Top Festivals and Fairs
If you're looking for festivals and fairs in Madison, look no further.
Summer means warm days, cold local brews and beats to get you on your feet. Winter and fall give way to perfectly brewed bock beers and hearty fare. In spring, annual staple events like International Festival connect the Madison community to its cultural heritage.
Explore the streets of Madison’s diverse neighborhoods and join the festival fun with these annual celebrations.
Wisconsin Bourbon Derby Party | May 6
Don your finest haberdashery and prepare to cheer for the Kentucky Derby. Tickets include BBQ picnic bites, a mint julep in your own julep cup to take home, and a sample of Bellefontaine Reserve VII. There will be Derby trivia, a best dressed competition and loads of fun.
Uncork Me Wisconsin | May 13
Yard games, snacks and ice cream accompany this all-you-can-sample wine event at Breese Stevens Field.
Syttende Mai Norwegian Heritage Festival | May 19 – 21
Come for the food, stay for the Viking Games. It’s three full days of parades, food, drinks, art, music, athletic competitions and kids’ activities. All centered around the Norwegian cultural traditions.
Brat Fest | May 26 – 29
The World’s Largest Brat Fest happens in Madison. Over 36 years after its small parking lot start, the still-family-friendly Brat Fest features 100 free musical acts, fireworks, a carnival and of course, brats – with more than $2 million donated to local charities since 1983.
LunART Festival | May 31 – June 4
LunART is an annual festival in Madison dedicated to promoting women’s creativity in the arts. The 2023 season brings five events, showcasing over 50 artists including many familiar local artists and performers, as well as guest artists haling from around the country and world.
Festa Italia | June 2 – 4
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 | June 2 – 4
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 serves as a fundraiser for community non-profits.
Ferraro Fest | June 3
A benefit to raise funds for The Road Home, Ferraro Fest features a disc golf tournament, live music by Evan & Tom Leahy, bounce house, great wine, food, treats and more.
Schumacher Farm Park Music Festival | June 3
Schumacher Farm Park's annual Music Festival Fundraiser invites guests to enjoy music performed by local bands on a large amplified outdoor stage.
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.
Mount Horeb Summer Frolic | June 8 – 11
Nothing says summer like a good frolic. Kick off your summer with a full weekend of entertainment, including a carnival, live music, the Norsk Run, basketball, volleyball, fireworks, a parade and more.
New Glarus Polkafest | June 9 – 10
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.
Beer, Bacon & Cheese Fest | June 10
Attention foodies and anyone else with a love for some of the greatest flavors known to man! The New Glarus Beer, Bacon & Cheese Fest is an afternoon of sampling some of the region’s most unforgettable flavors.
Marquette Waterfront Festival | June 10 – 11
This annual festival features the iconic Fools Flotilla. Other activities include a mix of local talent and national touring favorites, kid's games, unique vendors and more.
SummerPalooza | June 10
Summer comes screaming in with family fun at the Madison Children's Museum. Free admission to the museum, free performances outside and more are in store.
Strawberry Fest | June 15
Strawberries invade the Fitchburg Farmers' Market! Grab a Culver’s Strawberry Sundae, enjoy live music and discover lots of strawberry themed offerings.
Taste of Stoughton | June 17
Local Stoughton restaurants offer up the best of their menus for this food festival. Of course, you can’t have local fare without local brews, ciders, wines and music. Taste of Stoughton has it all.
Juneteenth Celebration | June 18
This historical celebration of Black American emancipation, history, and influence on American history and culture features a parade followed by a park celebration.
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 Folk Festival | June 23 – 25
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.
New Glarus Blues, Brews & Food Truck Festival | June 24
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.
Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus | July 1
This one-of-a-kind Independence Day celebration will be held at Madison’s Breese Stevens Field with local bands, food, beverages & fireworks making this a must-see fest.
Monona Community Festival | July 2 – 4
This festival takes place in one of Wisconsin's most beautiful community parks and features a craft fair, carnival, fireworks, live performances and the Wisconsin Wife Carry Championship.
WaunaBoom | July 4
Celebrate Independence Day with live music, free fun family activities, food, and a large firework show.
