this Jazz Age cornetist and composer have held this festival in his hometown on the Mississippi.

  • (Jul 31 – Aug 3)Riverfest

    Niles, MI

    This festival along the St. Joseph River features dragon-boat races, fan boat rides and raft races, plus music, arts and a car and truck show.


  • (Aug. 1)Pie Day

    Braham, MN

    Minnesota's official Pie Capital near Cambridge holds pie-eating contests, a pie trivia contest and performances of the Pie-Alleuia Chorus.

  • (Aug. 1 – 3)River City Days

    Red Wing, MN

    In this Mississippi River town, there's music, food and games in Bay Point Park and an arts show in Levee Park. There's a Venetian boat parade at dusk Saturday and the grand parade Sunday.

  • (Aug. 1 – 3)Buffalo Bill Days

    Lanesboro, MN

    Ride the Root River State Trail then enjoy music, games and food in this bluff-country burg. A parade is Sunday.

  • (Aug. 1 – 3)Fisherman's Picnic

    Grand Marais, MN

    There's a lot going on at the North Shore's biggest festival, including loon-calling, log-rolling, herring-eating and rock-skipping contests; Saturday fireworks; and the grand parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.

  • (Aug. 1 – 3)Uptown Art Fair

    Minneapolis, MN

    This large juried art fair in the Uptown neighborhood draws crowds. Use a Nice Ride bike or download a free bus/train pass, www.metrotransit.org/artpass, to avoid congestion and to get to the two other art fairs in south Minneapolis.

  • (Aug. 2 – 3)Loring and Powderhorn arts festivals

    Minneapolis, MN

    These smaller festivals in Powderhorn Park, in south Minneapolis, and Loring Park, on the edge of downtown, are not far from the Uptown Art Fair. All are easily reached by bus shuttle or by bicycle on the Midtown Greenway.

  • (Aug. 3 – 16)Folklorama

    Winnipeg, MB

    This Manitoba prairie town celebrates its heritage with pavilions representing 44 nationalities, offering music, dance and food at many venues.

  • (Aug. 3)Taste of Dorset

    Dorset, MN

    Ride the Heartland State Trail to this tiny "burp in the road'' near Park Rapids, then eat your way down the street. And don't forget to vote (or run) for mayor. Food is served 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • (Aug. 7 – 17)Iowa State Fair

    Des Moines, IA

    See a diaper derby, outhouse races and mullet contest, and don't miss the butter sculptures.

  • (Aug. 7 – 10)Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

    Richmond, MN

    This 35th annual family-friendly festival includes music on five stages and workshops at El Rancho Mañana Campground, 20 miles west of St. Cloud.

  • (Aug. 7 – 9)Tug Fest

    LeClaire and Port Byron, IAIL

    The two towns stretch a 680-pound, 2,400-foot rope across the Mississippi River for the ultimate tug of war. (Over 27 years, the score is Illinois 16, Iowa 11.) There's also a parade, fireworks, children's games, concerts and carnival rides.

  • (Aug. 7 – 9)WE Fest

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    This big fest in west-central Minnesota snags the biggest names in country music . Headliners this year include Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band. There's camping onsite.

  • (Aug. 7 – 10)National Blueberry Festival

    South Haven, MI

    Eat until you're blue in the face during the festival in this Lake Michigan beach town. There's a pie-eating contest, riverfront concerts , an arts fair and a big parade on Saturday.

  • (Aug. 7 – 10)Sweet Corn Festival

    Mendota, IL

    The festival in this town between Rochelle and La Salle features nearly 50 tons of free buttered corn, live music, a flea market, a carnival and a parade.

