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5 Big Milwaukee Festivals Happening This Year

Courtesy of Summerfest
Summerfest at Henry Maier Festival Park.

Summer in Milwaukee is synonymous with festival season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on pause last year. Now as things are starting to return to normal, we’re beginning to have more opportunities to get together as a city and celebrate our community.

Not everything is returning this year and some festivals have been pushed to a different date. Matt Mueller is a culture editor and writer for OnMilwaukee and he shares some of the big festivals that will be returning to Milwaukee.

1. Summerfest
Milwaukee's (and indeed, the world's) biggest music festival will be happening, but things will be a bit different. Summerfest has been pushed to the fall season and instead of being 11 (mostly) consecutive days, the festival will be spread out over a few weekends. This year, Summerfest will be September 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18. But while the schedule will be different, the festival will still feature a wide array of musicians, including Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Chris Stapleton and many other big musicians.

2. Wisconsin State Fair
The Wisconsin State Fair was one festival that tried to do something during the pandemic, with a drive-thru line for creampuffs and other fair foods. This year, things are back to relative normal, although it's unclear if there will be capacity limits. The fair will be held August 5-15.

3. Irish Fest
Of the many heritage festivals in Milwaukee, Irish Fest is among the most prominent. It claims to be the largest Irish culture festival in the world and it's the largest, annual heritage festival celebrated at Henry Maier Festival Park. More than 130,000 people attend each year. Unlike some festivals, Irish Fest hasn't adjusted its schedule and will again be the third weekend in August (August 19-21).

4. Mexican Fiesta
The week after Irish Fest, Mexican Fiesta will return to Henry Maier Festival Park. August 27-29, Mexican Fiesta will bring a variety of performers to the lakefront, and its cultural pavilion will feature handmade crafts, genealogy exhibits and other historical exhibits.

5. NEWaukee Night Market
The night market has become a monthly, summer tradition in Milwaukee, but things will be different this year. There will be just one Night Market this summer on Wednesday, August 18. As always, the event will be held on Wisconsin Avenue, but a lot has changed in the area over the past year. With the newly completed home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the former Warner Grand Theatre and the 3rd Street Marketplace finishing up construction, the Night Market will be an opportunity for Milwaukeeans to check out the new and improved Wisconsin Avenue.

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.
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