Wisconsin focuses much of its summertime festival energy on local heritage and products. Its August State Fair is one of the best in the country, while other traditions like lumberjacking and bratwursts take center stage in their own famous festivals. Nearly everything happens in the summer so be prepared to find something exciting wherever you venture in the state.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
Milwaukee is the place to be in Wisconsin on St Paddy’s Day in March. More than 100,000 people come out to watch the big parade that features 150 different groups marching through downtown along with marching bands, bagpipers, celebrities, and clowns. After the parade the party starts, with all the city’s bars in fine form and plenty of side activities in the city parks for more family-oriented fun.
We all know Wisconsin has a strong German heritage, and each May the capital Madison goes out of its way to help everyone remember. The Brat Fest is a major party with the famous sausage at its heart but loads of supporting activities like live music, kayaking, and a fun fair full of carnival rides. It all happens at the Alliant Energy Center, and it’s free to get in though you’ll pay a little for the brats and the fun.
Milwaukee’s Marcus Amphitheater is transformed into a wonderful amusement park each summer for one month in June and July. Each day from noon until midnight the venue puts on a huge variety of events and activities that appeal to kids as much as adults. From magic shows and literacy workshops to live music and a kiddie kingdom this popular summer festival draws nearly one million visitors each year.
Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
America’s Dairyland is naturally going to have at least one major cheese festival, and this one in the charming village of Little Chute is the best of the bunch. For a three-day weekend each June the town’s Doyle Park opens its doors to a vast range of bizarre cheese-related activities and competitions. From the cheese carving contest to the cheesecake baking competition, this is a fun local-style festival that perfectly defines Wisconsin.
Lumberjack World Championships
Wisconsin has a strong heritage of timber cutting and lumberjacking. Each July the Lumberjack Bowl in Hayward invites around 200 genuine lumberjacks from around the world to compete in classic events and contests of skill and strength. Besides the competitions, there are cool exhibits, performances, and other fun events over the three days this annual festival runs.
Wisconsin State Fair
Each August the Wisconsin State Fair Park outside of Milwaukee revs into life for another year of classic American fair activities. Farming features heavily in Wisconsin’s state fair, with pedigree pig contests and hundreds of other competitions focused on food and livestock. Tractor pulls, concerts, and a huge carnival add to the fun. Best of all is the local product store where you can buy all the delicious products created in Wisconsin.