Annual Festivals/Fairs » Milwaukee, WI

Annual Festivals/Fairs in Milwaukee, WI

With choices like Arab World Fest, Ghost Ship Festival, Serbian Days and the Holiday Lights Festival, it's almost impossible to narrow down a Top 10 list for Milwaukee, "The City of Festivals." Check out which annual events we deemed to be the best of the best.
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Where can you find the World’s Largest Music Festival? New York City? No. Los Angeles? Uh-uh. Not even in Nashville. This globally-known event takes place in none other than Milwaukee, Wisconsin! For 11 days every summer, the Henry Maier Festival Park, along Downtown Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shore, is transformed into the place to see music’s hottest artists perform. Performances run all day and into the night, with countless shows by musicians in all genres and eras – such as Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Buddy Guy, Kansas, Better than Ezra, Def Leppard and so many more. While all concerts may not be family-friendly, Summerfest cater to families by hosting local cultural musical groups, comedy shows, children's performers and even a few athletic demonstrations. Beyond the entertainment, the smorgasbord presented by the Food Town booths are not to be missed as they serve up local classics like brats and a smorgasbord of ethnic cuisine.

Wisconsin State Fair

Rides, games, food, agricultural exhibits, concerts, shopping -- when you’re looking for good, old-fashioned fun, it’s time to head to the Wisconsin State Fair. While the fairground’s almost 200 acres plays hosts to hundreds of events year-round, for 11 days every August, the Wisconsin State Fair takes over. And what’s the fair’s biggest draw? Ask any fair-goer and almost every single one will direct you to the world-famous Original Cream Puffs found only at the Wisconsin State Fair. When you’ve filled up on cream puffs and other flavorful fair fare, hop on a few amusement park rides, or stop by the barns to see the thousands of animals on exhibit.

Irish Fest

For the past 30 years the folks behind Milwaukee’s Irish Fest have worked hard to become the biggest and best Irish cultural event in North America -- and they have definitely succeeded, Danny Boy! The festival celebrates the best of Ireland and Irish culture with events both classic and eclectic. Check out some of Ireland’s best dog breeds at the Celtic Canine events, then head over to the Cultural Village where you can catch an ethereal show at the Harp Stage, learn a little Irish history attending a lecture at the Hedge School, or brush up on your Irish at the Ceardlann na Gaeilge – a.k.a., the Irish Language Workshop. Have an Irish last name? Then be sure to check the festival’s website to find out if your clan is having a reunion!

African World Festival

Since 1982, African World Festival has been celebrating African heritage and culture at the Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee. Known as “The Meeting Place,” the two-day summer weekend event boasts an impressive lineup featuring some of the top blues, jazz and gospel performers in the genres such as Boney James, Doc Powell, Denise LaSalle and Willie Clayton. More than a concert series, or an entertainment event, the African World Festival prides itself on being an educational experience designed to promote and share the culture and heritage of all people of African descent with the global community. Come together at the festival to sample ethnic dishes from nations across Africa, shop for global products at the event’s Marketplace and let the kids play at the event-themed Children’s Village.

Festa Italiana

New Jersey hasn’t cornered the market on Italians and every summer Festa Italiana proves that Italian culture and heritage is alive and well in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The best of Italy is well represented at the festival, from Italian folk dancing to Italian sports cars, local and International Italian singers to Gondola rides. At the festival’s La Cucina Showcase you can sample some of the top cuisine made by Milwaukee’s best Italian restaurants, including Spiedni, Sfinciuni, Gnocchi, Lemon Genovese, Gelato and Spumoni. And you don’t just get to taste it, the restaurant’s hottest chefs come to La Cucina to give you’re their recipes and teach you how to make them at home.