Milwaukee Festivals


In the vibrant, culturally diverse city of Milwaukee, festivals and events occur year round to showcase the various traditions and loves of all of the locals. Summerfest, one of the largest music festivals in the world runs for eleven days and, with a list of famous musical and comedic performers, draws roughly one million people every year. Locals have a particular love for racing each other down the river at the Riversplash! festival, which also showcases a variety of local and street performers. Additionally, Milwaukee honors it's cultural influences with the Indian Summer Festival, America's largest Native American Festival, and with the Irish Fest, touted as the largest North American Irish festival. Milwaukee is also rich in Germanic culture, so throughout the year, celebrations filled with food and beer can be seen popping up randomly all over the city.

Summerfest

Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202; Tel. 1.414.273.2680
As one of the largest music festivals in the world, Milwaukee's Summerfest is an eleven-day mega festival filled with food, music and shopping. The event got its start in the 1970s and since then has hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry. Held from late June to early July, Summerfest includes comedy acts and Fourth of July fireworks, which usually conclude the festivities. Each year an estimated 1 million people attend Summerfest in Milwaukee and in 1999 the function was named the largest music festival by the Guinness Book of World Records and still retains that title today.

Irish Fest

Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dubbed by the Smithsonian Institution as "the largest and best Irish cultural event in North America," the Irish Fest in Milwaukee celebrates Irish heritage with a four-day event. The festival has been around since 1981, and over the years, has picked up a great amount of steam. The festival includes Irish food, dance, education and even its own 40-piece choir put together specifically for the event. Milwaukee's Irish Fest aims to be an outreach outlet for the Irish community in Wisconsin with children's activities, a dance pavilion and contests. The festival usually takes place in mid-August at Henry W. Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee.

Riversplash!

Downtown Milwaukee, WI
The summer doesn't officially start for Milwaukee, Wisconsin until the three-day party on the Milwaukee River called Riversplash! ends. The entire event kicks off with local officials racing each other down the river in a heated paddleboat race. The next three days are filled with canoeing, paddle boating and lazily floating down the river enjoying the new summer sun. On land events are set up as well, with plenty of food, children's activities, music, street performers and fireworks. Nighttime entertainment can be found for adults beginning at 6pm, along plenty of nighttime snacks. Milwaukee literally brings in summer with a splash.

Indian Summer Festival

Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202; Tel. 1.414.273.2680
Also at Milwaukee's Henry Maier Festival Park is the Indian Summer Festival, America's largest Native American festival. The mid-September two-day event offers visitors a peek into Native American culture with handcrafts, tribal dances, music, authentic villages and lacrosse. A full competition pow-wow concludes the event with a fireworks show to boot. Local vendors provide arts and crafts, and admission is affordable for the whole family. A prayer ceremony is given as well, with guest speakers varying each year. There's also a "Natural Path Area" featuring traditional Native American healing herbs.
— Milwaukee festival reviews by Sarah Lawson