40 Milwaukee Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss This Summer

Your guide to Milwaukee’s return to festival season.

June

1. Food Truck Nights at the Beer Garden

FRIDAYS JUNE-OCTOBER | FRANKSVILLE CRAFT BEER GARDEN

This Friday night event offers a wide selection of food trucks, beer and live music, lasting all summer and well into the early fall.

2. Tosa Tonight

WEDNESDAYS THROUGH OCTOBER | HART PARK AND WAUWATOSA ROTARY PAVILION

On Wednesdays throughout the summer, join the Tosa community at the Hart Park Rotary Performance Pavilion for a series of free evening concerts, alongside popular local vendors.

Tosa Tonight; Photo by Visit Milwaukee

3. Bayshore Sounds of Summer

FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS JUNE-AUGUST | THE YARD AT BAYSHORE

Head to the Bayshore shopping center for a free concert series various weekends throughout the summer. With everything from Motown to folk, this concert series has something for everyone.

4. Tour of America’s Dairyland: Milwaukee Mile

JUNE 16 | THE MILWAUKEE MILE SPEEDWAY AT WISCONSIN STATE FAIR PARK

Tour of America’s Dairyland is an 11-day biking tour throughout Southeast Wisconsin, with its first stop in Milwaukee. Whether you just join for a day or bike the whole tour, don’t miss out on the largest competitive road cycling series in the U.S., and all the excitement it brings.

 

 

5. Juneteenth

JUNE 19

This long-standing Milwaukee festival honoring emancipation in the United States returns this year with an in-person celebration and a live broadcast. Experience local vendors, educational opportunities and the classic parade.

Juneteenth Street Festival; photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

6. Moches ChickenFest

JUNE 19 | MONCHES REC CLUB

Join Monches Rec Club for their annual chicken cookout, featuring classic cookout food, youth baseball games and live music later in the evening. Take the whole family and enjoy a day at “one of the largest Chicken cookouts in the state of Wisconsin.”

7. Bike Your Block Juneteenth Ride

JUNE 19 | 3536 W FOND DU LAC AVENUE

RISE Cycles will meet downtown for this marathon in honor of emancipation day. Bike the marathon, or just come for refreshments, giveaways and speeches from community members.

8. Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival

JUNE 19 | WAUKESHA COUNTY EXPO CENTER

Head to the Waukesha Expo Center for over 25 local food and beer vendors, with different cuisines and brews to fit any taste. Barbecue, Asian Fusion, Mexican and Chicago-style sandwiches are just a few of the dishes available at this festival.

9. Water Lantern Festival

JUNE 26 | VETERANS PARK

This classic summer event will light up the night sky with floating lanterns. Come early for local food, drinks and live musical performances, and be sure not to miss the lantern launch as the sun goes down.

July

10. Lake Park Friends’ Musical Mondays

MONDAYS JULY-AUGUST | LAKE PARK SUMMER STAGE

Flip the Monday stereotype on its head by taking in the fun of this classic weekly event. Live music from local acts while relaxing on the Lakefront is the perfect way to unwind, recharge and set the tone for the rest of the week.

A moment at Musical Mondays in May 2017. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks.

11. Hart Fest

JULY 9-10 | HART PARK AND WAUWATOSA ROTARY PAVILION

This annual festival brings together the Village of Wauwatosa for a day of fun, food, and entertainment as the community fundraises for local nonprofit organizations. Featuring a kids area, a marathon, live entertainment and dozens of local food and drink vendors, the festival has something for everyone.

12. Gathering on the Green

JULY 9-10 | 4100 W. HIGHLAND RD.

The two-day outdoor music festival is back this year, featuring country artist Trace Adkins, and classic rock throwback Cheap Trick. Be sure to get there early for a good seat on the lawn, and kick back for some great summer music.

13. Whitefish Bay Art Fest

JULY 10 | 401 E SILVER SPRING DRIVE

Browse an expansive collection of mixed mediums from more than 80 artists in Whitefish Bay’s downtown district, centrally located by nearby cafes, salons and boutiques.

