In Festival Guide

Where will you spend your summer in Milwaukee? (PHOTO: Visit Milwaukee)

2019 Milwaukee summer festival guide

Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on June 14, 2019 at 6:56 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.

Slurp up these festival stories packed with vitamins, minerals and everything you need to spike your summer fun. The Summer Festivals Guide is brought to you by Punch Bowl Social. Come on in - it's time we all win at adulting.

The Milwaukee summer festival season has finally arrived, and now it's time to start planning out your fun. But with seemingly a festival or live music event every weekend, it can be overwhelming to try and keep track of all the terrific options headed your way. Luckily, the OnMilwaukee summer festivals guide is here to help.

Here's what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer. (And stay tuned for updates as more festivals announce their official dates, musical lineups and more.)

Now get out there and have some Milwaukee summer fun!

Milwaukee Makers Market
See website for location

Every third Sunday of the month, starting May 19
The Milwaukee Makers Market is the perfect seasonal stop for lovers of art, crafts, alliteration, designers and almost any other hobby. The market meets every third Sunday of the month at either Discovery World, Ivy House MKE or the Colectivo location in Bay View, in addition to two bonus dates on May 31 and Sept. 27 for Bay View Gallery Night. So drop by and find your new favorite living room conversation piece, artistic inspiration or something else completely unexpected.

Jazz in the Park
Cathedral Square Park
May 30-Aug. 29
Every Thursday, Cathedral Square Park fills with the sounds of summer from 6-9 p.m. (with a happy hour starting at 5 p.m.). Drinks will be available throughout various tents at the festival; however, it is asked that there are no carry-ins. While jazz may get top billing in the title, the lineup for the weekly summer concert event – sponsored by Educators Credit Union – offers plenty of tuneful variety from across genres and across the globe, from funk to the Cuban-born charanga to brass band to soul to roots reggae to Latin music to bluesy Americana classics and, of course, jazz.

Chill on the Hill
Humboldt Park
June 4-Aug. 27
Hosted as always at Humboldt Park, Chill on the Hill will welcome more than 20 bands over the course of 13 weeks, as well as food vendors from popular Bay View eateries and community partners. This year, Chill on the Hill is partnering with the Humboldt Park 4th of July Association to bring Kids from Wisconsin back to the lineup. Enjoy the show on July 4!

River Rhythms
Pere Marquette Park
June 12-Aug. 28
Westown is the place to be on Wednesday nights this summer! River Rhythms is a free, outdoor summer concert event which hosts some of the finest local talent Milwaukee has to offer – this year including Chicken Wire Empire, Sam Llanas, Charles Walker Band and more.

Polish Fest
Henry Maier Festival Park
June 14-16
Head over to the Cultural Village to learn the secrets behind cooking your favorite Polish foods, appreciate the history of folk art and embrace your inner love for animals by visiting with sheepdogs, chickens and rabbits. Some daily attractions include a piano competition, a marketplace, Polish sheepdogs, cooking demos and folk art. Arrive early to attend the Catholic mass and grab some traditional Polish sausage for lunch.

Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival
Bayshore Town Center
June 15
Calling all lovers of beer! Glendale's Bayshore Town Center will play host to dozens of local breweries offering samples upon samples of Wisconsin beer. And to help soak up those frothy suds, local cheesemakers and restaurants will also offer a multitude of samples. Stay tuned to the festival's official website for updates on the breweries, beer lists and restaurants headed your taste buds' way.

Juneteenth Day
King Drive, between Burleigh and Center Streets
June 19
June 19 has been known as "Juneteenth Day," the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the United States and a staple of Milwaukee festivals since the 1970s, when an employee of the Northcott Neighborhood House was inspired by the celebrations held in Southern states. Four decades later, everyone agrees that the best Juneteenth party can be found right here in Milwaukee. This year's celebration will feature kids' games, exhibits, soul food, music, a parade and more.

Tour of Americas Dairyland
A different location every day
June 20-30
The Tour of America's Dairyland presented by KwikTrip is two things to two different groups of people: To some, it's 11 days of uninterrupted criterium racing that can't be found anywhere else, and to others, it's 11 uninterrupted days of block parties, family fun and children's activities. Whether you're coming to bang on the sponsor boards and cheer on your favorite up-and-coming pros or just enjoying a beer on a sunny patio under a parasol, there is plenty of fun and excitement for everyone.

Hart Fest
Hart Park
June 21-22
Presented by Shorewest Realtors, Hart Fest delivers two days of community spirit inspired via live entertainment – this year headlined by The Cheap Shots and The LoveMonkeys – demos, a half-marathon, Fido Fest at Central Bark for all your four-legged festival goers and more.

