kids at Washington County Fair Wisconsin

27 Kid-Friendly Summer Festivals in the Milwaukee Area (2022)

kids at Washington County Fair Wisconsin
Photo Credit: wcfairpark.com

Once again, Milwaukee is coming alive with festivals all over the city this summer, and lots of them are kid-friendly!

After the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled many festivals in 2020 and 2021, most are making a comeback this year.

Here is a list of Milwaukee Summer Festivals happening in 2022, in chronological order (search by month or scroll through them all). Bookmark this page and use it as a reference throughout the festival season!


Thank you to our partners at CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin for sponsoring this article, and for providing brain-building tips powered by Vroom!


JUNE

Milwaukee Highland Games

June 4, 2022
Croatian Park
9100 S. 76th Street, Franklin, WI 53132
milwaukeehighlandgames.org

Embrace Scottish culture with unique athletic events, bagpipe bands, highland dancing, Scottish food, working sheepdogs in action, and more. Children 12 and under get in free.


Pridefest

June 2-4, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
pridefest.com

The nation’s largest LGBT+ festival, Pridefest has been operated entirely by volunteers since 1987. Children 12 and under get in free.


Polish Fest

June 10-12, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
polishfest.org

Polish Fest Maier Festival ParkMilwaukee Wisconsin

This is just one of many popular cultural festivals happening in Milwaukee this year. Besides reveling in the lively polka, colorful folk costumes, and traditional polish sausage, you can head to the children’s stage that often features comedians, magicians, escape artists, dance shows and more.

Stop by the Cultural Village to see demonstrations of traditional Polish crafts such as wycinanki (paper cutting), pisanki (decorated eggs), and wianki (floral head wreaths). The Maly Sklep (little store) sells traditional Polish pottery and other folk art. There are even live sheepdogs.

Note: If you purchased tickets for Polish Fest in 2020 or 2021, they will be honored at this year’s event. Check their website for other admission deals.

Did you know? Kosciuszko Park is named after Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko. He was an engineer and military mastermind in the 18th century and supported the American Revolution. In his will, he designated large funds to be used for freeing and educating African-American slaves. Polish Fest celebrates this national figure, and gives Milwaukee an opportunity to learn more about Polish culture.


Summer Soulstice (Free!)

June 18, 2022, Noon-Midnight
2122 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 272-5823
theeastside.org

The Summer Soulstice music festival is back on the East Side, and you won’t want to miss this FREE showcase of local favorites – bands, visual artists, Milwaukee makers, creation stations, food vendors, family-friendly crafts and activities and more. There’s no better way to celebrate the longest day of the year!


Juneteenth Day (Free!)

June 19, 2022, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
2460 N. 6th St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 372-3770
juneteenthmke.org

Juneteenth Day is June 19th, and it commemorates emancipation, or the ending of slavery in the United States. Today, it is a celebration of African-American achievement.

This community-wide event is organized as a street festival with various family-friendly activities taking place over the course of a day. The annual summer block party encourages anyone and everyone to attend and join in the festivities, which include a lively parade, a Miss Juneteenth Day Pageant, live music, kids’ games, exhibits, soul food and more.


Summerfest

June 23-25, June 30-July 2, July 7-9, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
summerfest.com

Every year, Milwaukeeans of all ages flock to the Henry Maier Festival Park for one of the longest running music festivals in the world – Summerfest! And although your memories of this Cream City tradition may not be kid-friendly, the world’s largest music festival itself most certainly is. Here are some of the best things to do with kids:

  • Northwestern Mutual Community Park: This entirely redeveloped entertainment space for families offers inclusive and accessible play for children ages 2-12. Besides colorful, enhanced play equipment and a toddler play area (“Giggle Grounds”), the centrally located site also has a permanent stage structure where you’ll find family-friendly programming throughout the day.
  • The Elizabeth “Bo” Black family fountain: Hopping around in this iconic splash pad is the perfect way to keep cool on a hot summer day.
  • Ferris Wheel: The Summerfest “Wheel in the Sky” on the north end of the grounds offers spectacular views of Summerfest, Milwaukee’s downtown, and Lake Michigan. It operates from noon to 11:30 p.m. daily.
  • Paddleboat rides: Worried your kids’ little legs will get tired from walking around? Relax and take in views of the festival and downtown Milwaukee on a 30-minute paddleboat ride. Check it out from noon to 7:00 p.m. each day at the boat dock on the north end of the grounds. Boats can hold up to four people.
  • Skyglider: There’s nothing like your first ride on the sky glider. The gentle ride offers a scenic view of Henry Maier Festival Park, Lake Michigan, and the entertainment below. One-way and round-trip fares are available. Kids must be 48 inches tall to ride.
  • Big Bang Fireworks: For those who can stay up a little later, the fireworks show that kicks off Summerfest is scheduled for Thursday, June 23, 2022, at 9:30 p.m.
  • Summerfest Parade: Starting at the south end of Henry Maier Festival Park at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt, the parade will complete a full lap around the festival grounds. on Friday, June 24; Thursday, June 30; Saturday, July 2; and Thursday, July 7, at 3 p.m., as well as Saturday, July 9, at 4 p.m.