Stoughton Fair | July 4 – 9
From 4-H and bingo to a barn dance and a fish fry, the Stoughton Fair is sure to connect you to the local agricultural community in a fun, interactive way.
Fitchburg Festival of Speed | July 8
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.
Art Fair on the Square | July 8 – 9
With its mix of music, entertainment, and outdoor dining, as well as over 500 artists exhibiting paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, handmade clothing and accessories, and fine craft, this fair, returning for its 64th year, draws nearly 200,000 visitors to Madison’s Capitol Square.
La Fête de Marquette | July 13 – 16
This iconic summer festival is free and features dozens of musical acts, fare from local restaurants and a movie under the stars.
Maxwell Street Days | 13 – 16
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.
Mount Horeb Art Fair | July 15
Mount Horeb’s Art Fair takes place on their Trollway (AKA their historic Main Street) and highlights fine artists & crafters from around the Midwest.
Dane County Fair | July 20 – 23
Ah, the magic of the county fair. This one features a world-class carnival, free nightly concerts, great food, animals, youth projects and commercial exhibitors.
Midwest Fire Fest | July 22 – 23
The hottest event in the Midwest. Midwest Fire Fest is a celebration of all things created with fire, heat and smoke including clay, metal arts, glass and more. There is an on-site firing and reveal of a giant clay sculpture, Community Iron Pour, Fire Dancers, Saturday Night’s Fire Feast and smoking hot music all weekend.
WaunaFest | July 28 – 31
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 | 2023 TBD
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.
Sugar Maple Music Festival | August 4 – 5
This isn't your normal music festival. An outdoor celebration of traditional music and dance, the two-day festivities involve intimate educational workshops and jams.
National Mustard Day | August 5
A funky festival dedicated to the king of condiments? You gotta be there. Bring the family to sample mustards from the enormous collection at the National Mustard Museum and enjoy live music.
NGFD Firefest | August 5
It’s fun for the whole family during this New Glarus festival, which features firetruck rides, water fights, inflatable rides and fire safety information.
Swiss Volksfest | August 6
Enjoy all things Swiss and celebrate Swiss Independence Day. Yodeling, thalerschwingen and alphorn music will teleport you to the rolling hills of Switzerland.
Cambridge Rib Fest | August 11 – 13
Head to Cambridge for a BBQ competition and tasting, with categories like wings, ribs, Overall & People's Choice.
Great Taste of the Midwest | August 12
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 16 – 20
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.
Africa Fest | August 19
Come celebrate and share in African traditions and cultural heritages. This festival provides opportunities for inclusiveness in the Madison area.
Agora Art Fair | August 19
Surround yourself with art from over 100 local and regional artists from every medium, amid the unique architecture of the agora and the natural prairie landscape of southern Wisconsin.
Eken Park Festival | August 19
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.
Coffee Break Festival | August 19
Back in 1880, Stoughton's Coffee Street had daily breaks for coffee. Today, the tradition lives on in this annual festival, held every third Saturday in August.
Seltzer & Cider Fest | August 19
Head to Breese Stevens Field for a taste of local and national seltzers, ciders, teas and kombuchas. Enjoy music, games and food with your sips.
OutReach Magic Festival: A Pride Celebration | August 20
With an atmosphere of community, live entertainment and more, this Pride festival is one of a kind.
Orton Park Festival | August 25 – 27
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 25 – 27
Middleton has come together to celebrate neighborly spirit for 59 years. Good music, good food and good neighbors – what more could you ask for?
Taste of Madison | September 2 – 3
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.
Wilhelm Tell Festival | September 2 – 3
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.
Thirsty Troll Brew Fest | September 9
What's a summer festival without beer sampling? The Thirsty Troll Brew Fest is celebrating 20 years this year with a festival that will feature 30 craft brewers serving over 125 different beers. Don't forget to join the "masskrugstemmen" or steinholding competition!
Willy Street Fair | September 16 – 17
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 21 – 24
New Glarus welcomes October with their own version of the traditional German Octoberfest. Wagon rides and chainsaw carving add unique local flair.