Greek Fest
Wisconsin State Fair Park
June 21-23
There's a reason why Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church has been putting on its annual Greek Fest for over 50 years. Milwaukeeans can't get enough gyros, lamb and chicken roasted on a spit. Throw in some family fun and carnival rides, and it's a party! Opa!

Lakefront Festival of Art
Milwaukee Art Museum
June 21-23
This marks the 57th year for the annual Lakefront Festival of Art, which features works for sale by more than 170 artists from around the world. Guests can purchase art from painters, potters, sculptors, glassblowers, photographers and others selected by a jury to display their creations.

Summer Soulstice
East North Avenue
June 22
Join in on the fun of celebrating the summer solstice – Milwaukee style! This East Side is one of the largest free showcases for the region's top music acts including Chicken Wire Empire and Lex Allen, visual artists, creation stations, local chefs and so much more! Don't worry, the Summer Soulstice is family-friendly, so you can bring the kids along, too.

Milwaukee Taco Fest
Henry Maier Festival Park
June 22
Everybody loves tacos – and now we've got an entire festival dedicated to them. The sixth annual Milwaukee Taco Fest will get a change of scenery this year, moving from the Wisconsin State Fair grounds to Henry Maier Festival Park on the lakefront, but the heart of the event is still the same: delicious tacos of all shapes, sizes and shells – plus wrestling, drinks and live entertainment to wash them all down. And also more tacos.

Bloody Mary Festival
Fiserv Forum

June 22-23
From serving them with little beers to topping them with whole chickens, Milwaukee knows how to do bloody Marys. And this summer, we'll celebrate these tomato-y treats with the first Bloody Mary Festival, headed outside Fiserv Forum for two days this summer. Expect food, drink, live entertainment, games and more in the mix this June.

Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
Historic Downtown Cedarburg
June 22-23
Summer is the time for fresh berries – and what better berry than the strawberry? Sample some strawberry blush wine and chicken strawberry wraps, get sugared up at the strawberry shortcake eating competition and strawberry bubblegum blowing contest, or settle in for the Sunday morning strawberry pancake breakfast. You'll satisfy your strawberry cravings for a while after you've finished with this festival! There will also be live music, pony rides, a petting zoo and the CedarQuacker 500 where 500 rubber duckies will be released into a creek.

Garlic Fest
South 2nd Street
June 23
Come celebrate all things garlic! Various restaurants around Walker's Point will be offering their favorite garlic cuisine outside Braise Restaurant on South 2nd Street. In true Milwaukee spirit, there will be drinks from local distilleries, breweries and Braise Green Garlic Bloody Marys, as well as live music, a DJ, games and local artisans. Just maybe bring an after-festival mint.

Henry Maier Festival Park
June 26-July 7 (off-day on July 1)
From rock to pop, rap to alternative, country to electronic, the world's largest music festival has something for everyone! And best of all, general admission is less than $20 – with plenty of opportunities to save even more money with deals scattered throughout the festival! This year features yet another all-star lineup including Jennifer Lopez, Billie Eilish, Zac Brown Band, The Killers, Willie Nelson and more. And that's just the main stage!

Bristol Renaissance Faire
July 6-Sept. 2
Grab your corset or your homemade chainmail armor; the Bristol Renaissance Faire is set to make its annual return. Open rain or shine, every Saturday, Sunday and on Labor Day, the Bristol Faire takes visitors for a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., complete with 16th-century arts, crafts, games, rides, food, music and one-of-a-kind encounters with a colorful cast of characters from the era.

NEWaukee Night Markets
Wisconsin Ave. between 2nd and 4th Streets
July 10, Aug. 14 and Sept. 11
NEWaukee's Night Market is a collision of all Milwaukee has to offer. The Night Market is a free, open-air market that offers a wide variety of experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages. The Night Market features a mash up of art, craft and food vendors, live art creation, local music and a beer garden.

Bastille Days
Cathedral Square Park
July 11-14
Bienvenu a Bastille Days! Come visit Paris via Cathedral Square Park and celebrate the 38th anniversary of one of the country's biggest French-themed celebrations, with impromptu street performers, roaming minstrels, musical entertainment and tasty French delicacies. This year's edition comes with a slightly adjusted footprint due to the new streetcar driving through, so keep your eyes open for that – and keep your eyes open for the replica 43-foot Eiffel Tower in the center of all the fun.

Festa Italiana
Henry Maier Festival Park
July 19-21
As one of Milwaukee's oldest ethnic festivals, Festa Italiana continues to build on rich traditions from the past to represent our city's Italian community in the present and future. Enjoy jazz music, a parade, children's activities and fireworks each night – and show off your competitive side as you cheer on the players in futsal tournament and nearby flag throwers. This year KC and the Sunshine Band will headline on Saturday, July 20!