14. Boom Fest

JULY 10 | VILLAGE PARK

A “Midwest Original Music Festival” featuring five original midwest bands, this free afternoon of performances will be in support of the Eastern Wisconsin Ronald McDonald House.

15. Croatian Fest

JULY 17 | 9100 S 76TH STREET

Enjoy a glimpse of Croatian culture, food, and dance at this one-day festival in Franklin. Grilled food and pastries, roasted lamb and pork, and a full bar are some of the culinary delights of this festival, alongside live music, theatre, and games.

16. Midwest Vegan Fest

JULY 17 | 2136 N. 21ST ST.

Looking for your vegan food fix? The Midwest Vegan Fest hosts a wide selection of local vegan vendors, alongside chef demos, giveaways and live entertainment. Whether you’re new to the vegan lifestyle or just looking to try some new dishes, this festival is a great opportunity to explore everything Milwaukee’s vegan scene has to offer.

17. Armenian Fest

JULY 18 | 7825 W. LAYTON AVE.

This daylong festival invites an immersive exploration of Armenian culture through food, dance and family. Try classic Armenian dishes like the Luleh kabob, witness live dances and musical performances, and explore various elements of traditional Armenian culture on this day of summer fun.

18. Riverwest 24

JULY 23-24 | PIERCE STREET

Billed as a “special edition” of the annual bike marathon, this year’s “race” will shift from leaderboards and competition to setting personal goals and creating challenges between individuals and smaller groups, and while still fostering a sense of community and connection. Bring your bike, bring a friend, and bring your best, and get ready for another fun day of biking through the community.

19. EAA Airventure

JULY 26-AUG. 1 | WHITMAN REGIONAL AIRPORT

Don’t miss this massive air show, exhibit and festival all rolled into one. Featuring everything from Air Force shows to the Goodyear blimp, this annual festival in Oshkosh brings together some of the best air displays the country has to offer for a week full of fun in the sky.

20. Milwaukee Brewfest

JULY 31 | MCKINLEY PARK

What’s more Milwaukee than some high-quality brews? Head over to the lakefront for Milwaukee’s 11th annual Brewfest, with drinks and food from local vendors, free samples, raffles, and live entertainment.

August

21. Milwaukee Taco Fest

AUG. 1 | 200 N. HARBOR DR.

A showcase of Milwaukee’s taco scene, this festival features a lunch and dinner session to fit various tastes and time preferences. With live music, entertainment, and of course, nine different local vendors, Taco Fest is a great way to spend an afternoon. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and Rescue Gang.

22. Wisconsin State Fair

AUG. 5-15 | STATE FAIR PARK

Back to celebrate its 170th year, the Wisconsin State Fair will be fully stocked with free performances, iconic fair food, petting zoos, rides, games, local vendors and more. Browse special packages, or just show up at the gate for a classic fair experience.

Wisconsin State Fair 2017
Photo by Maria Christianson.

23. Bronzeville Week

AUG. 7-14 | BRONZEVILLE

Back in time for its 10-year anniversary, Bronzeville Week is a celebration of African-American culture in Milwaukee’s historic Bronzeville district. Don’t miss the many celebrations throughout the week, with art, music, highlighted Black businesses, and more.

24. Wilson Center Guitar Festival

AUG. 12-14 | SHARON LYNNE WILSON CENTER FOR THE ARTS

This festival celebrates the guitar’s history and future, with performances spanning across genres of rock, jazz, blues and more, for a weekend of iconic music.

25. Waukesha BluesFest

AUG. 13-14 | NAGA-WAUKEE PARK

Celebrating its 14th year, the Waukesha BluesFest is a celebration of the “roots” of American music in its many forms, from blues to gospel to jazz. Pull up a chair and listen to stunning live performances, while enjoying food from local vendors and the festival’s art gallery.

26. DAS Fest

AUG. 13-15 | WALWORTH COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS

This new festival seeks to bring together the Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago areas in Elkhorn Wisconsin, for a weekend of German-themed fun. Featuring biergartens, live music and dance, dachshund races and more, DAS Fest is a family-friendly festival with fun for all ages.

