2017 Milwaukee summer festivals guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on July 16, 2017 at 11:01 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
The Milwaukee summer festival season is right around the corner, and it's time to start planning out your fun. But with seemingly a festival or live music event every weekend, it can be overwhelming to try and keep track of all the terrific options headed your way. Luckily, the OnMilwaukee summer festivals guide is here to help.
Here's what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer.
Now get out there and have some Milwaukee summer fun!
Bay View Art in the Park
Venture to Bay View every second Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Art in the Park. This monthly outdoor arts festival was created to celebrate local artists and help create connections to their community, featuring work from over 50 rotating artisans throughout Milwaukee. Enjoy the beauty of the park, delicious food and live music at Bay View Art in the Park!
Jazz in the Park
Cathedral Square Park
June 1-Aug. 31
Every Thursday happy hour starts at 5 p.m. and music kicks off at 6 and runs until 9. Drinks will be available throughout various tents at the festival, however it is asked that there are no carry-ins. While jazz may get top billing in the title, the lineup for the weekly summer concert event – newly sponsored this year by Educators Credit Union – offers plenty of tuneful variety from across genres and across the globe, from funk to R&B, local favorites (Extra Crispy Brass Band, Streetlife) to a nine-piece group from Barcelona (Alma Afrobeat Ensemble).
Chill on the Hill
June 6-Aug. 29
Hosted as always at Humboldt Park, Chill on the Hill will welcome over 20 bands over the course of 12 weeks, as well as local food vendors – last year's list included Bay View eateries like Hue, Tenuta's and more – and community partners. And if that's not enough chilling on the hill for you, this year's edition also features two movie screenings, "The LEGO Batman Movie" and the Oscar-winning "La La Land."
Pere Marquette Park
June 14-Aug. 30
Westown is the place to be on Wednesday nights this summer! River Rhythms is a free, outdoor summer concert event which hosts some of the finest local talent Milwaukee has to offer – this year including Chicken Wire Empire, De La Buena, King Solomon and more.
NEWaukee Night Markets
June 14, July 12, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13
Wisconsin Ave. between 2nd and 4th Streets
NEWaukee's Night Market is a collision of all Milwaukee has to offer. The Night Market is a free, open-air market that offers a wide variety of experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages. The Night Market features a mash up of art, craft and food vendors, live art creation, local music and a beer garden!
Bristol Renaissance Faire
July 8-Sept. 4
Grab your corset or your homemade chainmail armor; the Bristol Renaissance Faire is set to make its annual return. Open rain or shine, every Saturday, Sunday and on Labor Day, the Bristol Faire takes visitors for a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., complete with 16th-century arts, crafts, games, rides, food, music and one-of-a-kind encounters with a colorful cast of characters from the era.
Cathedral Square Park
Bienvenu a Bastille Days! Come visit Paris via Cathedral Square Park and celebrate the 36th anniversary of one of the country's biggest French-themed celebrations, with impromptu street performers, roaming minstrels, musical entertainment and tasty French delicacies. Have your camera handy, because there will also be a replica 43-foot Eiffel Tower in the center of all the fun.
South Shore Frolics
South Shore Park
The 68th annual South Shore Frolics, originally known as the South Shore Water Frolic, is all about community – and if you live in Bay View, you'll be even more glad you call the neighborhood home after checking out this longtime favorite.
Henry Maier Festival Park
As one of Milwaukee's oldest ethnic festivals, Festa Italiana continues to build on rich traditions from the past to represent our city's Italian community in the present and future. Enjoy jazz music, a parade, children's activities and fireworks each night – and show off your competitive side as you cheer on the players in futsal tournament and nearby flag throwers. And also be sure to check out this year's headlining acts, including the Gin Blossoms, the BoDeans and Sal "The Voice" Valentinetti.
Cathedral Square Park
The Milwaukee Firkin Beer Fest is here to educate and help you celebrate! This celebration of MKE's past, present and future of beer will feature samples of over 150 brews and more than 40 firkins on site. What is a firkin, you ask? It's a small, wooden barrel filled with about nine gallons of God-given brews. You're welcome.
St. John the Baptist Armenian Orthodox Church, 7825 W. Layton Ave
Armenian food takes center stage at this festival, and the offerings resemble Greek and other Eastern Mediterranean cuisines, but with different spices and seasonings. The menu will include chicken and beef kebob, cheese and spinach burek, lamajoun (a pizza-like meat dish served on thin tortilla-like dough), hummus (a dip made of chickpeas), tabouleh (a green salad without lettuce), choreg (breadsticks), vegetarian and meat sarma (stuffed grape leaves) and a mouthwatering array of baklava and other traditional pastries.
American Family Insurance Amphitheater
Come release your inner hardcore punk persona and jam out to your favorite metal, pop punk, and artists across all sorts of genres at this annual one-day music festival overload. This year's lineup includes, CKY, Hawthorne Heights, American Authors, GWAR as well as countless other groups.
Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W. 20th Ave.
Every year, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh earns its distinction as "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration." The members of the EAA make this annual event one of the world's most impressive showcases of attractions, representing innovation, history, technological advancement and current and future trends in aviation.
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