Milwaukee summer festivals went virtual in 2020; in 2021, Milwaukee summer festivals appear to be taking a hybrid route. Some summer festivals have been canceled, some are still on (for now), and some are in a weird limbo state. Sigh. Anyway, here’s an updated list of summer festivals that are still on the books, officially off the books, and questionable.

SUMMER FESTIVALS THAT ARE STILL ON (FOR NOW)

UPAF Ride For The Arts
June 6, 13, 27 – various locations

Garlic-Infused Block Party
June 11 – Braise
“While our annual Garlic Fest has to wait until 2022, you can still get your garlic fix at our Garlic-Infused Block Party! All your garlic favorites: green-garlic bloodies, pork buns with garlic aioli, and more!”

Juneteenth
June 19 – Parade leaves from 14th and Atkinson at 9:30 a.m. and goes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Downer Classic bike race
June 24 – Cafe Hollander

Bay View Gallery Night
June 25 – various locations

Black Is Beautiful Vol. III bike ride
June 27 – Reservoir Park

Washington Park Wednesdays
“This year Washington Park Wheels returns to the neighborhoods for the month of July. Come August, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will return to the park with four Washington Park Wednesday performances on the historic bandshell stage! August may look a little bit different while we keep everyone safe, but it’ll sound like Summer.”

Fireworks!
July 5 – Alcott, Gordon, Humboldt, Jackson, Lake, Lincoln, Mitchell, Noyes, Washington, and Wilson parks

Bristol Renaissance Faire
Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day July 10-September 6 – Kenosha

Chill On The Hill
“We have been anxiously waiting for Chill On The Hill to make its return, and we are excited to present many of the local bands that we had previously booked for 2020,” said Patty Thompson, Executive Producer of Chill on the Hill. “Our neighbors need this kind of community connection more than ever, and this event provides the space and place to do that.” You can see who will be playing Chill On The Hill on Tuesday evenings between July 13 and September 14 HERE.

Milwaukee Armenian Fest
July 18 – St. John Armenian Church

MKE Food Truck Fest
July 24 – Henry Maier Festival Park

Milwaukee Seltzer Fest
July 25 – Boone & Crockett
Boone & Crockett will host the “Inaugural Milwaukee Seltzer Fest” on Sunday, July 25. From 1-5 p.m., the Harbor District bar’s sprawling parking lot will feature 15 vendors serving people a total of 30 different hard seltzer and hard kombucha varieties. Tickets cost $40 and include 30 seltzer samples. They’re on sale now. Those who buy tickets to this event can also add a $12 “Boone Box” 12-pack to bring home with them.

Lake Park’s “Musical Mondays” and “Wonderful Wednesdays”
“Musical Mondays” begin July 26, and take place on Lake Park’s Summer Stage (just south of the playground and tennis courts) from 6:30 – 8 p.m. The kid/family-geared “Wonderful Wednesdays” begin July 28. Those shows also take place on the Summer Stage, from 6:30 – 7 p.m. You can find the lineups for both summer series HERE.

Milwaukee Brewfest
July 31 – McKinley Park

Frida Fest
July 31-August 1 – Farmhouse Paint & Sip
Frida Fest, at Farmhouse Paint & Sip (4511 S. 6th St., 414-404-5858), will pay homage to the great Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whose surrealist and social justice-themed paintings have inspired artists throughout the decades. The festival will have food and drinks available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., as well as art installations from local artists. There will also be live music from local bands, playing both days. There will also be salsa dancing routines, as well as lessons.

Milwaukee Taco Fest
August 1 – Henry Maier Festival Park

Puerto Rican Family Festival
August 1 – Wilson Park
After taking 2020 off, Puerto Rican Family Festival will be back in an explosion of congas, trumpets, and the smell of carne frita and maduros wafting throughout Wilson Park on Sunday, August 1. (In the past, the festival has been held at Humboldt Park.)

