MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Great winter festivals

Enjoy the chilly season with snow sculptures, ice castles, sleigh rides and lots of hot chocolate.

Artists at the Art Shanties.

© Beth Gauper

There are lots of goofy goings-on at the Art Shanties near Minneapolis.

True northerners don't let cold weather keep them indoors, not when they could be out on the ice playing broomball and bowling turkeys. 

Many festivals in winter are held on frozen lakes, the best place for kite-flying, ice golf and hot-air balloon lift-offs. In northern Minnesota, an ice-house city goes up on Leech Lake for the goofy Eelpout Festival in February.

In parks, elaborate ice and snow sculptures entertain passersby. On rivers, buses take tourists to see bald eagles. Bonfires and hot chocolate are offered everywhere.

Below are some of the fun festivals going on around the region in 2016.

Always check before you go to verify dates and to make sure you catch the best parts of a festival, especially the parades.

For candlelight events, see Ski or snowshoe by candlelight.

For more about eagle-watching events, see Where eagles land.

For events year-round, see the Events Calendar.

New Year's celebrations

Look for fireworks everywhere New Year's Eve, especially in La Crosse, where the Skyrockers are famous for their pyrotechnics from Grandad Bluff (midnight, with a kids' show at 6 p.m.).

For getaway ideas, see 10 great ways to celebrate New Year's.

Cheese Drop in Plymouth, WI For the big Cheese Drop in this eastern Wisconsin town, an 80-pound lighted wedge of cheese is dropped 100 feet at 10 p.m. There will also be free live music and s'mores bar. Dec. 31.

Chi-Town Rising in Chicago, IL For this new celebration, a giant star will rise 36 stories up the side of a hotel tower — because "Chicagoans don't drop the ball.'' There will also be music concerts and fireworks at midnight. It's along the Chicago River between Michigan and Columbus avenues. Dec. 31.

New Year's Day Parade in Egg Harbor, WI Welcome the new year with a 1 p.m. parade. Jan. 1.

Second weekend of January

Bald Eagle Days in Rock Island, IL At the Quad Cities Expo Center, there's an environmental fair, with flying demonstrations by eagles, hawks and owls and many other events. Jan. 8–10.

Breezy Point Ice Fest in Breezy Point, MN This Brainerd Lakes resort village celebrates with free horse-drawn trolley rides, hot-air balloon rides, dog-sled rides, snow golf, a candlelight ski and fireworks. Jan. 8–9.

Sleigh & Cutter Rally in Ashland, WI Antique sleighs and drivers in 19th-century costumes gather at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and offer rides. Jan. 9.

Jack Frost Fest in Spooner, WI There's turkey bowling, minnow races, an antique snowmobile show and a fat-bike ride in this western Wisconsin town. Jan. 9.

International Festival in Madison, WI Dancers, musicians, storytellers and puppeteers representing traditions from around the world converge on the Overture Center for the Arts on State Street for this free festival. There's also food and a global bazaar. Jan. 9.

SISU Ski Fest in Ironwood, MI This Finnish fest includes a 10K Taste N Tour with four food stations showcasing Yooper cuisine, three snowshoe races, kids' races, a free Finnish reggae concert Saturday and 21K and 42K races through historic mining areas, scenic bluffs and along the Montreal River. Jan. 9.

Winter Festival in La Farge, WI Visit the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for horse-drawn wagon rides, guided snowshoe and ice-cave hikes, winter games and a sled-dog race.   Jan. 9.

Gunflint Mail Run sled-dog race in Gunflint Trail, MN Mushers travel two legs of 50 miles, starting and ending at the Trail Center Lodge on the Central Gunflint Trail. Jan. 9–10.

Bald Eagle Watch in Clinton, IA Two Mississippi River towns host this event, with live-eagle and nature programs at Iowa's Clinton Community College and free bus service to Lock & Dam 13 in Fulton, Ill. Jan. 9.

Winter 4Play MSP in Minneapolis, MN Play outdoors on the beach at Fort Snelling State Park, near the airport. There's an artist-created exercise course, snowshoeing, skiing, skijoring, ice-fishing, quinzee-building, bird-watching and flamenco dancing, plus bonfires, music, s'mores and an epic snowball "event'' at 2 p.m. Jan. 9.

A Bock Fest parade.

© Beth Gauper

Bock Fest in New Ulm signals the end of winter.