Armenian Fest
St. John the Baptist Armenian Orthodox Church, 7825 W. Layton Ave
July 21
Armenian food takes center stage at this festival, and the offerings resemble Greek and other Eastern Mediterranean cuisines, but with different spices and seasonings. The menu will include chicken and beef kebob, cheese and spinach burek, lamajoun (a pizza-like meat dish served on thin tortilla-like dough), hummus (a dip made of chickpeas), tabouleh (a green salad without lettuce), choreg (breadsticks), vegetarian and meat sarma (stuffed grape leaves) and a mouthwatering array of baklava and other traditional pastries.

EAA AirVenture
Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W. 20th Ave.
July 22-28
Every year, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh earns its distinction as "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration." The members of the EAA make this annual event one of the world's most impressive showcases of attractions, representing innovation, history, technological advancement and current and future trends in aviation.

Washington County Fair
Washington County Fair Park
July 23-28
Enjoy good food and good music at the Washington County Fair. Country headliners tend to dominate the festival, (stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for the lineup of musical entertainment coming soon!) There will also be a carnival and a multitude of vendors so come out and see what all the fuss is about!

Riverwest 24
July 26-27
Calling all biking lovers! Come out to Riverwest for its 24-hour bike race, where you get in some exercise and experience the culture of one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Milwaukee. May 5 is registration day over at Riverwest Public House so pedal your way over there!

German Fest
Henry Maier Festival Park
July 26-28
Enjoy three days jam-packed with music, Sheepshead tournaments, wine tasting and children's activities. Learn your family history as well as genealogists look up your family tree and see the alluring display of European trains. The Stihl Timbersports Series returns this year, bringing some of the top lumberjack athletes to Milwaukee.

Brady Street Festival
Farwell Avenue to Van Buren Street
July 27
You'll be rockin' the day and night away at one of the four stages packed with local bands (stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for the lineup of musical entertainment coming soon!) and entertainment lineups including belly dancers, the Cream City Queens drag show and plenty more. And when you're parched from walking around Brady Street and singing along to the songs, quench your thirst with an ice cold beer or fill up on an array of food from various vendors. The festival begins at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight.

Milwaukee Brewfest
Lincoln Memorial Drive
July 27
Make way to the shore of Lake Michigan and join the party at the 10th annual Milwaukee Brewfest, featuring hundreds of craft and micro brews, as well as ciders and meads, from around the world. And that's not even mentioning the musical performances, silent auctions, food sampling and local vendors providing food for purchase.

Milwaukee Air & Water Show
July 27-28
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, actually, it's both, as the Milwaukee Air & Water Show is back to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The show will bring back the famed Thunderbirds – more formally known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – to headline this year's event, alongside other exciting demonstrations roaring to life on and above Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee Comedy Festival
July 31-Aug. 4
Show of hands: Who's in need of a good laugh these days? Alright, let's tally this up, looks like ... yep, literally everybody. Luckily, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival is coming back around for its annual visit, with performers ranging in experience and style – but all certain to hit your funny bone.

Fiesta Waukesha
La Casa de Esperanza
August TBD
Help promote multicultural awareness with this two-day music and cultural festival, now back home at La Casa de Esperanza, found at 410 Arcadian Ave. in Waukesha. The festival will offer a wide range of Latino entertainment, cuisine, live music and more – including the event's first ever "Latino Expo," focusing on education, health, business, financial and jobs in the community.

Wisconsin State Fair
Wisconsin State Fair Park
Aug. 1-11
It's that time of year again - the Wisconsin State Fair! For ten days, enjoy some classic cream puffs, fried Oreos and other tasty treats by the winners of the Golden Spork Awards. Then wear off all those calories by walking around the grounds, hopping on amusement park rides, watching endless fair competitions and listening to countless concerts – with this year's main stage entertainment including REO Speedwagon, Brett Eldredge, Fitz and the Tantrums, Rick Springfield, Old Dominion and more.

Black Arts Fest MKE
Henry Maier Festival Park

Aug. 3
One of the Milwaukee summer festival season's youngest events will return for 2019, as the second annual Black Arts Fest MKE will bring the party back to the Summerfest grounds on Aug. 3. With around 9,000 coming to last year's debut and big-name headliner acts like MC Lyte, Bobby Rush and Tony! Toni! Tone! taking the stage, we look forward to what Black Arts Fest MKE will do for an encore.

Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance
Veterans Park
Aug. 3-4
Bring some elegance to your summer fun with the 15th annual Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance, a classic car show featuring some of the most luxurious high-end motorcars throughout history on display for your enjoyment and probably a lot of jealousy.