27. Irish Fest

AUG. 20-22 | HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK

Irish Fest is back at Henry Maier festival park for its 40th anniversary. With tons of live acts, Irish food, express bars and authentic Irish vendors, this festival brings the emerald isle right to Lake Michigan.

Photo by Visit Milwaukee

28. IndiaFest

AUG. 21 | HUMBOLDT PARK

Celebrating its 9th anniversary, IndiaFest Milwaukee is a one-day festival with a focus on cultural immersion and education.

29. The Bloody Mary Festival

AUG. 21 | FISERV FORUM PLAZA

With Bloody Mary recipes from all across the state, alongside various other foods and beverages, the Bloody Mary Festival is self-described as the “Saturday funday brunch party of the year.”

Photo via Shutterstock

30. Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts

AUG. 21-22 | FOWLER PARK

Back just in time for their 50th anniversary, the Oconomowoc Festival brings fine visual art, live music, and local food vendors to Fowler Park.

31. Milwaukee Fringe Fest

AUG. 21-23 | MARCUS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

A celebration of Milwaukee’s rich arts culture, Fringe Fest brings together painters, actors, performance artists and more to the Marcus Center for a weekend showcase of the area’s arts scene.

32. Country in the Burg

AUG. 27-28 | CEDAR CREEK PARK

For those with a little country in them, Country in the Burg brings together local country artists to Cedarburg to raise money for various charities. With live music, barbecue, golfing and more, the festival has plenty to offer after a year away.

33. Mexican Fiesta

AUG. 27-29

A “vigorous declaration of community spirit at its best,” the Mexican Fiesta is a weekend-long exploration and celebration of Mexican culture through food, art and tradition. Benefitting scholarships for Hispanic students, supporting the local community, and fostering a sense of connection in the area, the Mexican Fiesta is a great way to immerse yourself in Milwaukee’s rich Hispanic culture.

Mexican Fiesta. Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee.

34. World of Beer Festival

AUG. 28 | 700 W. LEXINGTON BLVD. 

“By Beer Nuts, For Beer Nuts,” this festival promises to bring “world-class” choices in beer, ciders, and meads, all alongside traditional German food in a classic biergarten.

35. Washington Park Wednesdays @ The Bandshell

WEDNESDAYS THROUGH AUGUST | WASHINGTON PARK

The iconic weekly outdoor concert series returns this year with free music on Wednesdays at The Bandshell. Enjoy local bands alongside food trucks, kid-friendly activities, and more.

September

36. Summerfest

SEPT. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18 | HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK

The largest music festival is back, right here in our backyard. Boasting headliners like Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, Zac Brown Band, Guns n’ Roses, and so much more, this festival will bring together acts from all across the world, and all different genres of music. And of course, just like in years past, Summerfest will be filled with food, drinks, games and other types of fun.

Photo courtesy of Summerfest

37. Milwaukee Rally

SEPT. 2-6 | LOCATION TBD

Harley Davidson takes to the streets for a late-summer weekend of fun, full of motorcycle showcases, live rock, food, drinks, and more. With an extra day this year for Labor Day weekend, this is a perfect event to close out the summer.

38. Third Ward Art Festival

SEPTEMBER 3-5 | 345 N BROADWAY

A sprawling outdoor showcase of works from over 120 artists in mixed mediums, this festival shows the diversity and skill of Milwaukee’s art scene, right in the heard of the iconic Third Ward.

39. Wisconsin Highland Games

SEPTEMBER 3-5

Enjoy some stunning displays of Celtic skill and athletics at this festival featuring fencing, pipe and drum competitions, Highland dancing and more. With animals, parades, Celtic food, and kids areas, this weekend-long festival is sure to be fun for the whole family.

40. Tosa Fest

SEPTEMBER 10-11 | HART PARK AND WAUWATOSA ROTARY PAVILION

Celebrate the village of Wauwatosa at their annual festival, full of food from local vendors, kid-friendly activities, live music, and a “fun run.”

Tosa Fest; Photo by Visit Milwaukee

CORRECTION: German Fest was originally on this list, but the event has been canceled this year. 

Comments

comments