  • (Aug. 7 – 10)Mile of Music

    Appleton, WI

    More than 100 singer-songwriters perform at more than 40 venues along College Avenue downtown.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Grand Portage Powwow & Rendezvous

    Grand Portage, MN

    Re-enactors from across the continent gather at Grand Portage National Monument for the annual fur-trade rendezvous; next door, the  Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa holds a powwow. Reserve lodgings far in advance.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Bayfront Blues Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The 26th annual music fest on the Lake Superior harbor showcases national and regional acts on three stages.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Irish Fair

    St. Paul, MN

    This big heritage fest on the banks of the Mississippi includes Irish Got Talent and best legs in a kilt contests, hurling demonstrations, dancing and lots of music.

  • (Aug. 8 – 9)Cache Ba$h

    West Bend, WI

    This town north of Milwaukee calls itself the Geocache Capital of the Midwest. For the festival, it hides 50 new caches and gives away $1,000 in cash prizes.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Twin Cities Polish Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    This celebration of Polish culture is on the St. Anthony Main riverfront across from downtown, with music, art, food and free polka lessons.

  • (Aug. 8 – 9)Festival of the Horse

    Mackinac Island, MI

    There's a carriage parade, saddle-horse parade, horseback riding and driving demos, historic stable tours and pony rides.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Ship & Shore Festival

    New Buffalo, MI

    In this Lake Michigan beach town, there's a lighted boat parade, fireworks, microbrew-sampling, an art fair and ice-cream and watermelon-eating contests.

  • (Aug. 8 – 9)Ashley for the Arts music festival

    Arcadia, WI

    The Beach Boys and Ingrid Michaelson headline this nonprofit festival in the southwest Wisconsin bluffs, half an hour north of Winona, Minn.

    Tickets are $5. In addition to music, there will be a hot-air balloon launch, car show, arts, a youth obstacle course and Saturday fireworks.

  • (Aug. 9 – 10)Civil War Days

    Pipestone, MN

    In the southwest corner of Minnesota, this festival includes quilting bees, etiquette and ballroom dance lessons, camp tours, children's games, band concerts and a grand ball. Battle re-enactments are held both days.

  • (Aug. 9 – 15)Pyrotechnics Guild International Fireworks Extravaganza

    Mason City, IA

    Fireworks experts convene to show off their best and most complicated techniques, choreographed to music.

  • (Aug. 13 – 17)Venetian Festival

    Lake Geneva, WI

    In this southeast Wisconsin vacation area, the festival includes a carnival, arts and crafts fair, firefighter water fight and, on Sunday, a water-ski show followed by a lighted boat parade and fireworks.

  • (Aug. 14 – 17)Irish Fest

    Milwaukee, WI

    The nation's largest Irish festival features more than 300 entertainers on 17 stages, plus children's activities and demonstrations by Irish dog breeds. In Henry Maier Festival Park.

  • (Aug. 15 – 17)Oronoco Gold Rush

    Oronoco, MN

    The antiques show and flea market in this friendly little village just north of Rochester off U.S. 52 includes more than 400 vendors and 1,200 booths. There's also pancakes for breakfast, homemade pie and music.

  • (Aug. 15 – 17)Maritime Heritage Festival

    Port Washington, WI

    Watch cardboard-boat races, listen to music, ride a Ferris wheel, cruise the harbor and tour the tall ship Peacemaker.

  • (Aug. 15 – 16)Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

    Wausau, WI

    Enjoy national and local blues musicians in Fern Island Park. There's a beer garden, of course.

  • (Aug. 15 – 16)River Roots Live

    Davenport, IA

    This free music festival in LeClaire Park, on the banks of the Mississippi, also features Rib Festival and the paddling festival Floatzilla.


  • (Aug. 16 – 17)Air & Water Show

    Chicago, IL

    The 56th annual free show features aerobatics, extreme flying and parachuting off North Avenue Beach.

  • (Aug. 21 – Sep 1)Minnesota State Fair

    St. Paul, MN

    See the Luminarium, try beer flights at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, eat food on a stick and listen to free concerts.

  • (Aug. 21 – 23)Minnesota Hiking Celebration

    Duluth, MN

    The North Country Trail Association is hosting a hiking festival from Spirit Mountain, including guided hikes on the Duluth part of the Superior Hiking Trail, family activities, hiking programs and a Hiking & Outdoors Expo on Saturday.

