Every year (except last year), Milwaukee comes alive in the summer with festivals all over the city.
While many festivals are cancelled again for 2021, there are a number that are still happening throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
Here is a list of Milwaukee Summer Festivals still happening in 2021, in chronological order.
(At the end, we’ve listed which summer festivals are TBD, and which are cancelled.
1. Croatian Fest
July 17, 2021
9100 S. 76th St., Franklin, WI
The festival features Milwaukee area Croatian music and dance groups, and live music by Rakija Bend. Traditional Croatian rotisserie (pre-orders recommended), Croatian beers, and home made bakery and desserts will be for sale.
2. Washington County Fair
July 20 – 25, 2021
3000 Pleasant Valley Rd, West Bend, WI 53095
The Family Expo Center is the center of kid-friendly activities. Enjoy horse shows, the small animal tents, contests, 4-H performances, tractor pulls, and much more.
3. Waukesha County Fair
July 21 – 25, 2021
We are excited to share that we are moving forward towards our 2021 event. Although things may look a little different, we will know more finite details in the months ahead. We are proud of the dedication of our team and incredibly grateful for the support of our amazing fair partners and volunteers – we wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of them!
4. Milwaukee Air & Water Show (Free!)
July 24 & 25, 2021
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.
5. Ozaukee County Fair (Free!)
July 28st – August 1, 2021
W67N866 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, WI 53012
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.
6. Wisconsin State Fair
August 5-15, 2021
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 over fifty 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.
-Children five and under are free throughout the fair.
-Get a free identification wristband for your children near a main entrance or at We Energies Energy Park.
-Save money on food on Crazy Grazin’ Day. Check their website for details about vendors and specials.
7. Irish Fest
August 20 – 22, 2021
Henry Maier Festival Park, 639 E. Summerfest Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53202
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.
8. Art and Chalk Fest at MOWA (Free!)
August 21-22, 2021
Museum of Wisconsin Art (205 Veterans Ave, West Bend, WI 53095)
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 vendors, a beer garden, and more.
9. Mexican Fiesta
August 27 – 29, 2021
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.
September 2-4, 9-11, 16-18
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 festival itself most certainly is. Here are some of the best things to do with kids. We are not sure which of these features will be available in 2021:
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.
Children’s Theater & Playzone: Visit the daily lineup pages for information on daily, family-focused performers and show times.
Kohl’s Captivation Station: This area lives up to its name, captivating children of all ages with hands on art projects, live theater and family friendly performers. Families can meet new characters and puppets and enjoy wildlife adventures and songs in conservation-themed performances by Kohl’s Wild Theater, part of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. You can also create a one-of-a-kind art project with Kohl’s Color Wheels, an extension of the Milwaukee Art Museum. For innovative design projects, stop by the Kohl’s Design it! Mobile Lab. You’ll learn techniques and methods from design professionals from Discovery World.
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 – 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 – 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.
Get in free: To save on admission and take advantage of food and beverage deals, check the schedule for Kohl’s Family Day and Children’s Fest Day.
-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 a Nursing Mothers Station in the Children’s Area and at the South Gate Information Booth. These pods provide a comfortable, private and convenient space for nursing moms.
Juneteenth Day Parade (TBD)
2460 N. 6th St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Juneteenth Day commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. Today, it is a celebration of African American achievement. The celebration in Milwaukee includes a lively parade, a Miss Juneteenth Day Pageant, and food vendors.
Greek Fest (TBD)
Wisconsin State Fair Park (640 S. 84th St., West Allis, WI 53214)
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, 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 for parking.
Summer Soulstice (TBD)
2122 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
The trendy East Side hosts Summer Soulstice, a free showcase of local bands, visual artists, Milwaukee makers, creation stations, East Side restaurants, dodgeball and BMX stunt bikes, and family-friendly crafts and activities such as an adventure rock wall.
Fireworks Kite Festival (Free!) – TBD
Veterans Park (1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202)
The Fireworks Kite Festival is a just-for-fun kite fly of which everyone is welcome to participate. 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.
Bristol Renaissance Faire (TBD)
Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53142
Climb a castle wall, shoot bow and arrows, 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.
Brady Street Festival (TBD)
Head to funky Brady Street for live entertainment all day and night from local bands on four stages. Stunt bike and tumbling shows, arts and crafts, and a rock climbing wall make this a family-friendly event.
Milwaukee Dragon Festival (Free!) TBD
Lakeshore State Park
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.
Taste of the Islands (TBD)
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (929 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)
The annual Taste of the Islands event at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the ending of the Live at Peck Pavilion series. It focuses on a different island each year and includes live music and entertainment, themed food and beverages, and activities for kids such as crafts and face painting.
India Fest (TBD)
Strawberry Fest in Cedarburg
Locust Street Festival
Milwaukee Highland Games
Lakefront Festival of the Arts (Virtual)
Port Washington Fish Day
Zoo a la Carte