Monroe Street Festival | September 23
Stop by Monroe Street to attend this popular, long-running neighborhood festival! Take part in children's activities, entertainment and sidewalk sales galore.
Verona Fall Fest | 2023 TBD
Join the Verona community for a celebration of all things autumn.
October – December
Madison Vegan Fest | October TBD
This annual festival’s mission is to bring people together to enjoy delicious vegan food, hear from speakers and explore ways to live more compassionately.
Cambridge Fall Fest | October TBD
This Cambridge Farm to School fundraiser includes a 5K run, chili cook-off, Art Tent, face painting, pumpkin painting, FFA animals, a beer garden & more.
Wisconsin Science Festival | October TBD
The Wisconsin Science Festival is a statewide celebration with activities for people throughout Wisconsin. Events include hands-on science exhibitions, demonstrations, performances, tours, pub nights, workshops and more. Check out their website for Madison-held events.
Witches Night Out | October TBD
Calling all witches and warlocks. People come from all over for Witches Night Out, where everyone dresses up like witches and warlocks and enjoys shopping, dining and spending time with friends.
Wisconsin Book Festival | October TBD
Enjoy free, public author events that celebrate books and spark conversations. Each year, the festival creates a robust schedule of accomplished and new writers whose books appeal to all ages of readers.
Flannel Fest | November TBD
All the fall feels in one spot. Music, food and, of course, flannels mark this Fitchburg festival.
Madison Hmong New Year | November TBD
Come celebrate the rich festivities of the Hmong culture by remember ancestors, sacrifices, and accomplishments and preserving traditions in honor of the upcoming new year.
Christkindli Market | December TBD
Transport yourself to the winter wonderland that is Little Switzerland with the Christkindli Market. With locally sourced gifts, holiday decorations, and warm food, there’s a little something for everyone. Who knows, you just might see St. Nick himself make an appearance.
January – February
Beer & Cheese Fest | January 20 – 21
A popular, often sold-out event, Beer & Cheese Fest is a can’t-miss. Warm up in the heart of winter with samples of hundreds of delicious cheeses and beers while you mingle with brewers and cheesemakers from across the state.
Winter Carnival | February 6 – 11
This annual carnival offers so much to do, from 3D snowflake making to snowshoe rentals and the Snow Ball. Enjoy all things winter in the heart of UW Madison’s campus.
Frozen Assets Festival | February 4
A 5K held entirely on the ice? Count us in. After the kick-off race, stay for free family-friendly activities on the ice.
Femmestival | February 19
Femmestival is a festival that celebrates and uplifts womxn, femmes and nonbinary entrepreneurs, artists and producers.
Bockfest | February 25
What’s more beautiful than celebrating bock beers with your besties? Bockfest, happens at Capital Brewery every February. You don’t wanna miss this winter beer fest.
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 new memories. Head to our events calendar for more Madison experiences.
March – April
Latino Art Fair | March 3
Celebrate the heritage of Latino art and culture with artists throughout Wisconsin, who sell and exhibit paintings, pottery, jewelry and more.
Doundrins Annual Bloody Mary Fest | March 25
This Annual Bloody Mary Fest at Doundrins Distilling in Cottage Grove is your opportunity to sample Bloody Marys from 10-15 different bars and restaurants and vote for your favorite.
International Festival | April 1 – 2
Join in the celebration of the rich cultural heritage and diversity of the Madison community. Taking place at the Overture Center, this event offers free performances, food from across the world, art available for purchase and more.
SpringFest Arts & Crafts Fair | April 1
Over 80 crafters from the Midwest will be selling their handmade goods, with items such as jewelry, baskets, garden art, cards, pottery, woodwork & more.
Midwest Horse Fair | April 14 – 16
The Midwest Horse Fair is the top 3-day horse fair in America. Every year the Midwest Horse Fair gets bigger & better.
Wisconsin Film Festival | April 13 – 20
We’ve all had our fair share of Netflix binges. Sure, they're fun, but there's something special about sitting in a theater. No distractions. No ads. No notifications. At the Wisconsin Film Festival, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the magic of big-screen shows.