Passport to Summer fun

TCD’s guide to Milwaukee Festival Season

By - Jun 4th, 2011 04:00 am

Brady Street Festival

If there’s one thing people really love about this town, it’s experiencing summer. After months spent holed up inside, once the mercury begins to rise you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone indoors. Whether it’s enjoying a few cocktails on the patio or taking in the sights and sounds at Bradford Beach, there’s no shortage of things to do. Summer also marks the beginning of festival season here in our fair city, each month filled with live music, dancing, and more grilled foods than you can shake a stick at.

We here at TCD want our dear readers to soak up every last drop of summer goodness, and so we’ve created a comprehensive guide to all of Milwaukee’s festivals this season — from the Big Gig to the church BBQ, we’ve got what you’re looking for.

We’ll continue to update this list as more events are announced.


Jazz in the Park
June 2- Sept. 22, 6 – 9 p.m.
Cathedral Square Park

Okay, so it’s not quite a ‘festival’ per se, but Jazz in the Park is a quintessential summer experience in Milwaukee. Grab a blanket and a picnic for two, and settle in for an evening of eclectic music.


Historic Mitchell Street Sun Fair
June 3-5
Historic Mitchell Street, between 8th and 10th Streets

A family-friendly outdoor festival featuring street-side shopping, carnival rides and games, delicious local, ethnic and festival eats, live entertainment, and more

St. John Neumann Art and Craft Fair
June 3-5
2400 W. State Rd 59, Waukesha, WI

A three-day craft fair held in conjunction with St. John Neumann’s annual parish festival.

St. Aloysius Fair
June 3-5
1414 S. 93rd St., West Allis

Live music, carnival rides, and a Sunday Polka Mass!

Milwaukee Highland Games
June 4, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., rain or shine
Hart Park, Wauwatosa

Axe throwing competitions, dancing and sheepdogs! An afternoon of Scottish food, music and culture. Perfect for the whole family.

Village Green Street Fair
June 4, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Village of Wauwatosa

A family-oriented outdoor festival that aims to provide information about green, organic, and eco-friendly products and services. Stroll through the Tosa Farmer’s Market and learn how to live a greener life!

St. Robert Fair
June 4-5
N. Farwell Ave., Shorewood, WI 53211

Enjoy homemade cream puffs and other tasty local fare (including St. Robert’s famous Chicken Dinner) while cuttin’ a rug to live music from the Squeezettes and more.

Pride Fest
June 10-12
Maier Festival Park

One of the nation’s most unique Pride celebrations, Milwaukee PrideFest is all kinds of awesome. Dancing, drag shows, comedy…and did we mention that Salt-N-Pepa are performing? Nuff said.

St. John Vianney Parish Festival
June 10-12
1755 N. Calhoun Rd., Brookfield

More family fun: carnival rides, a pig roast and a super-sweet raffle!

Gathering Waters Festival
June 11, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Lakeshore State Park

As part of  national “Get Outdoors Dayevent, the Gathering Waters Festival offers Milwaukeean’s an urban outdoor adventure with rock climbing, bike and boat tours, canoeing, fishing and more.

Locust Street Festival
June 12, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Locust Street, between Humboldt and Holton

Crafts, street vendors, open air Tai Chi, local food and drink and a crap-load of Milwaukee music? Yes, please.

Polish Fest
June 17-19
Maier Festival Park

America’s largest Polish festival is a ton of fun. Want proof? Check THIS out.

Lakefront Festival of Arts
June 17 – 19
Milwaukee Art Museum and Lubar Auditorium

Explore works by artists in a variety of media while taking in gorgeous views of the lakefront.

St. Bernadette Parish Festival
June 17-19
8200 W. Denver Ave., Milwaukee, WI

St. Bernadette’s annual festival offers a Friday fish fry, silent and live auction, games for kids of all ages, rides and bingo.

Summer Soulstice
June 18, noon – 11 p.m.
North Avenue, East Side

You don’t have to be a hacky sack champion to enjoy this annual block party. From awesome vendors to sweet jams (this year’s lineup boasts some Milwaukee gems), it’s a great way to experience North Ave.

Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival
June 18, 1- 5 p.m.
Bayshore Town Center, 5800 N. Bayshore Dr.

An outdoor one-day festival featuring a selection of more than 100 of Wisconsin’s finest craft beers. Sample specially prepared cuisine designed to complement unique beers from our state’s finest craft breweries. Meet the brew masters and chefs behind the creations.

St. Paul Parish Festival
June 23-26
1720 E. Norwich ave, Milwaukee

Ride your hog, rocket or scooter to the St. Paul Parish festival for Bike Night, plus live music and the festival’s annual chicken dinner.

Holy Apostles Family Festival
June 24-26
16000 W. National Ave., New Berlin

This annual family festival features three days of crafts, games, food and live music.

Greek Fest
June 24-26
State Fair Park, West Allis

The best of Greece with authentic food, music and dancing. OPA!

26th Annual Strawberry Festival
June 25-26
Downtown Cedarburg

This two-day festival features a Plein Air Paining competition, and of course, lots of strawberries. Think strawberry slush, chocolate covered strawberries,a few libations from Cedar Creek Winery, and even strawberry brats.