Wisconsin State Fair
August 5-15 – Wisconsin State Fair Park
“We are happy to confirm there are WonderFair days ahead and are excited to safely gather to celebrate everything we are so proud of in Wisconsin. We look forward to making many exciting announcements in the weeks to come!”

Buskerfest
August 6-8 – Downtown Milwaukee
The event will feature more than 60 local musicians performing nearly 100 hours of live music August 6-8. The musicians will perform at various Sculpture Milwaukee sites throughout East Town, Westown, and the Historic Third Ward (the Apollo sign outside the Wisconsin Center, the “Shoreline Repast” sign at Catalano Square, etc.), as well as places like the Milwaukee Public Market and the Bronze Fonz. The event is part of Downtown Milwaukee’s Jumpst(ART) Downtown campaign.

Milwaukee Irish Fest
August 20-22 – Henry Maier Festival Park

Serbian Days
August 20-22 – St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral

The Bloody Mary Festival
August 21 – Fiserv Forum Plaza

Mexican Fiesta
August 27-29 – Henry Maier Festival Park

WMSE Backyard BBQ
August 28 – Humboldt Park
The 11th annual shindig will set up shop at Humboldt Park on Saturday, August 28, from noon to 8 p.m. What can you expect from the Backyard BBQ? Food, fun, and music, of course! And hey! This year’s all-local music lineup is topped by the great Abby Jeanne, who will be performing her first show since February 2020. Here’s the whole lineup.

World of Beer Festival
August 28 – The Bavarian Bierhaus

Milwaukee Fringe Festival
August 28 – Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Peck Pavilion

Summerfest
September 2-4, 9-11, 16-18 – Henry Maier Festival Park
“We could not be more excited to unveil the lineup for Summerfest and introduce a new festival format; more weekends and more headliners, promises to be a big hit among our fans. From first timers, including Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, and Run the Jewels, to Fest favorites including Dave Matthews Band, T-Pain, Styx, and Chris Stapleton, our lineup continues to be one of the most diverse and unique in the industry.”

Milwaukee Rally
September 2-6 – various locations

Wisconsin Highland Games
September 3-5 – Waukesha Expo Center
“After consultation with local government and health officials Wisconsin Scottish has decided to go forward with this year’s Wisconsin Highland Games (Sept 3-5th.) This year we will be honoring those Nurses, Doctors, Emts, and other first responders including frontline hospital and medical staff .who have borne a special burden during this unprecedented in modern times pandemic.

Fromm PetFest
September 25 – Henry Maier Festival Park

Milwaukee Comedy Festival
October 3-10 – various locations



SUMMER FESTIVALS THAT ARE CANCELED

Bastille Days
“Planning for Thursday night Jazz in the Park concerts and the Bastille Days Festival 2021 are currently on hold. The health and welfare of the community is our number one priority and we will do our part to keep the best interests of our attendees and vendors in mind.”

Brady Street Festival
“The Brady Street Business Improvement District announced today a new partnership with Scout Gallery owners, Jeff Redmon and Dana Redmon, to curate the return of its annual Art Walk event, coming this summer. The popular event will be held July 10, and will feature artists and musicians from the Milwaukee area, but will be staged with safety in mind due to COVID-19 concerns. In addition, Brady St BID announced its summertime event Sunday Fundays, also in partnership with Scout Gallery, will also return but the largest and most popular event, Brady Street Festival, will be cancelled for this year.”

Burnhearts/Pabst Fest
“Pabst Street will not be happening, but at least it looks like Burnhearts will be back in some capacity soon. And if enough people get their shots and do their part to stop the spread, we can pretty much bank on Mitten Fest coming back in early 2022.”

Center Street Daze
“The coordinators of Center Street Daze Festival made the difficult decision of canceling in 2021. The community’s health and safety are of utmost importance. We will miss you and look forward to a most robust 2022 on the street. In the meantime, there may be smaller events at specific venues. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more.”

