Whether you’ve already got your summer travel plans set or you plan to wing it, you’re probably looking for some exciting festivities to take part in this summer. Luckily, the Midwest is full of great festivals for everything under the sun. Here are a few you can be sure I’m checking out this summer.
Burlington, WI | May 26 – 29
You read that right. There is an entire festival made just to celebrate chocolate, and it’s so close you can almost smell it mixing already. For three days, enjoy every kind of chocolate you could possibly imagine while helping to raise funds for the World Forestry Center. Is there anything better than chocolate for charity?
Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
Little Chute, WI | Jun 2 – 4
I don’t know about you, but cheese is right of there with chocolate for me, and no one does cheese better than Wisconsin. It isn’t all just about eating Wisconsin’s delicious cheese, though. You can enjoy cheese-carving contests, watch the cheese parade, listen to some great music, enjoy the petting zoo, and take some rides at the carnival.
Milwaukee Highland Games
Wauwatosa, WI | Jun 3
We just finished up celebrating Irish culture, so now it’s time to jump across the channel to celebrate their neighbors, the Scots. For just $10, you can spend a whole day of fun watching Highland dancing, athletic events, and of course a sheepdog or two. Whether you’re Scottish or not, feel free to join in the parade, sing and dance at the Ceilidh, and enjoy some great Scottish food.
Mackinac Island, MI | Jun 9 – 18
Enjoy the majority of this festival free of charge. It isn’t about what you do here, it’s about how much you can see. Lilacs only bloom for a few weeks every year, and when they do, they turn Mackinac Island into one of the most beautiful places in the world to see and to smell.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival
St. Paul, MN | Jun 22 – 24
Jazz isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who appreciate it, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival is the place to be. For three days, experience some of the best jazz has to offer while also enjoying some great food, fascinating people, and a wonderful city full of amazing things to see and explore.
Charlevoix Venetian Festival
Charlevoix, MI | Jul 15 – 22
This great festival is now in its 87th year, and there is a reason why it has lasted so long. Between the music, parade, competitions, aquapalooza, game, and fireworks, there is something for everyone no matter what you’re looking for. Check out the main stage for a movie with the kids or have a romantic evening watching the lighted boat parade. Either way, you won’t soon forget your visit.
Barnesville, MN | Aug 25 – 26
Obviously, we don’t celebrate potatoes enough. To help give a little credit where it’s due, this central-Minnesota town throws Potato Days every year. Thousands gather to see the golden potato hut, potato car cares, mashed potato wrestling, and of course to eat potatoes in every way imaginable.
Wine and Harvest Festival
Paw Paw, MI | Sept. 8 – 11
Despite the name, the Wine and Harvest Festival isn’t just for adults looking to do some taste testing. This festival has something for people of all ages, whether you want to join the 5k, participate in the kayak race, compete to see who can stomp grapes the best, go on carnival rides, or watch some fireworks. Check out Paw Paw, MI hotels and book your room soon before it fills up.