Helpful hints:

  • Get in free: Discounted or free tickets are available on most days during the festival. Check out the promotions details on their website.
  • Be aware of the Lost Children’s Area near the Mid Gate for children who become separated from their parents. Children are brought to this secure area and checked in by a member of the Summerfest staff.
  • Create an identification wristband for your child at any main gate.
  • Nursing? No problem. Look for Mother’s Nursing Suites in the Northwestern Community Park area and on the south end of the grounds.

Greek Fest (Free!)

June 24-26, 2022
Wisconsin State Fair Park
640 S. 84th St., West Allis, WI 53214
annunciationwi.org

Be entertained by traditional Greek music and dancing, along with a Greek Market full of imported goods and artifacts. Taste fresh, authentic Greek food including gyros, Greek chicken (also available via drive-thru), lamb, saganaki (fried cheese), souvlaki (skewers), baklava (sweet dessert made with phyllo dough) and loukoumades (fried dough). Games and rides for children of all ages are available. Admission is free, but you’ll have to pay $10 for parking.


Strawberry Fest (Free!)

June 25-26, 2022
Downtown Cedarburg – Washington Ave.
(888) 894-4001
cedarburgfestival.org

An annual celebration of the fruit of the season located in downtown Historic Cedarburg, you’ll find tons for the kids to do (as long as you don’t mind weaving through the crowds).  Enjoy everything strawberry, from strawberry shortcake to strawberry wine.

Stroll along historic main street and explore the white-topped booths, or head over to Cedar Creek Park, where the bulk of the kids’ activities take place. You’ll typically find kid-friendly live entertainment, a duck race, a petting zoo, plus lots of games and prizes. There are also live music stages all over town.  


JULY

Fireworks Kite Festival (Free!)

July 3, 2022, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Veterans Park
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-5483
giftofwings.com

The Fireworks Kite Festival is a just-for-fun kite fly of which everyone is welcome to participate. See giant kites flying above the park and give kite-flying a try at free lessons! A huge area of Veterans Park is set aside just for kite-fliers, and the kite-filled sky is an impressive sight to behold. Plus, it’s the perfect way to get the best seat in the house to the fireworks show along the lakefront. Bring your own kite or buy one at the Gift of Wings kite store. 


Bristol Renaissance Faire

July 9-September 5, 2022 (Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day)
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53142
(847) 395-7773
renfair.com

Climb a castle wall, shoot a bow, and throw an axe – all in one day! If you love all things medieval, you should definitely step back in time to attend this festival spread across 30 acres and 20 stages. Medieval characters in full dress make for an authentic renaissance experience.

Families can watch fully armored jousts, parades, and entertainers in the streets all day long. You’ll also find plenty of rides, games, arts and crafts, food, drink, and music. Plus, check their website for special KidQuests.


Bastille Days (Free!)

July 14-17, 2022
Cathedral Square Park
825 N. Jefferson St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 271-1416
easttown.com

Marked by the signature 43-foot Eiffel Tower replica and hourly light shows, Milwaukee hosts one of the nation’s largest French-themed celebrations each July. The international marketplace comes alive with the sizzling sights and smells of French and Cajun cuisine.

The event is known for the impromptu street performers, roaming minstrels, and a variety of interactive and musical entertainment.

Pro Tip #1: Kids’ and Family Day is usually Saturday, offering kid-friendly performances, soccer and dance lessons, cooking demonstrations, and more.

Pro Tip #2: Park near a Hop station and hitch a free ride on Milwaukee’s streetcar. It stops right in the middle of the festival grounds!


Port Fish Day

July 15-16, 2022
Harbor, Upper and Lower Lake Park, Port Washington
portfishday.com

Four stages offer live musical performances for the whole family, including both local and national musical acts. There’s a large parade through downtown Port Washington, an arts and crafts festival, a classic car show, a carnival with rides and games, fireworks and more.


Croatian Fest

July 16, 2022, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Croatian Park
9100 S. 76th St., Franklin, WI
milwaukeecroatians.org

The festival features Milwaukee area Croatian music and dance groups, and live music by Bravo Band. Traditional Croatian rotisserie (pre-orders recommended), Croatian beers, and homemade bakery and desserts will be for sale. Festivities include bocce courts, Croatian cultural theater, raffle prizes and more.


Waterford Balloonfest (Free!)