Festa Italiana
“COVID-19 has impacted virtually every business and industry across the country. Around the world festivals, sporting events, conferences, and community celebrations have been cancelled, or postponed, due to lingering effects of this virus. Unfortunately, Festa Italiana in Milwaukee is among the festivals that will have to wait until next year. The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, vendors, members, and attendees is our highest priority. While we have confidence in the City and County of Milwaukee’s vaccine distribution plan, we thought it would be prudent to give our health officials a little more time to reach our broader community. The social impact of holding Festa Italiana is near and dear to our hearts and brings a stronger resilience to the Italian Community Center and the City of Milwaukee. The Italian Community Center would like to thank the many volunteers and attendees who make it possible to hold such a prestigious festival every year. Festa Italiana will return to its glory BIGGER and BETTER than ever in 2022.”

Fresh Coast Jazz Festival
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have again made the difficult decision to postpone the three-day Fresh Coast Jazz Festival due to Covid. Of course, the well-being of our fans, artists, sponsors, team and the community at large are of paramount importance and drove this difficult decision. Even though we are postponing the three-day festival, we know that lots of people are incredibly eager to get out and hear some live music. We will soon announce a smaller scale event for October 2021. Great, live jazz will be back very soon.”

German Fest
“It was not an easy decision to cancel for the second year in a row. Our Board of Directors took many scenarios into consideration. We deliberated for many months. Taking all factors into account, the decision to cancel was the best option to allow the vaccine distribution to take place and ensure the safety of our attendees and our many dedicated Volunteers at German Fest. Although vaccines are being distributed, and results have been promising, current timelines indicate that we could not plan and execute the festival in 2021. No one wants to cancel once, let alone twice, but we will continue to take the steps necessary to support public health. We will continue to plan so that when the pandemic has passed, German Fest will be ready.”

Hip-Hop Week MKE
“While I would love to bring forth the usual positive energy, music, information and resources that Hip-Hop Week MKE is now known for across the city, the state and the nation, the current state of affairs has made it nearly impossible to pull off in a meaningful way.”

July 3 lakefront fireworks
“Our team at Milwaukee County Parks is working tirelessly to ensure that people can safely enjoy parks, trails and amenities as much as possible this summer, but we are still stretched thin. Cancelling this event was a difficult decision that we’ve been discussing for months with everyone involved, and we also looked at the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, but it comes down to simply lacking the resources and staffing needed to prepare and clean-up from such a large-scale event.”

Locust Street Festival of Music & Art
“After careful consideration, the Locust Street Festival of Music & Art, and the event that kicks it off, the Riverwest Beer Run, have both been cancelled for 2021. Known as one of Milwaukee’s most popular, diverse, and longest-running street festivals, this was to be the event’s 45th year. This is the second consecutive year that Locust Street Festival has been cancelled. While the severity of the Covid-19 virus has been reduced in recent months, the Festival committee made the decision that it’s again best to cancel this year’s festival, than to risk the health and safety of its attendees, artisans, staff, and organizers. It was scheduled for Sunday, June 13th, 2021. With the cancellation, the Locust Street Festival and Riverwest Beer Run will next take place on Sunday, June 12, 2022.”

Milwaukee Air & Water Show
“The welcome sounds of thunder, and the spectacular military and civilian precision acrobatics over Milwaukee – will again be silent and unseen this summer. The 2021 Milwaukee Air & Water Show, scheduled for July 24-25 this year with the US Air Force Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, “America’s Ambassadors in Blue,” will not be held, due to several major factors affecting the event.”

Milwaukee BBQ Fest (formerly Big Gig BBQ)
“We want to make sure that our vendors, their staffs and you fine folks stay safe this year and do not feel we can produce this event to the capacity that we need to be successful. Please continue to support Milwaukee’s fine BBQ restaurants this year as they need your help and bellys! SEE YOU IN 2022!”