June 29 – July 10
Maier Festival Park

All right, so you can’t watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the Fest this year, which is sort of a bummer. Otherwise, the lineup is looking pretty sweet … if you need me, I’ll be singing (okay, screaming) along with Hall & Oates at the M&I Classic Rock Stage.


Franklin Civic Celebration
July 1-4
Lions Legend Park

Food, carnival rides, kids activities, and plenty of entertainment will be provided for all ages.  Local performers include Rhythm Method, The Toys, Pink Houses, Happy Schnapps Band, and Pat McCurdy.  The spectacular fireworks display will begin promptly at 9:30 p.m. on July 4th!

New Berlin 4th of July Family Festival
July 2-4
Malone Park

In its 43rd year, the festival will feature notable local acts such as The Toys, The Love Monkeys and Mt. Olive, as well as food, games and family fun.

Fireworks Kite Festival
July 3, 11 a.m. — 10:30 p.m.
Veterans Park

This is a fun fly and all are welcome to participate. Come down to the lake, fly kites and have the best seats in the house for the fireworks at 10 p.m. Come early and stay late.

4th Annual PBR Street Fest
July 3, 12-8 p.m.
Burnhearts, 2599 S. Logan Ave.

A Bay View summer tradition since 2008, the annual street fest features music by local artists Fresh Cut Collective, The Wildbirds and much more!


Delafield Block Party: Food & Music Festival
July 8-9
Downtown Delafield

Enjoy live music on two stages, plus food and drink from area taverns and restaurants.

St. Helen’s Polka Festival
July 8-10
3307 S. 10th St., Milwaukee

Beer, brats, games and polka! St. Helen’s annual parish festival has something for the whole family.

St. Mary’s Parish Festival
July 8-10
9520 W. Forest Home Ave., Hales Corners

Rides and games for kids and adults, bingo, pull tabs & more. Food ranging from St. Mary’s own fish fry to Rupena’s Roasted Chicken, and live music that includes the Love Monkeys, Eddie Butts and more.

Lake Country Art Festival
July 9, 2011   9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Naga-waukee Park, Delafield

The festival features 150 juried exhibitors offering painting, textiles, woodwork, pottery,
glass, fine art, jewelry & more!  In addition vendors offer a variety of food and beverages, musical
entertainment, a children’s arts and crafts area.

Art and Craft Fair
July 9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wisconsin Lutheran College, 8800 West Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee

Enjoy a full day of arts activities featuring fine art and craft booths, a silent auction, and great food.  A variety of continuous entertainment is provided on two stages throughout the day.

Ridikulus Days
July 14-15

Bargains galore at the annual Ridikulus Days when shoppers are invited to take advantage of the ridikulus prices.

Bastille Days
July 14-17
Cathedral Square Park
Calling all Francophiles! North America’s largest outdoor French-themed festival is back. Grab your beret and taste some beignets (I’m a really talented poet). And for the love of God, please don’t climb the mock-Eiffel Tower.

St. Veronica’s Music Festival
July 14-17
4001 S. Whitnall Avenue, Milwaukee

Enjoy home-cooked barbecue while listening to live music (we’re especially intrigued by “The Doo-Wop Daddies). Plus, carnival rides and a silent auction.

Gathering on the Green Performing Arts Festival
July 15-16
Rotary Park, 4000 West Highland Rd., Mequon

The annual festival’s notable performers include Daryl Stuermer of Genesis and Dionne Warwick.

Dominic Days, St. Dominic Catholic Church
July 15-17
18255 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield

Live music, a golf outing and the annual Dominic Days Car Show are stand-outs at this annual church festival.

St. Rita’s Festival
July 15-17
2318 S. 61st St., West Allis

Two music tents, plenty of games and activities for the whole family, plus a bake sale and $3,000 prize raffle.

Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival
July 15-17
345 Hickory Hollow Rd., Waterford

Watch hot air balloons floating in the summer skies of Waterford, with a host of activities, including an elevation station, pilot experience, kite flying, a pancake breakfast with the pilots, and more.

Sussex Lions Daze
July 15-17
Sussex Village Park

This annual festival has been offering family fun to the Sussex area since 1939, with carnival rides and games, food, a parade, live music and much, much more.

Port Washington Fish Day
July 16, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Lake Park, Port Washington

Celebrate the 47th annual Fish Day – the “world’s largest one-day outdoor fish fry.” Festival includes a run, a parade, an arts and crafts show, a carnival with games and rides, five stages of musical and family entertainment, nine fish and chips stands, and a huge fireworks finale to end the day.

Croatian Fest
July 16-17
Croatian Park, 9100 S. 76th St., Franklin

This weekend celebration of Croatian culture will feature ethnic food and music.

Waukesha County Fair
July 20-24
Waukesha County Fairgrounds, 1000 Northview Rd., Waukesha

The annual festival will feature musical acts, including the Beach Boys,  Ted Nugent, Collective Soul and Creedance Clearwater Revisited, as well as food, animals, rides, games and more.

