10 Events You Won’t Want to Miss This Summer in Milwaukee

At long last, live experiences are back! And they’ll be here all summer long.

1. “Artists without Borders: Reflections on Art and Place”

THROUGH JULY 3 | MOWA WEST BEND AND MOWA DTN

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is getting meta, by asking the question “What makes an artist a Wisconsin artist?” The answer, as you might imagine, is different for each of the many artists – including locals like Iranian-born Nina Ghanbarzadeh and Francisco X. Mora – featured in the show. 

2. “Beyond Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience”

JULY 9-SEPT. 19 | WISCONSIN CENTER

Forget everything you think you know about art exhibits. At this immersive show, which is simultaneously on view in cities around the country, you can walk into and through multimedia projections of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterworks. A symphonic score sets the tone for the experience. 

 

 

3. Gathering on the Green

JULY 9-10 | ROTARY PARK, MEQUON

Four-time Grammy nominee and Nashville icon Trace Adkins is coming to Mequon, for an outdoor concert that’s sure to appeal to contemporary country fans of all ages. And he’s bringing up-and-coming crooner Matt Winn, who cites Creedence Clearwater Revival and Chris Stapleton as influences, with him too. 

4. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

JULY 26-AUGUST 1 | EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s – actually, it’s a bunch of planes! Death-defying pilots will take to the skies about Oshkosh again this summer, with more synchronized stunt work to show off. And they’ll be joined by other entertainers, plus special demos to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

5. Milwaukee Brewfest

JULY 31 | MCKINLEY PARK

Beer just tastes better when you’re drinking it outside. By a lake. On a hot day. So you have every reason to believe that you’ll have a grand time at this outdoor gathering dedicated to Brew City’s favorite beverage. Purchasing a ticket entitles you to unlimited samples from the 100+ breweries represented at the event. 

Milwaukee Brewfest photo courtesy of Bill Hoag.

6. Wisconsin State Fair

AUGUST 5-15 | WISCONSIN STATE FAIR PARK

It’s been nearly two years since we’ve had a chance to eat deep-fried foods immediately before stepping onto a Ferris Wheel. So you can imagine how excited we are to attend the Wisconsin State Fair again this year, and see all of our favorite attractions. Pig races, improbably sized produce displays, cream puff pavilions. And, yes, lots of fried food. 

Wisconsin State Fair Original Cream Puffs. Photo by Kenny Yoo

7. Bronzeville Week

AUGUST 7-14 | BRONZEVILLE

[Free]

Bronzeville is beautiful any time of year. But it’ll be especially bustling this week, when Milwaukeeans gather to celebrate the neighborhood’s unique history and heritage, by supporting local business owners and spotlighting local artists and performers. 

8. Milwaukee Irish Fest

AUGUST 20-22 | HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK

Celebrate 40 years of Milwaukee Irish Fest, by slipping on a shamrock-green shirt and heading to the lakefront. The festival will only last for three days this year, instead of the usual four. But that just means that you’ll have to make each one count a little more, by taking in as many shows, and bites of shepherd’s pie, as you can. 

Photo by Visit Milwaukee

9. Mexican Fiesta

AUGUST 27-29 | HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK

We can’t decide which aspect of this long-running festival we’re most eager to see. Maybe the live mariachi musicians playing for hundreds of cheering fans. Or the folk dancers twirling their colorful circle skirts. Or the local chefs and food vendors vying for our attention.

Mexican Fiesta; photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

10. The Milwaukee Fringe Festival

AUGUST 28 | MARCUS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Big-budget theatrical productions of popular plays like Oklahoma! are great, but there’s something special about smaller, more experimental productions too. And we’re sure as heck glad that The Milwaukee Fringe Festival – now celebrating its fifth year – has carved out some space for the latter type of show in the city. This year, viewers will be able to attend performances both in person and online. 


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s June issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.