Milwaukee may be the City of Festivals, but that doesn’t mean everywhere else in the state doesn’t love to throw a good party, as well. We take advantage of every moment of nice weather and in spring and summer in Wisconsin and most of the time, we do it by having a festival.
Whether we’re celebrating ethnic roots or things literally falling from the sky, we love an excuse to get the community involved, hang out with our friends and neighbors and have a great time. We’ll take any excuse for a party!
In no particular order, here are some of the strangest, wackiest, weirdest and most fun reasons we get together and have a good time. Here are 21 odd Wisconsin festivals you’ll want to check out this summer:
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Thirsty Troll Brewfest - Mount Horeb
This beer sampling festival in Grundahl Park loves Mount Horeb's troll history.
Takes place September 9, 2017. from 1-5pm.
2. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival - Prairie du Sac
What do you do when you're the Dairy State and there's a natural by-product of all those cows? You make a festival and toss those cow chips, of course! There's live music, an art fair and more - but the chip throwing is really the reason to go! Takes place September 1st & 2nd, 2017 in Marion Park.
3. Cabbage Chuck - Shiocton
You might imagine this was just about throwing cabbage, but you'd be wrong. There are six adult and five youth categories and various machines are built to propel cabbage. There's throwing categories, too, but I'm there for the trebuchets, honestly. Admission is $3 and it takes place Saturday September 23, 2017 Rain or Shine in Shiocton Lake Park.
4. Corn n' Tater Festival - Grand Marsh
This community celebration is all about the local produce. There's a corn eating contest, every preparation of the two star foods you can imagine and more. Takes place Sunday, August 20 in Fireman's Park.
5. Burgerfest - Seymour
This festival packs a lot into just a few days. Beyond the burger fest is a hot air balloon festival at Rock Ledge Park and your festival admission gives you access to the community museum, railroad depot and classic car show. But head downtown for the burger parade and the ketchup slide. Takes place August 11-13. Admission downtown is $5.
6. Labor Day Surfing - Sheboygan
Sheboygan used to host a surfing competition on Labor Day weekend, but that's since been discontinued. That didn't stop the surfers from showing up, so now this informal gathering is its own tradition as folks take advantage of some rare surfing opportunities in middle America.
7. Wet Whistle Wine Fest - Algoma
Von Stiehl Winery hosts this community fundraiser that combines amazing wines, silly costumes, live music and amazing food. Also people stomping grapes. Friday night is free, with canned food donations encouraged. Saturday admission is $10. September 16 & 17, 2017 at Von Stiehl Winery, 115 Navarino Street.
8. UFO Days - Elmwood
Years ago there were nearly 30 claims of UFO sightings in this small town - so many that they talked of building a landing strip. Now the town just embraces their unique claim to fame and celebrates it in late July. A parade, a court, a UFO hunt, pancake breakfast and more make this a fun festival to visit. Takes place July 28 - 30, 2017.
9. Wilhelm Tell Festival - New Glarus
New Glarus makes no secret of its love for its Swiss roots. They've been performing the Wilhelm Tell play annually on Labor Day Weekend since 1938. Now a full festival, this celebration is the definition of tradition in New Glarus, with folks who've been involved from the beginning. Takes place September 1-3, 2017.
10. Cache Ba$h - West Bend
West Bend bills itself as the Geocaching Capital of the Midwest and this festival provides family-friendly entertainment and more than 1,500 caches within 10 miles of the city. A huge event in the geocaching world, it's welcoming to beginning and experienced folks. Last year more than 700 teams participated. Takes place on August 11 & 12, 2017.
11. Karner Blue Summer Festival - Black River Falls
Festival in the Park and Karner Blue Butterfly Festival joined together to create one big festival in Black River Falls. Friday in Lunda Park is capped by fireworks. Saturday festivities move downtown and involve the whole community. Takes place on Jun 30 & July 1, 2017.
12. Model A Day - Sharon
Downtown Main Street in Sharon is transformed on Sunday, June 4th between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm as the whole town harkens back to the 1920s and 1930s. Model A cars line the street and period costumes join with the local architecture to make you feel like you've stepped back in time. There's an ice cream social, pig roast and plenty of era-appropriate entertainment.
13. Subfest - Manitowoc
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum honors the area's history as sub-builders with this festival that has become a part of the whole city. Shops have a huge sidewalk sale, there's a waterski show on Lake Michigan, historical tours, a sub sandwich eating contest and more. Make sure you stay for the lighted boat parade and fireworks Saturday night. Takes place on July 7 - 9, 2017 on Manitowoc's lakefront.
14. Fyr Bal - Ephraim
This awesome festival re-creates traditions of early Norwegians celebrating Midsummer’s Eve right along the water in Door County. End the night with traditional evening bonfires representing the burning of the ‘Winter Witch’ and ushering in the long days of summer and then fireworks. Takes place June 17, 2017.
15. Dragon Boat Races - Superior
This fun, teamwork event is all about raising money for charity. Head to Barker’s Island to watch the races, then stick around for music, food, crafts and, of course, the awards ceremony. Takes place August 25 & 26, 2017.
16. Butterfest - Sparta
This true community festival honors the award-winning butter makers who worked at the local milk plant. You'll find everything from a firefighter's water fight to a milking contest, plus a cornhole tournament, music, food, a parade and a quilt show. Takes place June 8-11, 2017
17. Sputnikfest - Manitowoc
Once upon a time, a piece of Sputnik IV landed in the middle of the street here. Now we celebrate. There's a Ms. Space Debris contest, people and animal costume contest, food, entertainment and more. Takes place September 8 & 9, 2017 at at corner of N. 8th and Park Streets.
18. Port Washington Fish Day - Port Washington
The World's Largest One Day Outdoor Fish Fry takes place July 15, 2017. There's a little bit of something for everyone as this festival that takes over the small town on Lake Michigan. There are multiple music stages, tons of food, a giant parade and more.
19. Musky Jamboree - Boulder Junction
The might Musky is king at this weekend festival in the Musky Capitol of the World. Of course all things Musky fishing are involved, but there are also fireworks, a car show, a flea market and more. Takes place August 11 - August 13, 2017.
20. Milwaukee Highland Games - Wauwatosa
Hart Park in Wauwatosa hosts the state's biggest Scottish Festival featuring bagpipes, Highland dancing, a caber toss and more. Saturday, June 3, 2017, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. Admission is $10
21. Ducktona - Sheboygan Falls
Rent a duck and hope it's the winner as they race down the Sheboygan River. Live music, a classic car show, pony rides and more at this family-friendly festival. Sunday, Takes place July 2, 2017
at River Park.