July 16, 2022, Noon-8 p.m.
817 W. Main St., Waterford, WI 53185
(262) 534-5911
waterfordballoonfest.com

hot air balloon launch at Waterford Balloonfest Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @WaterfordBalloonfest

One of the only hot-air balloon festivals in the area, this one-day event is returning after a 3-year hiatus. Watch hot air balloons as they launch from the fields of Waterford Union High School and rise high above the village.

Many family-friendly activities will be available throughout the course of the day, including helicopter rides and drone races. There will also be a variety of vendors offering food, beverages, crafts and more. Admission to the event is free, but be prepared to pay cash for parking ($10 per car).


Waukesha County Fair

July 20-24, 2022
Waukesha County Exposition Center
1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188
(262) 548-7200
waukeshacountyfair.com

The oldest county fair in Wisconsin AND the largest event in Waukesha County, the Waukesha County Fair celebrates our rural heritage with barnyard animals, crafts, foods, farm displays—and, of course, the midway!

Pro Tip: Purchase a Family Fun Bundle to get admission for two adults and two kids, plus two cream puffs, for $32. Must all be redeemed on the same day.


MKE Air & Water Show (Free!)

July 23-24, 2022
Milwaukee Lakefront, Lincoln Memorial Drive
(414) 690-1399
mkeairwatershow.com

Blue Angels at MKE Air & Water Show Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @MKEAirAndWaterShow

You won’t be able to miss it (even if you want to!). Milwaukee’s lakefront roars with impressive military aircrafts like the Blue Angels during the Air & Water Show, and it’s free to watch from afar. You can also purchase tickets for front row center seats.


Washington County Fair

July 26-31, 2022
3000 Pleasant Valley Rd, West Bend, WI 53095
wcfairpark.com

There’s nothing like a mid-summer county fair. Carnival rides, fun games, live music, great food, farm animals and more!

The Family Expo Center is a hub of kid-friendly activities. Enjoy horse shows, the small animal tents, contests, 4-H performances, tractor pulls, and much more.

Pro Tip: Enjoy Early Bird pricing when you order admission tickets online by July 8, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.


German Fest

July 29-31, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
germanfest.com

The sounds of carousel organs and the smell of German cuisine – sausage, sauerkraut, and schnitzel – float through the festival grounds, bringing German culture to life. Families head here each year for the Dachshund Derby and costume contest, the Glockenspiel clock that comes to life every few hours, traditional “tracht” clothing, German dance performances, a Children’s Activity Area with German crafts and language games, plus mascots, parades and more.

Pro Tips: Kids under 12 are always free. Friday admission is only $3. Check the website for updated information.


Brady Street Festival (Free!)

July 30, 2022, 11:00 a.m.-Midnight
Brady Street, Milwaukee
bradystreet.org

Head to funky Brady Street for live entertainment all day and night from local bands on three stages. Stunt bike and tumbling shows, arts and crafts, and a rock climbing wall make this a family-friendly event.


AUGUST

Ozaukee County Fair (Free!)

August 3-7, 2022
Firemen’s Park
W67N866 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, WI 53012
ozaukeecountyfair.com

Ferris wheel at Ozaukee County Fair Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @OzaukeeCountyFair

Held each year in Cedarburg, the Ozaukee County Fair is one of the last free county fairs in Wisconsin. You’ll find games, rides, animals, fair food, truck pulls, demonstrations, and live music. (Admission fees apply for the Truck & Tractor Pull and Demolition Derby.)


Wisconsin State Fair

August 4-14, 2022
Wisconsin State Fair Park
640 S 84th St, West Allis, WI 53214
(414) 266-7000
wistatefair.com

Wisconsin State Fair is a celebration of agriculture and livestock, local delicacies, and fried food. The smell of corn on the cob (and manure) is in the air, and so is a sense of pride for all things Wisconsin. Every family seems to have small traditions in place around this event. If your family doesn’t, or you’d like some fresh ideas for your annual trip, read on.

Of the many barns and animals to visit, a must-visit stop is the Discovery Barnyard, where you’ll get to see cuddly baby animals of all kinds. There are also hands-on sensory tables for young kids and other child-friendly activities.

Outside of the wonderfully smelly animal barns, activities for kids are at every turn. The Kohl’s Activity Zone is a free area with a number of white tented booths offering children’s crafts, design projects, conservation-themed theater performances, and educational activities for kids.

Be on the lookout for strolling street entertainers who claim some serious talents from guessing your weight accurately to juggling fire.

It will be difficult to resist the big yellow slide, which has been around for more than 50 years. Hop onto a burlap sack and take a ride down the 200-foot slide for $3.00 per person.

When you’ve worked up an appetite, the Wisconsin Products Pavilion offers higher-quality local fare like Door County cherry products and artisan jerky, as well as kid favorites like grilled cheese and pizza. But the more traditional fair food, and the more adventurous options, lie outside.

