By Molly Nugent
Marketing & Communications Intern
Milwaukee is a melting pot of different heritages and cultures, and we love to embrace and celebrate all of them here in our beloved “City of Festivals.” No matter where you’re from, you’ll have a blast exploring the city’s different ethnic backgrounds at many of our upcoming festivals. Clear your schedules for some amazing cultural festivals where there’s bound to be amazing food, live music from around the world and hey, you might learn something new!
Culture, art and history merge together at Bronzeville Week, a weeklong celebration of Milwaukee’s Bronzeville District. In the early 1900s, Bronzeville was an economic and social hub where African-American culture, music, food and art were celebrated. The future of Bronzeville District looks bright, with redevelopment plans in full swing, to bring back the unique and fun atmosphere it once had. To celebrate Bronzeville’s past, present and future, join us August 6-13 on North Avenue and 7th Street. To kick things off on August 6, don’t miss the Bronzeville Cultural and Arts Festival, where you’ll find food vendors, booths of local organizations selling African-inspired clothing and jewelry, live music and much more. The rest of the week is chock-full of events to promote local businesses and residents like a neighborhood cleanup, a networking mixer, a bike ride, a softball game and many more exciting things to do.
Enjoy a free day of culture, food, music and more at IndiaFest at Humboldt Park on August 20. Here you can gaze at colorful, traditional Indian dress and dancing while you listen to music from classical to contemporary. At IndiaFest, you can’t forget the food! Treat yourself to many different kinds of traditional food from spices to curries. This is your chance to experience a “mini India,” right in the heart of Milwaukee, so make sure to check out this unique opportunity.
From August 26 through the 28, join in on three days full of fun food, Mariachi and Fiesta at the Mexican Fiesta on the lakefront. Learn about Mexican art and culture at the cultural pavilion, where more than 100 members will display an extraordinary array of pieces, along with workshops. Put on your dancing shoes at the salsa dancing contest, check out the hottest cars and motorcycles at the Hot Wheelz contest or for a more unorthodox contest, enter the sizzling hot jalapeno eating contest! After that excitement, learn more about who you are and where you came from at a genealogy exhibit. Everyone is invited to the Mexican Fiesta to embrace the beauty of Mexico’s rich history, art, music and food!
Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival
Check out one of the most exciting ways to experience Asian culture at the Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival at Veterans Park on July 30. Vibrant colored, traditional boats will fill the lagoon, as you and about 20 other people will work as a team to cross the finish line first. After the competition, there will be hands-on opportunities to make opera masks and lanterns, participate in a dragon parade or even learn how to speak and write Chinese. Along with that, enjoy this beautiful day on the water with many cultural performances and local Asian Cuisine.
Indian Summer Festival
On September 9 through the 11 make sure to check out the Indian Summer Festival at Henry Maier Festival Park. The mission of Indian Summer Inc. is to educate, preserve and promote American Indian cultures; showcase the diversity that exists within tribal cultures and provide economic opportunities and strengthen communication and understanding. The “Circle of Art” is a perfect way to soak up the rich history and culture of American Indian cultures. Feast your eyes on anything from sculptures to flutes to traditional artifacts, all of which are for sale for you to bring home. On Saturday, the Indian Summer Music Awards will be held, with many Native American musicians preforming beautiful and diverse music from hip hop to traditional Native American drums. The Indian Summer Festival is the perfect chance to have a great time, learn something new and immerse yourself in a new culture.
Holiday Folk Fair International
Explore the world of music, food, dance and arts from all around the world at the Holiday Folk Fair International. From November 18 to the 20, more than 50 ethnic groups are represented from Egyptian to Danish. Come on an empty stomach, because this festival has a world café with so many options you may have a hard time choosing. Crepes from France? Schnitzel Sandwich from Germany? But what about a gyro from Greece? Try them all! After your stomach is full, head over to the International Bazaar to shop through hundreds of items made by skilled artisans from distant lands. Discover different cultures’ unique customs by directly interacting with them through exhibits at Heritage Lane. Get your cardio in at the Around the World 5K Run/Walk, which benefits the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County.