Consider this your end-of-summer bucket list.
Henry W. Maier Festival Park
After a smashingly successful inaugural run with nearly 9,000 attendees, Black Arts Fest is coming back. Details about its vendors had yet to be released as of press time, but we’re expecting to see plenty of food, handicrafts and art of the African diaspora on display. The chart-topping R&B trio SWV is headlining the musical lineup.
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha
If your life has been sadly devoid of dragons since “Game of Thrones” ended, get ye to the Bristol Renaissance Faire this weekend, when the sprawling summer festival will be taken over by costumed fantasy characters. Just make sure that whatever you wear is stretchy enough to accommodate the gigantic turkey leg you’re going to eat later on.
Ravinia, Highland Park, Illinois
Every summer, North America’s oldest musical festival returns to a 36-acre park not far from the Wisconsin border. And every summer, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra dazzles audiences with a live rendition of a classic film score at that festival. This time, it’ll be performing Leonard Bernstein’s haunting score for the 1954 crime drama On the Waterfront while the Oscar-winning film plays.
Lakeshore State Park
The amount of fun you’ll have at this Chinese cultural festival and regatta is directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into it. Show up to watch the race and you’ll have a good time, sure. But sign up ahead of time to actually paddle one of the boats alongside 20 of your closest friends and this could be the highlight of your summer.
FREE — If you’ve strolled through Walker’s Point recently, you may have noticed a new
gallery and event space on Fifth Street. Botanica Galactica has begun hosting a series of pop-up maker markets in its colorful storefront space, and it’s done a great job of shining a spotlight on local Latino artists in particular.
Fiserv Forum Plaza
FREE — America’s “Fresh Coast” will get a bit fresher when the Midwest’s largest lobster fest scuttles into town, for the first time ever, this month. The outdoor event – which features live music and art in addition to food – is free to attend, but you’ll have to shell out some clams for one of the thousands of crustaceans being flown in for the weekend.
We love the Summerfest grounds and the cultural festivals held there each year as much as anyone else, even if the same vendors seem to show up to each event. But it’s heartening to see that Indian chefs, artists and entertainers actually take center stage at IndiaFest.
Catalano Square Park
FREE — A full moon is rising in the Third Ward this weekend, courtesy of British sculptor Luke Jerram. In 2016, Jerram created a 23-foot replica of our moon using lunar imagery from a NASA satellite. Since then, the sculpture has been installed in dozens of cities around the world. When it appears in Milwaukee, it’ll pull live musical performances, food and beverage tents and a poetry reading into its orbit, too.
The indie audiophiles over at 88Nine are presenting these two acts together tonight. Shakey Graves is a solo artist known for his off-kilter Americana, while Dr. Dog is a five-person psychedelic rock band with lushly layered instrumentation. Together, they’re a six-headed tour de force you won’t want to miss.
State Fair Park
Chris Kegel, the beloved owner of the locally based bike chain Wheel and Sprocket, passed away in 2017. But the 10-mile charity bike ride he inspired keeps chugging along. The family-friendly ride is free, but those who wish to donate $50 to support the local cycling community will receive some swag.