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Fun in the sun: Milwaukee-area festival season kicks off

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By Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 4, 2014

Summer in Wisconsin means festivals. Many celebrate the melting pot of ethnicities that make up our great state. Others pay tribute to pop music, rhythm and blues, or strawberries.

Here is a schedule of annual summer festivals in the Milwaukee area:

MILWAUKEE HIGHLAND GAMES

When: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Where: Hart Park, Wauwatosa.

Highlights: View ax throwing and longbow demonstrations throughout the day, or watch athletes gather for the traditional Scottish strongman events of stone put and hammer throw competition. The Massed Pipes and Drums will gather for a spectacular ceremony of bagpipes at 5 p.m. All events will be held rain or shine, with musical performances by Dublin O'Shea, Steel Bonnets and the Finn MacCools. So gather with the clan of your choice and enjoy a hearty meat pie and a lively day of competition and ceilidh.

Admission: $10 adults; free for children ages 12 and younger; active military in uniform get in free; $3 off before 10 a.m. with a per-person donation of a nonperishable food item.

Information: milwaukeescottishfest.com

PRIDEFEST

When: 3:30-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday, June 6-8.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: This gathering of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture and community features an Arts & Culture building with art installations and video documentaries, a Health & Wellness Area, and a Dance Pavilion with DJs and light shows all under one roof. The Miller Lite Mainstage features both legendary and emerging artists with performances by the B.J. Daniels Revue, Chad Michaels, Macy Gray, Big Freedia, Sandra Bernhard and Lisa Lampanelli.

Admission: $13 advance, $16 at the gate.

Information: 414-272-3378 or pridefest.com

LOCUST STREET FESTIVAL OF MUSIC & ART

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, June 8.

Where: Locust Street between Humboldt Avenue and Holton Street, Milwaukee.

Highlights: Listen for the starter's pistol to kick off the traditional 1.8-mile Riverwest Beer Run/Walk through the streets, then stay for continuous entertainment on six outdoor stages. Bands include local favorites playing a variety of musical styles from rock to blues, bluegrass, reggae, acoustic and Latino rhythms. All ages can play at the popular Drum Circle at Locust and Bremen streets. Explore the craft and food booths.

Admission: Free

Information: locuststreetfestival.org

POLISH FEST

When: Noon-midnight Friday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, June 13-15.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: Witamy! Experience a three-day celebration of Polish heritage through art, history, culture and entertainment. From pierogies to polka, learn about the Polish life or find a piece of Poland to take home with you from the Sukiennice Marketplace. Drop in for refreshments at the Tyskie Beer Garden or treat yourself to vodka tastings in the Sobieski Vodka Lounge and learn more about the finer points of Poland's best vodka. Entertainment varies from traditional to contemporary, with special tents to drop in for the Polanki Library book sale, Polish forums and cooking demonstrations. Na zdrowie!

Admission: $10 in advance, $12 at the gate; seniors ages 55 and older $10; free for children ages 15 and younger with an adult admission.

Information: 414-529-2140 or polishfest.org

LAKEFRONT FESTIVAL OF ARTS

When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 20-22.

Where: Milwaukee Art Museum grounds, Art Museum Drive.

Highlights: Shop for paintings, ceramics, fiber, jewelry and more from artists gathered from around the world. The festival is family-friendly with live entertainment and a Children's Art Tent for budding artists. Sample an assortment of beverages and specialty foods, with the sounds of folk, blues, indie and pop as you enjoy a beautiful day on Milwaukee's lakefront.

Admission: $17 at the gate

Information: 414-224-3253 or lfoa.mam.org

SUMMERFEST

When: Noon-midnight daily, June 25-29 and July 1-6.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: Bruno Mars headlines the Marcus Amphitheater on opening night, with the annual “Big Bang” fireworks afterward. Other Marcus Amphitheater acts include Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Outkast, Dave Matthews Band, Zac Brown Band, Motley Crue, Fall Out Boy & Paramore, and Usher.