Third weekend of January

Icebox Days in International Falls, MN In this far-north town, there will be smoosh races, frozen turkey bowling, a toilet-seat toss, boot hockey and fireworks. On Saturday, there's the annual Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run. Jan. 14–17.

Bald Eagle Watching Days in Prairie du Sac, WI This town along the Wisconsin River, next to a hydroelectric plant, offers guided bus tours, live birds of prey programs and kids' activities. Jan. 15–16.

Janboree in Waukesha, WI The fest in this Milwaukee suburb includes Friday-night fireworks, ice sculpting, trolley rides, a penguin-egg hunt and tobogganing on the lighted run in Lowell Park.  Jan. 15–17.

The Big Chill in Racine, WI Watch the pros at Wisconsin's state snow-sculpting competition. There's also a Downtown Rail Jam for snowboarders and skiers. Postponed from Jan. 8-10. Jan. 15–17.

Bald Eagle Watch in Dubuque, IA Live-eagle programs and free trolley rides from the Grand River Center downtown to the National Mississippi River Museum and Lock & Dam 11. Jan. 16.

Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest in Madison, WI A celebration of Wisconsin's greatest products at Alliant Energy Center, with plenty to sample. Tickets sell out, so buy early. Jan. 16.

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in Keokuk, IA There's live-eagle presentations, Native American activities, demonstrations and viewing on the river. Jan. 16–17.

Lake Harriet Kite Festival in Minneapolis, MN In addition to kite-flying, this event on popular Lake Harriet includes horse-drawn wagon rides, kids' ice fishing, arts, music and roasted marshmallows. Jan. 16.

An art sled flies down the hill.

© Torsten Muller

A child flies down the hill at Minneapolis' Art Sled Rally.

Fourth weekend of January

Frostbite Olympics in Algona, IA The festival in this north-central Iowa town features snowmobile rides, ice races, snow kickball and a treasure mountain for kids. Jan. 21–23.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul, MN Watch the nation's best skaters vie for a medal. On Sunday evening, the champions and medalists have fun in an unjudged Skating Spectacular theatrical ice show. Jan. 21–24.

Restaurant Week in Chicago, IL Time to pack on the calories: More than 250 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $22 at lunch and $33-$44 at dinner. Jan. 22–Feb. 4.

Hunter Ice Festival in Niles, MI This festival in the southwest tip of the state, named for a turn-of-the-century ice-harvesting business, features more than 150 ice sculptures and a competition. Jan. 22–24.

Winterfest in Amana, IA Go on a wine walk or scavenger hunt or compete in ham-throwing, log-sawing, the Amana Freezer Run/Walk, snowshoeing or for the best beard. There will be ice sculptures, storytelling and schnitzel-sampling, too. Jan. 23.

Bald Eagle Days in Cassville, WI This Mississippi River town in southwest Wisconsin will offer raptor programs and viewing with spotting scopes in Riverside Park. Jan. 24.

Fifth weekend of January

Restaurant Week in Chicago, IL Time to pack on the calories: More than 250 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $22 at lunch and $33-$44 at dinner. Jan. 22–Feb. 4.

Winter Carnival in St. Paul, MN See ice sculptures in Rice Park (go early if it's warm), the Grande Day parade and the Torchlight Parade, followed by fireworks, the overthrow of King Boreas and the Vulcan Victory Dance. Jan. 28–Feb. 7.

Winter Games in Lake Okoboji, IA This resort area in northwest Iowa will offer human sled races, flag football on ice, indoor golf, a Freeze Yer Fanny Bike Ride, snowman painting, a chili cookoff and fireworks. Jan. 28–31.

Winterfest in Grand Haven, MI In this Lake Michigan town, there's a human sled race, cardboard sled race, luau and snow-angel contest. Jan. 28–31.

Celebration of the Lakes in Center City, MN This Chisago Lakes festival on North Center Lake includes snowmobile races, an ice-fishing tournament, sled-dog rides and a free ice-fishing clinic for kids. However, due to warm weather, events on the lake have been canceled. Jan. 29–31.

North of Normal Frostival in Fargo-Moorhead, ND This first-time festival includes snow yoga, snow golf, snow kickball and snow softball, plus s'mores and a cardboard-sled race. Jan. 29–31.

Schnee Days in Elkhart Lake, WI The Snow Days festival in this town in east-central Wisconsin includes a hunt for colored ice cubes, dog sledding and a chili cook-off. Jan. 29–31.