  • (Aug. 22 – 24)Artstreet

    Green Bay, WI

    Artists, performers and craft and food stands fill streets downtown near the Fox River.

  • (Aug. 22 – 23)Potato Days

    Barnesville, MN

    This goofy central-Minnesota festival features mashed-potato wrestling, a golden potato hunt, potato car races, peeling and eating contests and a Saturday parade.

  • (Aug. 22 – 24)Mexican Fiesta

    Milwaukee, WI

    Enjoy the best of Mexican culture at the Henry Maier Festival Park: mariachi, arts and crafts, spicy foods and contests: dance, costume, jalapeno-eating and el grito, or shouting.

  • (Aug. 22 – 23)Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival

    Superior, WI

    The festival on Barker's Island begins Friday with a parade of teams, fireworks and a concert and continues Saturday with races in the harbor and family entertainment.

  • (Aug. 22 – 24)Great River Folk Festival

    La Crosse, WI

    This festival in Riverside Park includes children's activities and craft demonstrations.

  • (Aug. 22 – 23)Summer Microbrew & Music Festival

    Traverse City, MI

    Brandi Carlile and Nahko and Medicine for the People headline this festival at Grand Traverse Commons, which also features more than 200 craft beers.

  • (Aug. 23 – 24)Festival in the Pines

    Eau Claire, WI

    There's music on two stages, children's games, a petting zoo and an arts fair in Carson Park. Entry to Paul Bunyan Logging Camp and Chippewa Valley Museum is included.

  • (Aug. 23)Cultivate Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    Chipotle puts on this free food and music festival in Loring Park, with demonstrations by well-known local chefs, six bands, children's activities and a tasting hall for craft brew and wine.

  • (Aug. 25 – 31)National Old Time Country Bluegrass Festival

    LeMars, IA

    More than 600 musicians perform on 10 stages in this town in northwest Iowa.

  • (Aug. 28 – 31)Chicago Jazz Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free festival features music at the Chicago Cultural Center and  Millennium Park.

  • (Aug. 28 – 31)International Tug of War Championships

    Madison, WI

    See world-class tugging at the pulling grounds in Madison.

  • (Aug. 29 – Sep 1)Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

    Rollag, MN

    Revel in the past during this show of antique machinery, which includes rides on trains and a carousel, square dancing, roving musicians and nightly jamborees.

    In 2014, the show will feature steam shovels and other construction equipment.

  • (Aug. 29 – 31)Wilhelm Tell Festival

    New Glarus, WI

    This Swiss town near Madison has been putting on an outdoor William Tell pageant since 1938. Festivities include a children's lantern parade, yodeling, an arts show and ethnic fashions.

  • (Aug. 29 – 30)Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw

    Prairie du Sac, WI

    There's chip-chucking contests in this Wisconsin River town, but also music, kids' games and an arts and crafts fair. The Tournament of Chips parade is at noon Saturday.

  • (Aug. 29 – 30)Vinton Boomtown

    Vinton, IA

    Fireworks provided by the Iowa Pyrotechnic Association are the centerpiece for this fest, which includes arts & crafts, food and kids' activities.

  • (Aug. 30 – 31)Marquette Area Blues Fest

    Marquette, MI

    Two days of music in Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior.

  • (Aug. 30 – 31)Taste of Madison

    Madison, WI

    This free benefit festival on Capitol Square includes 300 menu items from more than 80 restaurants, all priced at $1-$4. There's also music on three stages.

    On Sunday, there's a lighted boat parade on Lake Mendota, followed by fireworks.

  • (Aug. 30 – Sep 1)Frankfort Fall Festival

    Frankfort, IL

    The festival in this southern suburb of Chicago features more than 300 artisans, entertainment, a carnival and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.

  • (Aug. 31 – Sep 1)Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival

    Geneva, IL

    Musicians and storytellers perform on eight stages at this festival in Island Park on the Fox River.