Admission: $17 general admission; $10 weekday admission Tuesday through Friday before 4 p.m.; $6 for seniors ages 60 and older and children ages 3-10.

Information: summerfest.com

CEDARBURG STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 28-29.

Where: Washington Avenue, downtown Cedarburg.

Highlights: Summertime arrives in Cedarburg with this weekend of all things sweet and red. Savor the Cedar Creek Winery's Strawberry Blush wine and berry delights from strawberry pie and strawberry slush, to chocolate-covered strawberries and strawberry brats. Take a stroll down Washington Avenue, where Arts on the Avenue showcases the best local and Midwest artists, enjoy live music along the Cedar Creek, or let the kids loose in Cedar Creek Park at the petting zoo or inflatable bounce houses. It's a berry good weekend to be in Cedarburg.

Admission: Free

Information: 888-894-4001 or cedarburgfestivals.org

BASTILLE DAYS

When: 11 a.m.-midnight Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, July 10-13.

Where: Cathedral Square Park area, Milwaukee.

Highlights: Oui! Oui! Milwaukee's popular French-themed festival showcases street performers, roaming minstrels and a variety of entertainment along eight city blocks. Runners and walkers take to the streets at 9 p.m. July 10 for the annual BMO Harris Bank Storm the Bastille 5K run/walk, in memory of the 18th-century attack on the Bastille prison in Paris. Kids & Family Day is celebrated July 12 with kid-friendly activities and French lessons. Enjoy an international array of French and Cajun cuisine within sight of the signature Eiffel Tower replica.

Admission: Free

Information: 414-271-1416 or easttown.com

SOUTH SHORE FROLICS

When: 4-10 p.m. Friday, 1-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. July 11-13.

Where: South Shore Park, Bay View.

Highlights: The 65th annual South Shore Frolics returns with the Atomic Fireworks display at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and a smaller fireworks “burst” at 9:20 p.m. Sunday. Enjoy a fish fry Friday with musical entertainment by Tom Trisco, Band X and The Boogie Men. The South Shore Frolics Parade steps off at 11 a.m. Saturday on South Kinnickinnic Avenue. Evening entertainment by Cold Sweat & the Brew City Horns. Complete your weekend with a Sunday stroll to view the Frolics Car Show of classic beauties with musical entertainment throughout the day and night by Vitrolum Republic, Dick Satan Trio and Georgia Overdrive.

Admission: Free

Information: southshorefrolics.org

FESTA ITALIANA

When: 11:30 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday, July 18-20.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: “Live Italian” and celebrate Milwaukee's Italian heritage. You'll find a variety of Italian favorites from local restaurants and vendors on the grounds. Glorioso's Italian Market will be the festival's official Italian sausage provider. Check the Festa website for announcements of entertainment headliners.

Admission: $10 in advance, $13 at the gate; free for children ages 12 and younger with an adult admission.

Information: 414-223-2808 or festaitaliana.com

PORT WASHINGTON FISH DAY

When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, July 19.

Where: Harbor and Upper and Lower Lake Park areas, Port Washington.

Highlights: Fish Day is still cookin' as the largest one-day outdoor fish fry with five stages of entertainment, a classic car show, arts and crafts, a fun run/walk, and the annual Fish Day Parade through town. The festival concludes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. on the lakefront.

Admission: There is no charge to enter the Fish Day grounds. However, to enter the Main Stage area you will need a $5 Fish Day button. Available on the grounds.

Information: portfishday.com

GERMAN FEST

When: 3-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday, July 25-27.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: German Fest salutes our military, and you're invited to share the celebration with free admission from 3 p.m. to midnight Friday. Visit the many German Fest stages throughout the weekend and watch dance groups perform folk dances reflective of the many traditions in Germany. Returning this year are the Dachshund Derby, soccer tournament, Battle of the Mascots and the musical group Chikeria with both original songs and classic fan favorites. Check the German Fest website for the full entertainment schedule.

Admission: $10 in advance, $13 at the gate; $7 seniors ages 60 and older; children younger than 12 admitted free with an adult.

