Whether summer weather has officially arrived or not, the beginning of May officially marks summer festival season in Milwaukee. Milwaukee residents come out of hibernation to explore one of the city’s dozens of summer festivals, whether it’s a cultural Mexican Fiesta guaranteed to have amazing food, or an outdoor jazz concert that pairs perfectly with a picnic and a bottle of wine. To help you plan your Milwaukee summer festival schedule, here’s a guide to the best festivals the city has to offer.
Festival season kicks off in May, with the Bead and Button Show, and the UPAF Bike Ride for the Arts. In June, enjoy a variety of live music at Jazz in the Park, River Rhythms, Tosa Tonight, or The World’s Largest Music Festival, Summerfest.
June also features several cultural festivals in Milwaukee. On June 6, head to Hart Park in Wauwatosa for Scottish Fest and the Milwaukee Highland Games, where you can watch unique athletic events like an axe throwing demonstration, the standing heavy stone putt, and even a haggis taco eating competition! From June 12-14, the Henry Maier Festival Park hosts Polish Fest; save plenty of room to try a variety of Polish foods, from Polish sausage to pierogis. Bike off those pierogis at the Summerfest Rock n’ Sole Run, which is also held in the Henry Maier Festival Park.
Grab a blanket and get a good seat in Veteran’s Park on the Lakefront to watch the downtown Milwaukee fireworks on July 3. Continue the Independence Day celebrations with the Wauwatosa’s 4th of July Parade and Celebration. Watch in awe as planes dip, dive, and roll during the Milwaukee Air and Water Show on July 25-26, and enjoy the arts at Gallery Night and Day on July 24-25.
The Wisconsin State Fair hits in August, with plenty of rides, musical acts, and food for the whole family. Still not full? Head to Milwaukee A La Carte, also known as Feast With the Beasts, since it takes place at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Whether you’re an athlete or you prefer to spectate, check out the USA Triathlon Championships from August 8-9.
Finally, close out festival season in September with Oktoberfest, a month-long beer festival taking place on the weekends in Heidelberg Park. Grab a burger at the Harvest Fair/World Beef Expo from September 24-27 at the State Fair Park. And when it gets a bit chilly at night, take advantage of the Milwaukee Film Festival from September 24-October 8; head to an indoor venue to enjoy some popcorn and a movie.
Summer may be a fleeting season in Milwaukee, but the Milwaukee summer festivals help their residents take advantage of everything the season has to offer. What festivals will you go to this summer?