Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, most of Milwaukee's summer festivals have been canceled for this year. We will miss the opportunity to celebrate with you, but please use this guide to plan your festival fun for 2021!
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Here is a list of festivals to explore in 2021 that celebrate Milwaukee’s diverse ethnic heritage and culture with food, dance, traditional crafts, cultural history and more!
Whether or not you’re of Polish descent, you’re sure to enjoy the music, dance, historical exhibits, and delectable Polish cuisine at one of America’s largest Polish-themed festivals. Don’t miss the Annual Chopin Youth Piano Competition, which has been a family favorite for years and showcases the talents of young and gifted pianists.
Milwaukee Highland Games
Discover all the fun of Scottish culture each year at the Milwaukee Highland Games in Wauwatosa’s Hart Park, where you’ll experience a world of kilts, pipe and drum bands, Highland dancing, Scottish food, the parade of the tartans, as well as traditional “heavy” events like shot putt and hammer throw.
Milwaukeeans are all proud Francophiles each year at this free festival in downtown’s Cathedral Square Park. One of the nation’s largest French-themed fests celebrates with French cuisine, live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demonstrations, roaming busker entertainment, and the annual “Storm the Bastille” 5K run/walk.
Back on the lakefront, America’s premier Italian cultural event brings Italian charm and romance to Milwaukee. Browse the cultural exhibits, challenge friends and family to a game of bocce ball, savor the delicious cuisine, or be a part of the colorful religious procession following Sunday Mass. Every night offers explosive fun for all with a dazzling Italian-style fireworks show.
Grab a stein, put on your finest lederhosen and cool off with your favorite brew at North America’s largest annually held German festival. Indulge in unforgettable German cuisine, marvel as craftsmen demonstrate old world artistry, enjoy a colorful brass band, or stroll through the Marktplatz for unique German gifts. You won’t want to miss the Dachshund Derby, the genealogy area or the Glockenspiel.
Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival
This Chinese cultural festival features local dragon boat teams competing along the lakefront, along with Asian cuisine, music and dance performances, and hands-on opportunities to make opera masks, lanterns, and other Chinese crafts.
African American culture, art, and history merge together at the weeklong celebration of Milwaukee’s historic Bronzeville District during Bronzeville Week. Don’t miss the Bronzeville Cultural and Arts Festival, where you’ll find food vendors, booths 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.
The world’s largest Irish cultural festival brings the Emerald Isle to Milwaukee’s lakefront through cultural exhibits, theater, and craft demonstrations. Listen to traditional Irish music, admire the Irish dancers jigging to heart-pounding beats, or enjoy the roaming performers dressed in traditional costumes. Shop at one of the two marketplaces to take a piece of Ireland home with you.
Spice things up at Mexican Fiesta, an authentic, south-of-the-border experience, featuruing mouth-watering food, rousing mariachi bands, foot stomping rhythms, and an elaborate swirl of traditional dancers. Walk through the cultural pavilion and learn about the history and traditions of Mexican and Latin cultures from ancient civilizations to the present.
Hunting Moon Pow Wow
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and the Wisconsin Center welcome Native American tribal groups to the Hunting Moon Pow Wow, a celebration of culture and traditions, involving dance, drum, and singing competitions. Above all, it is an opportunity to socialize and strengthen the bonds between Native people.
Holiday Folk Fair International
Explore the world of music, food, dance and arts from all around the world at this annual gathering of more than 50 ethnic groups at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The Holiday Folk Fair fair features a world café and International Bazaar with hundreds of items made by skilled artisans from distant lands.
Experience a traditional German outdoor Christmas market in the plaza outside Fiserv Forum. Christkindlmarket combines German traditions with goods from vendors from around the world.