Information: germanfest.com

BRADY STREET FESTIVAL

When: 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, July 26.

Where: On Brady Street from Van Buren Street to Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee.

Highlights: Check out the Division BMX Stunt Team, the Casablanca Rumble Pro IV Wrestling Ring and three stages of musical entertainment, while enjoying a variety of refreshments and products by local cheesemakers and artisans all along a classic Milwaukee street.

Admission: Free

Information: bradystreet.org

WISCONSIN STATE FAIR

When: July 31-Aug. 10. Hours are 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10.

Where: State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis.

Highlights: West Allis is the place where rural and urban life meet in Wisconsin for 11 days with hundreds of animals and agriculture on display. Singer-songwriter Phil Vassar performs opening night of the fair with country artist Maggie Rose on the State Fair Main Stage presented by Potawatomi. Other musical headliners this year include Lady Antebellum, Aretha Franklin, MercyMe, Peter Frampton, Alabama and Zendaya. And with an additional 30 stages of free entertainment scattered throughout the grounds, there's something for everyone at the State Fair.

Admission: $10 adults; $7 seniors ages 60 and older; $6 ages 6-11; free for children ages 5 and younger.

Information: 800-884-3247 or wistatefair.com

WAUKESHA BLUESFEST

When: 1-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8-9.

Where: Naga-Waukee Park, Delafield.

Highlights: Canned Heat and Curtis Salgado headline this year's “American Music and Art Festival,” which features a variety of national, regional and local musical acts performing traditional and contemporary blues, R&B, gospel and roots music. A juried art show complements the event, with draft beer specials and a selection of food from popular local restaurants.

Admission: At the gate single-day pass $20; two-day pass $35; special rates available for groups and advance sales.

Information: 800-366-1961 or waukeshabluesfest.com

IRISH FEST

When: 5-10 p.m. Thursday, 4-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14-17.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: Irish Fest will celebrate bagpipes, ballads and more with eight of Scotland's contemporary folk bands as part of the Scottish Music Showcase. Enjoy traditional Irish music favorites, acclaimed contemporary groups and legendary folk balladeers, but Irish Fest also has plenty of family activities, sports and contests for all ages. Look for tug-o-war matches, the currach races, and learn about hurling, the Irish sport known as “The Fastest Game on Grass.”

Admission: $5 on Thursday only from 4-5:30 p.m.; $17 adults, $12 seniors ages 60 and older; free for children ages 12 and younger.

Information: 414-476-3378 or irishfest.com

MEXICAN FIESTA

When: Noon-midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-24.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: Celebrate three days of fun, food, mariachi and fiesta for everyone, and share in the history, art, music and authentic food of the Mexican/Hispanic community. View folk art by artisans from Mexico and merchandise from each individual state. A full list of entertainment will be available on the Mexican Fiesta website at a later date.

Admission: $13 in advance; $15 at the gate; children ages 8 and younger get in free with an adult.

Information: 414-383-7066 or mexicanfiesta.org

MILWAUKEE RALLY

When: Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 28-Sept. 1.

Where: Harley-Davidson dealer locations and the Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee.

Highlights: Billed as “The Midwest's Largest Free Motorcycle Rally,” this annual event features custom bike shows, vendor malls, musical entertainment, specialty rides, street parties and rally activities at various dealer locations. Check the Milwaukee Rally website for the complete list of weekend activities.

Admission: Variety of both free and ticketed events.

Information: milwaukeerally.com

INDIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL

When: 4 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5-7.

Where: Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee lakefront.

Highlights: 2014 is the Horse Nation Celebration educating children and adults about the role of horses in American Indian history and culture, including Woodland and Plains tribes. Walk through a wigwam or a longhouse and learn about traditional foods and medicines, or listen to storytellers share their rich oral traditions.

Admission: $10 in advance; $13 at the gate; $10 elders ages 60 and older; children ages 12 and younger get in free.

Information: 414-604-1000 or indiansummer.org



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