Groundhog Days in Woodstock, IL The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day'' was filmed in this town an hour northwest of Chicago, and it celebrates with storytelling, a bachelor auction and tours of movie sites, including the 1889 Opera House, where Bill Murray jumped from the belfry. At 7:07 a.m. Tuesday, Woodstock Willie will look for his shadow. Jan. 30–Feb. 2.

Art Sled Rally in Minneapolis, MN Watch sledders or ride down a decorated hill at Powderhorn Park in your own wacky sled, which you can make at home or at free workshops at Powderhorn Park Community Center. There's also live music and hot chocolate. Jan. 30.

Heikinpaiva in Hancock, MI The winter festival in this Finnish town on the Keweenaw Peninsula features wife-carrying, kicksled races, a polar bear dive and a parade. Jan. 30.

Norge Ski Jumping Tournament in Fox River Grove, IL See some of the nation's best jumpers compete in this northwest Chicago suburb. Jan. 30–31.

Winter Fest in Wausau, WI On the 400 Block downtown, there will be a snow slide, ice carving, ice skating, dog weight-pulling, horse-drawn wagon rides, fat-tire bike demos and a mac-and-cheese contest. The Badger Winter Games also are being held in Wausau. Jan. 30.

Eagle Watch Weekend in Utica, IL There will be eagle viewing and family activities at Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center, Starved Rock Lodge and, across the river, the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. Trolleys connect the three venues. Jan. 30–31.

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Two Harbors, MN Watch the start of the marathon to the Gunflint Trail and the mid-distance race to Tofte. The start has been changed to 11 a.m., with Meet the Mushers at 9 a.m. Conditions may change; check before going. Jan. 31.

The human sled race in Grand Haven.

© Kevin Ryan

At Winterfest in Grand Haven, contestants pull in the Human Sled Race.

First weekend of February

Restaurant Week in Chicago, IL Time to pack on the calories: More than 250 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $22 at lunch and $33-$44 at dinner. Jan. 22–Feb. 4.

Winter Carnival in St. Paul, MN See ice sculptures in Rice Park (go early if it's warm), the Grande Day parade and the Torchlight Parade, followed by fireworks, the overthrow of King Boreas and the Vulcan Victory Dance. Jan. 28–Feb. 7.

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship and Winterfest in Lake Geneva, WI Watch artists shape snow into whimsical shapes, and vote on the best ones. There's also music, food, children's entertainment and helicopter rides. Feb. 3–7.

Winter Carnival in Houghton, MI This snow fest at Michigan Tech University includes a human dog-sled race, snow volleyball and a tug of war and ends with a torchlight parade and fireworks at Mont Ripley ski hill. Feb. 3–6.

Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake, IA The Surf Ballroom marks the 57th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly with concerts, luncheons, dance lessons and crash-site tours. Feb. 3–6.

Winter Festival in Ely, MN There are guided snowshoe hikes, a beard contest, snow sculpting, an arts market, a fat-tire bike ride, Ely Folk School classes and a candlelight ski. Feb. 4–14.

WinterFest in Crosslake, MN In this Brainerd Lakes area, there are horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice car races, helicopter rides, Friday fireworks and Italian Outdoor Olympics. Feb. 4–6.

Snowflake Ski-Jumping Tournament in Westby, WI At the top of a hill that's the equivalent of a 41-story skyscraper, watch jumpers fly by at 55 mph. It no longer attracts many international skiers, but it's still fun to watch because the jump is built onto the side of a coulee, and spectators can climb it and watch from the top. Feb. 5–6.

Hot Air Affair in Hudson, WI There will be a Friday night torchlight parade and fireworks plus a craft fair, smoosh boarding, morning balloon launches and evening moon glows. Feb. 5–7.

Winter Festival in Fish Creek, WI This Door County village lets loose with events that include a toilet-seat throw, pie tin toss, bean-bag cannon shoot, smoosh racing and an ugly-sweater contest. There are also free trolley rides, ice carving, a fiddle contest, a snowshoe dance and fireworks at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 5–7.

Ice Breaker in South Haven, MI There's an ice-carving competition in this Lake Michigan town, plus wagon rides, synchronized skating and a chili cook-off. Feb. 5–7.

City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis, MN For recreational skiers, the highlight of this big cross-country ski festival is the Saturday-night Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles, with glowing ice pillars and "ruins.'' It's a walk this year. Afterward, there's a tent party with music. On Saturday, there are classical races, ski games for children, a snow-sculpture contest and orienteering, ice-cycle and skijoring races. On Sunday, there's a 10k tour and 21k and 42k freestyle races plus snowshoeing, skijoring, fat tire and dog-sled races and ski games for children.   Feb. 5–7.

Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes, MN The first weekend features a snowman build, fishing derby, wildlife tracking and fat-tire bike races. The second weekend, there will be a polar plunge, fishing derby and fireworks.   Feb. 5–14.

Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph, MI Watch the pros carve sculptures in this Lake Michigan town. There's also entertainment, a scavenger hunt and magic and crafts for kids. Feb. 5–7.

WinterFest in Rochester, MN This southern Minnesota city offers a a candlelight ski Friday, sleigh rides, a run/walk and figure-skating competitions Saturday and a cardboard sled race Sunday. Feb. 5–7.

Scandihoovian Winter Festival in Mount Horeb, WI In this town just west of Madison, there's turkey bowling, a snowman-building contest, kick sledding, a spelling bee and a vintage snowmobile show and ride. Feb. 5–7.

Bock Fest in New Ulm, MN There's a parade of mythical Germanic characters, a hunt for billy-goat heads on the Schell Brewery grounds and beyond and a big party afterward with beer, live music and a bonfire. Feb. 6.

Art Shanty Projects in White Bear Lake, MN Frozen White Bear Lake in this northern St. Paul suburb hosts two dozen artist-designed ice houses and lots of fun art antics. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; check for scheduled events and ice conditions. For its last weekend, the village will be on the shore, in White Bear Lake County Park. Feb. 6–7.

Knickerbocker Ice Festival in Lake Mills, WI This darling town east of Madison holds a fish toss, snowball-eating contest, dad-sled race, chili cook-off and Iceberg Open golf tournament. There's ice carving and ice wine, too. Feb. 6.

Iola Winter Carnival in Iola, WI This village near Waupaca offers ice carving, a lutefisk dinner, ski and snowshoe races and ski jumping. Feb. 6–7.

Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race in Bayfield, WI Watch four races over two days and get in some skiing and snowshoeing on the side. Feb. 6–7.

Smoosh racing at the City of Lakes Loppet.

© Beth Gauper

Smoosh racing is part of the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis.

Second weekend of February

Winter Festival in Ely, MN There are guided snowshoe hikes, a beard contest, snow sculpting, an arts market, a fat-tire bike ride, Ely Folk School classes and a candlelight ski. Feb. 4–14.

Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes, MN The first weekend features a snowman build, fishing derby, wildlife tracking and fat-tire bike races. The second weekend, there will be a polar plunge, fishing derby and fireworks.   Feb. 5–14.

Michigan Ice Fest in Munising, MI Watch ice-climbing demos and slide shows and take clinics for beginners at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior. Feb. 10–14.

Sax Zim Bog Festival of Birds in Meadowlands, MN Listen to programs and go on field trips to see such boreal species as evening grosbeak, northern hawk owl, gray jay and particularly snowy owls. Register early for this festival northwest of Duluth. Feb. 12–14.

Fire & Ice in Sturgeon Bay, WI Ice and snow sculptors create pieces around town. There's a novice category for beginners. Feb. 12–14.

Silver Mine Ski Jumping Championships in Eau Claire, WI Watch the U.S. Cup ski jumping and North American Nordic Combined jumping/skiing championships at Silver Mine Hill. Feb. 12–13.

Madison Winter Festival in Madison, WI See Capitol Square turn into a sports venue, with cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing plus music, family games and ice and snow sculptures. Feb. 13–14.

Book Across the Bay in Ashland/Washburn, WI Ski or snowshoe across Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay on a 10-kilometer route lined by ice luminaries. If you're not too fast, fireworks will fill the sky as you're approaching Washburn; a bonfire, chili feed and blues music follow. Feb. 13.

Auto Show in Chicago, IL This car show at McCormick Place is the largest in the nation and third-largest in the world. Feb. 13–21.

Art Shanty Projects in White Bear Lake, MN Frozen White Bear Lake in this northern St. Paul suburb hosts two dozen artist-designed ice houses and lots of fun art antics. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; check for scheduled events and ice conditions. For its last weekend, the village will be on the shore, in White Bear Lake County Park. Feb. 13–14.

Ice & Spice Festival in Bay Harbor, MI This Lake Michigan village between Petoskey and Charlevoix holds competitions sanctioned by the National Ice Carving Association plus horse-drawn sleigh and dog-sled rides and a snowman contest. Feb. 13–14.

