In a previous post, I highlighted 12 summer festivals happening in Madison this summer. But there are plenty of other annual events taking place throughout (and just outside of) Dane County — from celebrating American and Swiss independence days to carrying your spouse over a finish line.
Here are 16 festivals and fairs to consider adding to your summertime calendar:
July 2-4 @ Winnequah Park in Monona
This festival features renowned events you won’t find elsewhere in the area — including a hole-in-one contest, robot building and demos, a keg toss and the famous Wisconsin Wife Carrying Championship. Everything is capped off with a Fourth of July fireworks display beginning around 9:40 p.m.
July 4 @ Ripp Park in Waunakee, 2-10:30 p.m. + July 28-31 @ Centennial Park in Waunakee
Wauna have some fun in Waunakee? The WaunaBoom Independence Day celebration includes music, food carts, family activities and an F35 flyover by the 115th Fighter Wing. Then, a few weeks later, WaunaFest features a parade; an arts and crafts show; a car, truck and motorcycle show; a cornhole tournament; and a grass volleyball tournament, plus all of the usual festival offerings.
July 3-4 @ Fireman’s Park in DeForest
Cornhole and pickleball tournaments, a car show, a freedom run, a parade, a rock wall, inflatables and live music will lead up to one of the county’s best Fourth of July fireworks displays (which begins at dusk).
July 4-9 @ Stoughton Mandt Center
Intended to highlight the local agricultural community, the fair also includes a midway, live music, truck pulls, a dog show, bingo, and pizza- and pie-eating contests.
July 8 @ Agora Pavilion in Fitchburg
Focused on biking and running events — including a 25-mile ride, a police vs. fire challenge and a kids run — this festival also includes music, food, beer and fireworks.
July 15-16 @ Downtown Mount Horeb
With an emphasis on the village’s Norwegian culture, this event features artists and crafters from throughout the Midwest, as well as food, music and a silent auction. Don’t forget to visit Mount Horeb’s famous trolls while you’re there.
July 22-23 @ Westside Park in Cambridge
If you’re seeking something unlike virtually anything else in the Midwest, consider this “demonstration-heavy celebration of all things created with fire, heat and smoke — including but not limited to clay, metal arts, welding, forging, hot glass, food and performance.” Now that sounds hot!
August 5 @ National Mustard Museum in Middleton, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
This annual homage to what event organizers call “the King of Condiments” also will feature music and other entertainment (along with food that doesn’t necessarily require a side of mustard).
August 5 @ New Glarus Fire Department, Noon-8 p.m.
Fire truck rides, a fire safety house, water fights, food and beverages are all on the schedule at this family-friendly event designed to promote fire safety.
August 6 @ Wilhelm Tell Shooting Park in New Glarus, 1-3 p.m.
Celebrate Swiss Independence Day with a slate of traditional Swiss entertainment — including choral folklore music, yodeling, flag throwing, alphorn playing and accordions.
August 11-13 @ Riverside Park in Cambridge
The name says it all: Barbequed ribs/chicken and craft-brewed beer will be served. There also will be live entertainment and a Kids Fun Zone.
August 16-20 @ Angell Park in Sun Prairie
Considered one of the state’s best food festivals, this event attracts visitors from all over Wisconsin and even other states to celebrate the city’s agricultural roots. Carnival rides, live music, food vendors and beer will complement the corn. Beware: Steamed corn is only available on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19 and 20.
August 19 @ 5500 E. Cheryl Parkway in Fitchburg
Named after the Greek term for “gathering place,” this outdoor art fair celebrates 15 years in 2023 and features the work of local and regional artists in many mediums — from paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, glass and metalwork to outdoor and garden pieces, woodwork and sculpture.
August 18 @ Mandt Park in Stoughton, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
In 1880, Stoughton’s largely Norwegian population took daily coffee breaks on “Coffee Street” (now known as Hillside Avenue). Every August, the city keeps that tradition alive with this festival featuring a coffee brew-off, a car show, arts and crafts, pork roast meals, a beer garden and more.
August 25-26 @ Firemen’s Park in Middleton
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the event that put Middleton on the map and features a parade, a 5K run/walk, an art fair and more.
Who knows? Your ventures around Dane County might inspired you to relocate. In that case, I’m always here to help.
(Thanks to VisitMadison.com for pointing us in the right direction.)
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum (via Pexels)