Other areas to visit that are sure to offer plenty of fun for the kids are the WE Energies Energy Park, the K-9 Sports Arena, and the Farm and Family Building.

Helpful Hints:

  • Children 5 and under get in free.
  • Get a free identification wristband for your child near any main entrance or at We Energies Energy Park.
  • Save money on food on Crazy Grazin’ Day (Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022). Check the website for details about vendors and specials.

Milwaukee Dragon Festival (Free!)

August 13, 2022
Lakeshore State Park
500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
milwaukeedragonboatfest.org

Photo Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Vibrant colored boats race across the water during this exciting festival put on by the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center. The event also showcases traditional Chinese folk music, dance, games, martial arts, and lantern making.


Milwaukee a la Carte at the Zoo

August 18-21, 2022
10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 771-3040
milwaukeezoo.org

Grab your lawn chairs and spend a relaxing summer day at the Zoo. This annual event showcases the best flavors Milwaukee has to offer, plus top local and national bands performing throughout the grounds. Find your perfect grassy spot or picnic table, and try food from many of the area’s best restaurants.

Kids will love the arts and crafts projects (Thursday and Friday) and special animal exhibits. Zoo rides are available for purchase, and don’t miss your opportunity to check out Dino Don’s Dragon Kingdom.

New hours for the 2022 festival: Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Irish Fest

August 18-21, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
irishfest.com

Did you know that Milwaukee Irish Fest is the largest celebration of its kind, anywhere in the world?

Pick up a Pirate Paddy Passport and collect stamps throughout the grounds. You’ll be rewarded with kid-friendly activities and prizes at each stop. En route, you may catch a parade packed with Celtic Canines, pipe and drum units, vikings, and more.

One of the most beloved areas at Irish Fest is the Leprechaun Village, where families can explore tiny structures, including a workshop, pub, performance stage, and bank vault.

Just beyond the giant rainbow, check out the Children’s Area with Lili-Putt mini golf, crafts, Highland games, and prizes at the Pot O’ Gold. Explore the Children’s Cultural Area on the playground, including a Children’s Tea Room, the Irish Discovery Zone, and interactive demonstrations.

The Celtic Canine area is another must-see, where you can meet and pet some of Ireland’s most popular dog breeds, talk with the Midwest’s top breeders, and learn about grooming, general care, and training. There’s also a demonstration area highlighting obedience, agility, and hunting skills.

Traditional Irish fare includes bridies (turnovers), sausage rolls, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, and a variety of stuffed baked potatoes. For a sweet dessert, try Bailey’s cheesecake, shamrock cookies or Irish cream puffs.

Get in free: Children 12 and under always get in free, and the festival typically offers free admission on Sunday after attending mass or with a non-perishable food item. You can also get free admission with a donation of school supplies on Thursday.


IndiaFest Milwaukee

August 20, 2022, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Humboldt Park
3000 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 243-9397
Facebook Page

IndiaFest Milwaukee has become a tradition, bringing communities together beyond borders, boundaries, languages, region and religion; celebrating ‘India’ in a grand fashion in the land of Wisconsin. Festivities usually include a fashion show and Bollywood music and dancing.


MOWA Art & Chalk Fest (Free!)

August 20-21, 2022
Museum of Wisconsin Art
205 Veterans Ave, West Bend, WI 53095
wisconsinart.org

MOWA Art and Chalk Festival West Bend Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @MuseumofWiArt

This free outdoor fine arts and crafts festival features artist booths as well as chalk artists, art activities for all ages, live entertainment and music, food trucks, a beer garden, and more.

Located on the museum’s four-acre campus, this event features artists from the Wisconsin arts community. Experience live art demonstrations from artists who specialize in glass blowing, pottery and ceramics, plein air painting, and, of course, chalk art.

Watch artists demo their craft right before your eyes, or walk away with a henna tattoo, caricature drawing, tintype portrait, or flower crown. Perhaps encounter a live poetry reading. Kids will flock to the balloon artist and kids activity area.


Mexican Fiesta

August 26-28, 2022
Henry Maier Festival Park
639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 383-7066
mexicanfiesta.org

Discover Mexican culture at Mexican Fiesta. You’ll find upbeat mariachi music, vibrant folk costumes, and steaming tamales. You can browse authentic folk art for sale, and visit the impressive, colorful sanctuary honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Mexican Fiesta is a cultural foundation concentrating on providing education and cultural events for the growing Hispanic community. The festival honors culture, tradition, and family.

Children 8 and under get in free with a paid adult, and everyone enjoys free admission on Friday from noon until 3 p.m.


CANCELLED OR TBD FOR 2022

Locust Street Festival of Music & Art

Cuban Day Street Festival

Festa Italiana

Taste of the Islands

Lakefront Festival of the Arts (Virtual)


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