The leaves are changing, apples are ripe for the picking, and just about everything is pumpkin spiced. It’s fall in Wisconsin, and it’s time to celebrate! Grab that cozy sweater you’ve been saving all summer, bundle up the family, and head out to one of these fantastic fall festivals near you.
Before it gets too chilly, head over to Sister Bay for Marina Fest! With a wooden boat show, Waterboard Warriors water ski show, music and entertainment by the beach, and fireworks over the water, Marina Fest is the end of summer fix you’ll need to get through the winter.
Wausau explodes with art the weekend after Labor Day each year. With Art in the Park, Birds in Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Festival of Arts at the Center for the Visual Arts in Downtown Wausau, and an easy, handicapped-accessible shuttle between the locations, this weekend truly is ARTrageous!
Wo-Zha-Wa is a Ho Chunk phrase that roughly translates to “let’s have some fun.” With activities scattered throughout downtown Wisconsin Dells and Bowman Park, Wo-Zha-Wa Days stay true to their name. Start the weekend off with some shopping at Maxwell Street Days, an arts and crafts fair, or an antique flea market, run in Wisconsin’s oldest long distance race Sunday, and finish off with a 100-unit parade Sunday afternoon. With concessions and carnival rides available all day, every day, there’s never a dull or hungry moment at Wo-Zha Wa Days!
This is the 45th year of Cedarburg’s Wine and Harvest Festival, and it gets better and better every time. With award-winning wines, arts and crafts, a 5K Color Blaze Fun Run, and Ashley’s Candyland for Kids, the festival has a little something for everyone. There’s plenty of food options as well, from gyros to a cranberry turkey wrap that tastes like all the best parts of fall bundled up in a warm tortilla. The festival is free for the whole family, so you’re free to indulge in delicious snacks, crafts and, most importantly, wine!
You won’t believe how many delicious creations cranberries can turn into. From cranberry meatballs to chocolate covered cranberry cheesecake, Warren’s Cranberry Festival has it all. Step into the cranberry capitol of Wisconsin as its population swells to 400 times its normal size. You might even see familiar faces from the famous Ocean Spray commercials while you’re there!
The Gays Mills Apple Festival is absolutely packed with activities from 7 a.m. on Saturday to 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Start each day off with a pancake breakfast, and then head over to a book sale, flea market, music stage, kiddie carnival, or horseshoe tournament. A fun run Saturday gets the whole family moving, with options from a five-mile run, to a non-competitive two-mile walk, and a quarter-mile run for the kids. The Apple Festival Parade is the perfect end to a delicious weekend.
The Craft Beer Festival at Blue Harbor Resort is a true Wisconsin dream. The day kicks off at 11:30 with a VIP beer seminar and culinary pairings, followed by the Grand Tasting to the tune of live, local music and entertainment. The resort offers overnight accommodations and VIP packages, opening the festival to Wisconsinites far and wide. Admission to the festival is free for the designated driver in the group as well, so you can make it a safe, responsible day trip if you so choose.
“Appleton’s Largest Block Party” is split into the Family Fun Arena with magicians, music, and plenty of family friendly comedy, the Arts Section, and License to Cruise on College Avenue featuring over 400 classic cars. No matter where you are at this classic fall festival, you can expect a constant stream of delicious food and live music from dawn ‘till dusk.
This festival is a great way to energetically greet fall with the whole family. Get active with races on bike, foot, or (my personal favorite) on a bed, or relax with a beer and wine tasting at the Mayville Golf Club. This year’s festival will come to a close with the 30th annual Audubon Days parade, followed by a market, live music, and a massive rubber duck race.
The St. Croix Falls Autumnfest is all about colors changing, leaves falling, and really appreciating the all-too-fleeting beauty that is Autumn in Wisconsin. The festival hosts an art fair, live music, delicious food and plenty of activities for kids, all of which are designed to awaken your creativity surrounded by the diverse beauty of the St. Croix River Valley.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate the fall?
Click the image above for a printable Fall Festival Calendar. For more events across Wisconsin, head over to Discover Wisconsin’s Event Calendar.
Mara Benowitz is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. She’s originally from Uptown Minneapolis and just got back from a semester in France. She’s excited to be back exploring Wisconsin in her senior year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @Discover WI | Instagram: @discoverwisconsin)
don't forget us artists! several of the events you review have art/craft shows -- some of them very large -- but you don't mention them. (yes, some you do, but some you have omitted. and i know they exist because i've been IN them!) the art shows sometimes really help bring folks to the festivals; artists pay big bucks for their booth space; and they depend heavily on sales for their income. ...just putting in a plug for us "starving artists" ! by the way, that blue harbor building is VERY beautiful. where is it?.
What about Beef-er-a-ma in Minocqua and the Cranberry Fest in Eagle River(serving the world's largest cranberry cheesecake to help finance Make-A-Wish Foundation)?
oh, yes, both fun events (and yes, i've been in the art/craft shows they include). there's nothing sillier that a parade of beef roasts coming down route 51 after they closed traffic on that road for it!
My favorite is Octoberfest in Elkhorn
Don't forget Laura Ingalls Wilder Day's in Pepin, Wisconsin.
Love all the Wisconsin festivals I have ever been fortunate enough to attend. Germanfest was wonderful. Your festivals have fab food.
If I ever get a chance, an Octoberfest and Cran Fest are on MY list.
DW does a super job of covering such events and other attractions in the Badger State. Try to watch it every weekend. Thanks for continuing tradition. Love your state and your people. After all, I married one.☺
Upcoming Price County events include the 24th Annual Phillips Fall Harvest Festival on September 23, 2017. Also in Phillips on September 23rd, the Friends of Fred Smith will host a Celebration of Arts in Action at the Wisconsin Concrete Park. On September 30, 2017 the 58th Annual Christmas Tree Festival will be held in Ogema (home to Wisconsin's highest geographical point Timm's Hill) and in Park Falls the 1st Annual Colors of Fall Festival will be held. The fall colors should be beautiful both weekends! Historically, peak color in Price County is around October 1st.