Waukesha BluesFest
Naga-Waukee Park in Delafield
Aug. 9-10
Known as an "American Music and Art Festival," the festival features blues, R&B, soul, gospel and roots music mixed in with country and rock. In the past, the festival has seen the likes of Mavis Staples, James Hunter, John Mayall and many other nationally and internationally renowned musicians. This year, you can see headliners Joanne Shaw Taylor and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Center Street Daze
Aug. 10
This Riverwest Neighborhood festival is perfect for the whole family, featuring events such as car races, car shows, pool, dodgeball and pinball tournaments. The opportunities during one of the city's most eclectic days of the year are endless as you make your way down one of the city's most diverse neighborhood's main drags.

Irish Fest
Henry Maier Festival Park
Aug. 15-18
Don't miss the world's largest Irish music and culture celebration. The four-day family festival showcases more than 100 entertainment acts from all over the world, including over 30 Milwaukee groups, several local Irish dance groups and about 90 vendors selling Irish crafts and retail items will as well.

Cathedral Square Park
Aug. 17
MKEfest is an annual one-day event that showcases local talent, targeting the everyday people, artists, music connoisseurs and foodies. Get out there and get involved!

Humboldt Park
Aug. 17
India Fest might be one of the city's youngest festivals, throwing its inaugural edition in 2013, but it's also already one of Milwaukee's brightest summer festivals as well, featuring authentic food, dance, music and marketplaces

Mexican Fiesta
Henry Maier Festival Park
Aug. 23-25
Mexican Fiesta is a celebration of Mexico's rich history of history, art, music and food. Sample some wines, browse through an art gallery, participate in a golf tournament, participate the Fiesta Run and Walk or enjoy taco dinner. Also feel free to take part in various contests such as salsa/bachata, dance, el grito, jalapeno eating and costume. The Fiesta also provides a scholarship for some of Milwaukee's deserving Hispanic youth.

Punk Fest 9
The Local/Quarters
Aug. 24-Sept. 7
MKE Punk Fest is alive and rocking, bringing together acts from across the city, state and even across the country. This year, the lineup includes the likes of The Red Flags, Faux Fiction, The Meatcurtains, Hi/Jack, Gas Station Sushi and many, many more. If you can't get enough of the punk, the fest will also be holding a before party on Aug. 24 and an after party on Sept. 7.

Milwaukee Rally
Various locations
Aug. 29-Sept. 2
Don't let summer go away quietly. Instead, rev your engines with the signature sound of rumbling Harley-Davidson V-twin engines over at this year's Milwaukee Rally – the Midwest's largest free motorcycle rally, featuring events at several venues across the region including musical acts, giant vendor villages, bike nights, street parties, tattoo contests and more.

Big BBQ Fest
Henry Maier Festival Park
Labor Day Weekend
Big BBQ Fest, formerly the Big Gig BBQ – and somehow still not called the Big Pig – will celebrate smoked meats at the Summerfest grounds, throwing one big final cookout over Labor Day weekend before the summer slides into fall. The fest will serve up a saucy combination of live entertainment, drink and, of course, barbecue. Bring your appetite!

Harbor Fest
Sunday, Sept. 8th
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Harbor View Plaza and 600 East Greenfield Ave. (outside of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences). Free activities for the entire family including the Milwaukee Boat Parade, bout tours, paddling lessons, fishing, bike tours, boat building, tours of the UWM research vessel - the Neeskey, live music, rock-climbing, local food and more.

Bay View Bash
Between Potter and Clement on Kinnickinnic Avenue
Sept. 21
The Bay View Bash is back with its 15th annual event, delivering a community festival filled with food, art, music, crafts, books and community organizations that's also striving to be waste free!

Henry Maier Festival Park
Sept. 21
You've had all the festival fun this summer; it's only fair your cats, puppers and other nature friends had one dedicated to them. That's Fromm Petfest, a free festival featuring all sorts of fun activities and excitement for all your four-legged friends. The best part: It's a festival for them, but you'll probably have a hoot too!

Doors Open Milwaukee
Sept. 28-29
Historic Milwaukee quite literally gets 150 buildings – big and small, new and old, landmarks and hidden gems – to open their doors to the city of Milwaukee for this adventure-minded early fall event. Guided tours are often times offered free of charge with no entry fee required – but if there is somewhere particularly interesting to you, check out the in-depth tours that are ticketed. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so get out there and be a tourist in your hometown!

Milwaukee Film Festival
Various theaters in the Milwaukee area
Oct. 17-Oct. 31
2019 marks a big year for the Milwaukee Film. No matter what time of year it takes place, come out and see countless eclectic films from all sorts of genres, delivered from all across the globe – and many right from your backyard too. It's almost a guarantee that a few of the films will pop up again a few months later at the Oscars – and will probably pop up on your own personal top ten list for the year!


Post a comment / write a review.

Facebook Comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of or its staff.