Barstool Races in Drummond, WI In this small town north of Cable, watch people careen down a hill on decorated bar stools, then stay for the chili feed. Feb. 13.

Empire Winter Fest in Empire, MI This town on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers ice art, sled races, ice bowling, a soup cook-of and a polar plunge. Feb. 13–14.

Northwoods Blizzard Blast in Conover, WI On the snowy northeast edge of Wisconsin, go on horse-drawn sleigh rides and see recliner racing, ice bowling, dog-sled dashing, snowshoe baseball and snow sculpting. Feb. 13.

Chinese Lunar New Year's Parade in Chicago, IL Celebrate the Year of the Monkey in Chinatown with a parade at 1 p.m. Feb. 14.

Ice sculptures in St. Paul's Rice Park.

© Beth Gauper

Ice sculptures fill St. Paul's Rice Park during Winter Carnival.

Third weekend of February

Auto Show in Chicago, IL This car show at McCormick Place is the largest in the nation and third-largest in the world. Feb. 13–21.

International Eelpout Festival in Walker, MN It's fun just to wander (or drive) around Leech Lake during this event, which includes mechanical bull riding, bikini ice fishing and a beer pong tournament. Be sure to have some 'pout nuggets, which are as tasty as the fish is ugly. Feb. 18–21.

American Birkebeiner in Hayward, WI Watch the "Greatest Show on Snow,'' with races of all distances for all ages and abilities plus a ski expo, snowshoe hike, skijoring and vintage ski. This year also features the North American premiere of the new Norwegian film "Birkebeinerne,'' which tells the epic story of the first birchbarkers. On Saturday, watch the world's best skiers on the 51-kilometer marathon (55 kilometers for classic skiers), which is part of the Worldloppet circuit this year. Feb. 18–21.

Pine Mountain Ski Jumping Tournament in Iron Mountain, MI This Upper Peninsula town on the Wisconsin border is where the international jumpers go; it's a stop on the Continental Cup circuit. Feb. 20–21.

Color the Wind Kite Festival in Clear Lake, IA This town in north-central Iowa draws kiters from eight states for its festival, the largest in the Midwest, and stunt fliers will perform routines choreographed to music. Feb. 20.

Frozen Tozen Winter Fest in Boulder Junction, WI There's turkey bowling, ice golf, snowshoe races and ice fishing in this resort town north of Minocqua. Feb. 20.

Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines, IA It's all about bacon at this festival in the Iowa State Fairgrounds, which draws 12,000 people and sells out quickly. Feb. 20.

Outhouse Race in Sault Ste. Marie, MI Watch the wacky races in this Lake Superior town, "the final plop on the eastern Upper Peninsula outhouse circuit.'' They're at 2 p.m.   Feb. 20.

Winter Festival in Cedarburg, WI In its 42nd year, this festival just north of Milwaukee features bed and barrel races, a snow battle, ice-carving, camel rides, a dog weight pull competition and a parade at 1 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 20–21.

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival in Chicago, IL This festival at Navy Pier features a Chinese marketplace, dance, music, martial arts and crafts. Feb. 21.

Fourth weekend of February

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in Prairie du Chien, WI Birding experts give programs, and volunteers man spotting scopes at the Wisconsin Travel Information Center, just off the bridge into town. There will also be children's activities and an Effigy Mounds Winter Film Festival. Feb. 26–27.

Ice Cross Downhill World Championship in St. Paul, MN Red Bull Crashed Ice is returning with the extreme sport of ice cross downhill, or high-speed skating on a downhill course from the Cathedral of St. Paul. Feb. 26–27.

World's Longest Weenie Roast in Cable, WI Lakewoods Resorts hosts this benefit on Lake Namekagon, which includes snowmobile speed runs, ice bowling, a weenie-eating contest and a frozen weenie polar plunge. Feb. 26–27.

Duluth Ice & Mixed Fest in Duluth, MN This first annual festival in West Duluth's Quarry Park features a free ice-climbing clinic for youths 12 and older, beginner and intermediate clinics for adult climbers ($25) and a free guided snowshoe hike, fat-bike intro and presentations on climbing Mount Everest and the Eiger. Feb. 26–28.

Tour DuLuth in Duluth, MN The Duluth Cross-Country Ski Club shows off the city's ski trails with free skate and classic lessons and demos, a poker ski, a novice biathlon clinic and an event for kids. Feb. 27.

Grumpy Old Men Festival in Wabasha, MN There's always good eagle-viewing in this Mississippi River town, and during the festival, there will be an ice-fishing contest, polar plunge and minnow races. Feb. 27.