Milwaukee Highland Games
“We are very sad to let you know that Scottish Fest on June 5th, 2021 is canceled. We have made the decision based on the information we have regarding Covid and safety issues for our public. We have been informed, for example, that it would be unlikely that Pipe Bands would be attending, plus other health and safety considerations. We are heartbroken but want to assure that come hell or high water Scottish Fest June 4th 2022 will be held at Hart Park once again. We will be together again in fellowship and fun soon.”

Milwaukee WingFest
“As we do feel like we are very close to being able to produce events again it is hard to ask our wing vendors to work outside of their restaurants for a day. The focus needs to be on their businesses right now and that is why we are pushing this event to 2022 when more people are vaccinated and restaurants are fully staffed back up. So support them how you can. The restaurants are really struggling right now with staffing so please make sure to send them any cook, server, bartender leads so they can help produce your favorite wings! Also be patient with them as Wisconsin reopens. SEE YOU IN 2022 FOR ALL THE WINGS!”

Polish Fest
“After much consideration, we have made the difficult decision to not hold Polish Fest June 11 to 13. Planning was on track for this year; however, at present, COVID-19 is currently a part of everyone’s lives, we believe the best decision is to not hold Polish Fest this year so early in the summer to allow for more vaccinations to the broader community. Our Festival Committee and our Board of Directors reviewed many options. We believe this is the best decision for our attendees, volunteers, entertainers, and vendors…our entire extended ‘Polish Fest Community.'”

PrideFest
“As of now, we are not planning on an October event. We hoped to but we just don’t have a clear path to success and time is running out to do an event justice. 2022 it is.”

Strawberry Festival
“The Festivals of Cedarburg Board met Wednesday night and came to the difficult decision that, based upon current CDC guidelines and COVID trends, it was in the best interest of the public to cancel Strawberry Festival 2021. The Festival was scheduled for June 26-27. They discussed moving it to later date but decided that was not feasible. We are now focusing our efforts on Wine & Harvest Festival, September 18-19 at this point. Important to note: The Festival employees or Executive Director did not have a vote on cancelling this event. Please director your comments to the Festival Board.”

Summer Soulstice
“It is canceled for this year, as we did not have solid information or a certain understanding of the pandemic landscape when we would have had to plan it.”

Zoo a la Carte
“The staff looks forward to planning for the 2022 ‘Feast with the Beasts’ when the zoo can welcome back visitors, restaurant owners, and musical performers to the same well-known festival that so many have come to love as an annual tradition.”

Enderis Park Concerts On The Green
Though the series will have to wait until 2022, Enderis Park Neighborhood Association is going to bring the live music to the people with a pair of “Traveling Band” performances that will feature Milwaukee musicians performing mobile concerts throughout portions of the neighborhood. The MilBillies will be weaving through the eastern half of Enderis Park neighborhood on Thursday, July 22. De La Buena will perform for folks on the neighborhood’s western half on Thursday, August 5.

SUMMER FESTIVALS THAT ARE POSTPONED OR TBD

Brewtown Rumble
“As much as we’d love to have everyone together, an event of this size won’t be feasible for our normal summer date. We’re still hoping to do something later in the fall—and we’ll definitely keep all of you in the know.”

Crusherfest
From February 2: “We are planning Crusherfest for late summer / early fall of 2021.”

Jazz In The Park
“Check back for information on Jazz in the Park 2021.”

River Rhythms
“Westown Association has also made the decision to postpone the River Rhythms concert series held at Pere Marquette Park. Because Pere Marquette Park is Milwaukee County property, organizers would be required to enforce all Milwaukee County Parks and City of Milwaukee safety mandates including mask wearing, social distancing and capacity limits, making it difficult to produce the event at this time. However, Westown has started discussions with Milwaukee County Parks to develop a plan to safely hold the event later this summer in hopes that restrictions are relaxed.”

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