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Summer of Festivals

Summer means warm days, cold local brews and beats to get you on your feet, as more than 50 festivals fill the Greater Madison region with food, music, drink and dance all summer long. Fill your summer months exploring the streets of Madison’s diverse neighborhoods and joining some of the annual events.

June

  • Festa Italia (May 31–June 2) – Hosted by the Italian Workmen's Club, this annual event in Fitchburg is a three-day celebration of family, food and Italian culture.
  • Verona Hometown Days (May 31–June 2) – When they call Verona, WI "Hometown, USA" they mean it! This festival is a family event full of music, carnival attractions, and kid's activities, and also serves as a fundraiser for community non-profits.
  • Polkafest (June 7-8) – Step into Switzerland with a tribute to Roger Bright, a beloved figure in the polka world. Celebrate with live polka music, local beer, and lively dancing.
  • 608 Day (June 8) – Celebrate all the things we love about Madison and the 608 area with specials around town. Look for sweet deals on food, lodging, drinks, and more.
  • SummerPalooza (June 8) – Summer comes screaming in with family fun at the Madison Children's Museum. Free admission to the museum, free performances outside, and a community parade around the Capitol Square are in store.
  • Marquette Waterfront Festival (June 8–9) – Annual festival featuring the iconic Fools Flotilla. Other activities include a mix of local talent and national touring favorites, kids games, unique vendors and more.
  • Make Music Madison (June 21) – Join us as Madison comes alive with sound. Free outdoor performances across the city are a wonderful way to welcome summer.
  • Heidi Fest (June 28-30) – Experience the European flavor only New Glarus - lovingly-known as Little Switzerland - can offer. This weekend-long celebration is highlighted by local actors recreating the classic play Heidi.
  • Shake the Lake (June 29) – Celebrate the Fourth of July early with a festival all about sound. Enjoy live concerts and a fireworks display. And it's all free.
  • New Glarus Blues, Brews & Food Truck Festival (June 29) – Jam with local musicians while you savor craft beers from New Glarus Brewing Company. A variety of delicious foods from local food carts make this free festival a summer essential.

July

  • Monona Community Festival (July 3–4) – This festival takes place in one of Wisconsin's most beautiful community park and features a craft fair, carnival, fireworks, live performances, and the Wisconsin Wife Carry Championship.
  • 5th Annual Fourth Fest (July 4) – Carnival snacks, cold beer, and stunning views made Fourth Fest a summer favorite. Rock the dock with live music and classic Independence Day foods.
  • La Fete de Marquette (July 11–14) – This iconic summer festival is free and features dozens of musical acts, fare from local restaurants and a movie under the stars.
  • Fitchburg Festival of Speed (July 13) – Biking is fundamental to the Madison-area way of life. Come for the annual bike race, and stay for the live music at Fitchburg's beautiful Agora Pavilion.
  • Maxwell Street Days (July 19–21) – Maxwell Street Days has been a Madison tradition for over 40 years. The State Street sidewalk sale provides attendees with great bargains on clothes, art, sporting goods and more.
  • Margarita & Taco Fest (July 21) – This classic pair deserves its own festival. Sample Madison's best margaritas and tacos on the city's exciting near-east side.
  • WaunaFest (July 25-28) – Family fun abounds at this Waunakee community festival. Carnival rides, live music, and daily family events are just a few of the fun things in store.
  • Atwood Fest (July 27-28) – One of Madison's hippest neighborhoods comes together for their favorite annual music festival. Food and craft vendors abound in an artistic, and delicious, weekend of fun.

August

  • Sugar Maple Music Festival (August 2-3) – This isn't your normal music festival. An outdoor celebration of traditional music and dance, these two-day festivities involve intimate educational workshops and jams. 
  • Madison Vegan Fest (August 3) – Gather with your food-conscious cohort to taste and learn about all things vegan. Vegan Fest is all about exploring ways to live with compassion.
  • National Mustard Day (August 3) – A funky festival dedicated to the king of condiments? You just have to be there. Bring the family to sample mustards from the enormous collection at the National Mustard Museum and enjoy live music.
  • Swiss Volkfest (August 4) – Enjoy all things Swiss and celebrate Swiss Independence Day. Yodeling, thalerschwingen, and alphorn music will teleport you to the rolling hills of Switzerland.
  • Great Taste of the Midwest (August 10) – One of America's premier beer festivals makes it home in Madison. More than 190 of the Midwest's craft brewers - and 6,000 beer fanatics - descend on Olin Park for a delicious dive into the world of beer. 
  • Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival (August 15–18) – With over 80 tons of sweet corn in one place, plus family-friendly fun, this is Sun Prairie festival is one to add to your calendar.
  • Eken Park Festival (August 17) – Head to Madison's north side for a family-friendly festival that honors community. Diverse music creates a memorable soundtrack as you dine on local cuisine and beer.
  • Yum Yum Fest (August 18) – Do you believe food is an artisanal experience? Then Yum Yum Fest is for you. The talented chefs in the Madison Area Chef's Network bring brilliance to a foodie festival. Taste some of Madison's finest food and wash it down with local craft beers.
  • Orton Park Festival (August 22–25) – The east side's Orton Park Festival is one of the country's longest-running outdoor music festivals. Enjoy four days of great music, a wide array of vendors and spectacular aerial trapeze performances.
  • Good Neighbor Festival (August 23–25) – Middleton has come together to celebrate neighborly spirit for more than 50 years. Good music, good food, and good neighbors – what more could you ask for?
  • Rhythm on the River (August 24) – Send summer off right by rocking along Fort Atkinson's Rock River. Start the night with a Taste of Fort, and stay for jams.
  • Wilhelm Tell Festival (August 30) – The quaint downtown of New Glarus is your host for historic revitalization. Lederhosen will be plentiful as the community gathers for the story of Swiss Independence.
  • Taste of Madison (August 31–September 1) – A free two-day event on Madison's beautiful Capitol Square over Labor Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with three stages of music, food from 80 vendors and fun for all ages.

September

  • Madison Area Pagan Pride Day (September 7) – Explore one of the nation's longest-running pagan pride events. Learn about this diverse segment of Madison's population, and contribute to local charities in the process.
  • Monroe Street Festival (September 14) – Stop by Monroe Street to attend this popular, long-running neighborhood festival! Take part in children's activities, entertainment and sidewalk sales galore.
  • Thirsty Troll Brew Fest (September 14) – What's a summer festival without beer sampling? Last year's Thirsty Troll Brew Fest featured 30 craft brewers serving over 125 different beers. Don't forget to join the "masskrugstemmen" or steinholding competition!
  • Isthmus OktoBEERfest (September 14) – Madison's take on the classic German festival, OktoBEERfest brings together more than 40 craft breweries. Don't worry, artisan sausage, cheese, and specialty shops will be on hand to satiate your hunger.
  • Willy Street Fair (September 14-15) – Join Madison's longest-running neighborhood gathering in the hip Willy Street neighborhood. Five stages of entertainment and 150 vendors will keep the good vibes flowing. 
  • Oktoberfest (September 26) – New Glarus welcomes October with their own version of the traditional German Octoberfest. Wagon rides and chainsaw carving ad unique local flair.

Whether you make it to one event all summer or attend one every weekend, Madison festivals are a great way to get outside and make some new memories this summer. Head to visitmadison.com/events for more ideas for festival fun.