Bockfest at Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI This Madison-area brewery celebrates with the Running of the Blondes 1K race, a fish throw, music, costumes and, of course, beer. Tickets sell out, so buy early. Feb. 27.

WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race in Ely, MN There's a dog weight pull competition and mushers lasagna feed Saturday and the race to Tower and back on Sunday. Feb. 27–28.

Art Shanty Projects in White Bear Lake, MN Frozen White Bear Lake in this northern St. Paul suburb hosts two dozen artist-designed ice houses and lots of fun art antics. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; check for scheduled events and ice conditions. For its last weekend, the village will be on the shore, in White Bear Lake County Park. Feb. 27–28.

Snow Days in Chicago.

© Navy Pier

Snow sculptures are part of Snow Days in Chicago.

First weekend of March

International Festival of Owls in Houston, MN This southeast Minnesota town offers owl prowls, hooting contests, pellet dissection, live-owl programs and children's activities. March 4–6.

Winter Festival in Bayfield, WI The Lake Superior festival features the Run on Water to Madeline Island, poker run, ice golf, polar plunge, obstacle course, candlelight walk and vintage ski-wear contest. March 4–6.

Oneota Film Festival in Decorah, IA This free festival showcases documentary films and includes dance performances and an Ethnic Arts Festival on the campus of Luther College. March 4–6.

Green Bay Film Festival in Green Bay, WI See independent films and talk to filmmakers at seminars and parties. March 4–6.

Artigras in Green Bay, WI This fine arts festival in Shopko Hall includes artist demonstrations, children's activities, dance, jazz and classical music. March 5–6.

Sock Monkey Madness Festival in Rockford, IL This town in northern Illinois made the red-heeled socks from which the famous stuffed toys were created during the Depression; make your own sock monkey, get minor surgery for your old ones and see the Museum Center yarn-bombed. March 5–6.

Sleeping Giant Loppet in Thunder Bay, ON Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is the setting for this tour and race, which includes live entertainment, food and a choice of four distances, 10, 20, 35 and 50 kilometers. March 5.

Soar With Eagles in Wabasha, MN The National Eagle Center holds live-bird programs and nature presentations weekends in March, when bald eagles migrate northward along the Mississippi. March 5–6.

Second weekend in March

Canoecopia in Madison, WI It's the world's largest paddlesports expo, according to host Rutabaga, with dozens of demonstrations, workshops and presentations plus discounts on boats and gear. Bike-O-Rama, with discounts on bicycles and gear, is next door. At Alliant Energy Center. March 11–13.

St. Urho's Day in Finland, MN This North Shore village near Tettegouche State Park celebrates the Finnish saint with a talent and beauty contest on Friday and, on Saturday, a tug-of-war over the Baptism River and a parade, craft fair, music and children's games. March 11–12.

St. Patrick's Day parade in Milwaukee, WI The big parade starts at noon, starting at Third and Wisconsin downtown and followed by music, dancing and pipes and drums at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. March 12.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago, IL In Chicago, they really do dye the river green. Watch the dye job at 9:15 a.m. from the Michigan Avenue or Columbus Drive bridges, then watch the noon parade through Grant Park. March 12.

Celtic Fest in Moorhead, MN This free festival at the Hjemkomst Center includes two entertainment stages, heritage programs, arts and crafts, interactive booths and Celtic food and treats. March 12.

Winter Powwow in West Allis, WI This traditional powwow with drumming, singing and food is the winter version of Indian Summer Festival. At Wisconsin State Fair Park. Grand entries are 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. March 12–13.

Dog Days of Winter in Gunflint Trail, In the Central Gunflint, the Trail Center is hosting a sled-dog derby, skijoring races, snowman-building contest and snow sculptures. March 12–13.

Soar With Eagles in Wabasha, MN The National Eagle Center holds live-bird programs and nature presentations weekends in March, when bald eagles migrate northward along the Mississippi. March 12–13.

St. Patrick's Day parade in Madison, WI The parade is at 1:30 p.m. and runs from Capitol Square. March 13.

St. Patrick's Day Parade and Irish Fest in New London, WI This town west of Appleton becomes "New Dublin'' for the week, with festivities that include a big Grand Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed with Irish music, food and marketplace under a heated big-top tent. March 14–19.

For St. Patrick's Day events, see Toasting St. Pat.

For the best events in spring, see Great spring festivals.








Last updated on February 23, 2016

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