Country Thunder USA
July 21-24
Twin Lakes

This annual country music festival features big names such as Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Martina McBride, and Rascal Flatts.

Falls Fest
July 21-24
Village Park, Menomonee Falls

Live music, food and fireworks are the highlights of this annual celebration, plus all the proceeds from Falls Fest go back into community projects!

Festa Italiana
July 21-24
Maier Festival Park

Four days of delicious food and world-class entertainment. This year’s festival welcomes The Cake Boss, The Monkees (whoa!) a fashion show, and so much more.

St. John the Evangelist Parish 43rd Annual Family Festival
July 22-24
8500 West Cold Spring Rd., Greenfield

Featuring live music, raffles, and bingo each night.

South Milwaukee Lionsfest
July 22-24
[100-236] 16th Ave, South Milwaukee

Amusement rides, tons of great food and a pirate themed family day are the highlights of this South Milwaukee family festival.

Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival
July 23, 3 – 7 p.m.
Cathedral Square Park

Firkin Fest is Milwaukee’s preeminent beer tasting event and features over 80 craft beers to sample from Milwaukee breweries as well as guest beers from around the country.

Washington County Fair
July 26-31
Washington County Fair Park, 3000 Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend

Notable music acts include Train, Dierks Bentley and .38 Special.

Racine County Fair
July 27-31, 8a.m. — 11:30 p.m.
19805 Durand Ave., Union Grove

Youth and Adult exhibits- from Animal to art, photography, woodworking , midway, commercial vendors, food, entertainment daily tractor truck, Garden Tractor, pedal pulls, music fun for all ages.

German Fest
July 28-31
Maier Festival Park

Two words: Dachshund Derby.

Taste of Lake Country & Fine Arts Festival
July 29-30
Lakefront Park, 222 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee.

Food. Music. Art.

Lions Fest and Fish Derby
July 29-31
106 Lake St., Port Washington

Big prize fishing derby with music, refreshments, and fun! Join the Lions Club as they host another big prize fishing derby. And for those who either don’t fish, or want to stay and play after they bring back the big one from the lake, there is music, food, and more. Also includes Maxwell Street Day on Saturday.

Seton Funfest
July 29-31
12700 W. Howard Ave., New Berlin

Racing sausages, blackjack and Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments, plus tons of great food and family fun highlight this annual parish festival.

Brady Street Festival
July 30, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Brady Street, East Side

Three stages packed with live entertainment, an awesome Drag Show and dozens of eclectic vendors draw thousands to this annual street festival. Great for people watching!

Second Annual Milwaukee Brewfest
July 30, 2-7 p.m.
McKinley Park, 1750 North Lincoln Memorial Drive

Sample more than 150 craft beers from Milwaukee and beyond, plus food samples, games, live music and artist demonstrations.

Armenian Fest
July 31, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
7825 W. Layton Ave., Milwaukee

Join St. John the Baptist Armenian Church for this annual celebration of Armenian food and culture.


Wisconsin State Fair
August 4-14
State Fair Park

Where else is it perfectly acceptable to eat bacon on a stick and coo over piglet races at the same time?

African World Fest
August 6
Maier Festival Park

A celebration of African heritage and culture, this year’s fest features live music, great food and much more.

Summer Sizzle
August 6, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Historic Third Ward

A free, neighborhood festival and features live jazz — best of local, regional and Chicago musicians — in a variety of styles: traditional, Latin, swing, smooth and Dixieland.

August 6, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Center St., Riverwest

Riverwest’s premier motorcycle show and street fest, featuring tons of sweet, sweet bikes.

Irish Fest
August 18-21
Maier Festival Park

Four days celebrating all things Irish — from Trinity dancers to the Jameson Lounge, there’s something for everyone!

Mexican Fiesta
August 26-28
Maier Festival Park

The sound, culture and taste of Mexico come to the Milwaukee lakefront. Practice your best moves for an epic salsarengue contest!


Made in Milwaukee
Sept. 3, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Cathedral Square Park

A day-long celebration of all things Milwaukee. Check out TCD’s sweet photo booth from MiM ’10.

Indian Summer Festival
Sept. 9-11
Maier Festival Park

2011 marks the 25th anniversary of this annual celebration of Native American food, music and culture. This year also welcomes the tribal farmer’s market to the grounds in addition to other eclectic vendors.

Center Street Daze
Sept. 24, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Center St, between Holton and Humboldt Ave.

Where else but Riverwest will you see homemade push-cart races or be able to put your alderman in a dunk tank?

Bay View Bash
Sept. 17, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Kinnickinnic Ave., between Potter and Clement

A full day of food, drink and awesome live performances from local musicians and entertainers, all in lovely Bay View.  Crack a PBR and enjoy the show.

Rock the Green
Sept. 18
Veterans Park

Rock the Green is Milwaukee’s premier zero-waste music festival, combining live music with sustainability and conservation. At TCD, we think environmental stewardship is pretty sexy.

Global Union Music Festival
Sept. 17-18
Humboldt Park

We don’t have to tell you how amazing Global Union is — where else are you going to see a 13-piece gypsy marching band for free?

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