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Everything-fest: Milwaukee’s festival season provides plenty of fun, food

summerfest

The SkyGlide ride above the Summerfest grounds provides a nice view of the festivities and Milwaukee’s skyline. (Photo by Kirsten Klahn)

Brew City lights up during the summer.

The Milwaukee area transforms into a non-stop circulation of festivals that attract people from all over, providing endless weekends of great entertainment. The best part is many of the festivals are family friendly and make for a great outing for you and your kids. Ready to see what the Milwaukee area has to offer? Check out this list of festivals your entire family can enjoy.

Summerfest

The world’s largest music festival has something for everyone. Running from June 25 to 29 and July 1 to 6 at Maier Festival Park, attendees can expect an abundance of food, music and activities. General admission is $18; weekday admission Tuesday through Friday, prior to 4 p.m., is $11; and $6 for seniors age 60 and up, as well as children ages 3 to 10.

It’s definitely worth spending some time at Northwestern Mutual’s Children’s Theater & Playzone, where there are performances from magicians, dance groups, jugglers and puppets, in addition to a large playground area. The Kohl’s Captivation Station, which runs from noon to 7 p.m. every day, offers educational, fun art and music experiences for the kids, including a Kohl’s Design It! Mobile Lab, where kids can create unique projects. Summerfest’s newest attraction, a giant ferris wheel, is sure to win your kids over.

Bastille Days

From July 10 to 13 at Cathedral Square Park, your family can experience all that France has to offer (for free!). The French-themed festival runs from 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

What can you expect? Great street performers and fun entertainment scattered throughout the eight city blocks Bastille Days takes over. There’s live music, an international marketplace, along with chef and wine demos and delicious French and Cajun cuisine. Mark July 12 in your calendar — it’s kids and family day, which includes a kids day breakfast and fun and family-friendly activities.

South Shore Frolics

From July 11 to 13 at Bay View’s South Shore Park, you and your family can enjoy music, games, food and fun. The free festival runs from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

You’ll want to check out the festival’s parade, which starts at 11 a.m., along with the free kids games that run from 4 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Festa Italiana

Help celebrate Milwaukee’s Italian heritage from July 18 to 20 at Maier Festival Park. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Admission prices are $10 in advance, $13 at the gate, and it’s free for children 12 and under with an adult admission.

While at the festival you can enjoy traditional Italian music, along with contemporary hits, and enjoy the delicious assortment of Italian food available. The children’s stage provides daily kid-friendly entertainment, and the entire family can enjoy the beautiful Bartolotta fireworks every night at 10:30 p.m.

German Fest

Enjoy the best of everything German while at German Fest Milwaukee, which runs July 25 to 27 at Maier Festival Park. On Friday, the festival runs from 3 p.m. to midnight, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 in advance, $13 at the gate, $7 for seniors 60 and older, and children under 12 are admitted free with an adult.

Each day is packed with family friendly activities, including the Discovery World Kohl’s Design It! Lab workshop, daily soccer clinics and, of course, fireworks.

Wisconsin State Fair

Consider this festival to be one giant playground for your kids. It runs from July 31 to Aug. 10 at the State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis, and is open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Aug. 10.

Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 60 and up; $6 for kids ages six to 11, and free for children five and under. Expect tons of rides, great food, music and free entertainment scattered throughout the grounds.

Irish Fest

(Photo courtesy of summerfest.com)

(Photo courtesy of summerfest.com)

Running from Aug. 14 to 17 at Maier Festival Park, Irish Fest features great Irish music and fun activities for guests of all ages. It runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday, and 11 .m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 on Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and up, and kids 12 and under are free.

So what is there to do? Enjoy some miniature golf in the children’s area, watch the daily parade, or spend some time at the children’s area, participating in kid’s book readings, dance lessons, puppet shows and other fun demonstrations. You should also stop by the leprechaun village, where your little ones can search for gold and even join a special “Leprechaun Kids Club” for fun prizes.

Mexican Fiesta

Partake in great fun and delicious food from Aug. 22 to 24 at Maier Festival Park. The event runs from noon to midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and costs $13 in advance, $15 at the gate, and kids 8 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. The entire family can learn more about the Mexican/Hispanic community’s history, culture, art, food and music.

Indian Summer Festival

End summer with some fun by visiting the Indian Summer Festival from Sept. 5 to 7 at Maier Festival Park. The event runs from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The event costs $10 in advance, $13 at the gate, $10 for those who are 60 and older, and kids 12 and under are free.

Once there, you can see nationally known American-Indian entertainers and performers. There’s also a spectacular fireworks display Saturday night, in addition to Indian ponies. This year also features the Horse Nation Celebration, which educates kids and adults about the role horses played in American Indian history and culture. Listen to storytellers, eat and learn about American Indian foods, or walk through a wigwam – there’s certainly plenty to do.

About Kirsten Yovino

Kirsten Yovino is a Milwaukee-area resident and co-owner of brewcityparent.com.

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