by Jaclyn Willems
If you are still in the celebratory mood after Polka Days, then come to more festivals around
Wisconsin. Some of the many coming up are Festa Italiana, Plein Air Festival, German Fest,
Taste of Wisconsin and Burger Fest.
Festa Italiana is July 22 to 24 at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee. This festival
celebrates Italian traditions from the past, present and into the future, while sharing the Italian
culture with the community. This festival has fun activities for everyone with gondola rides, a
parade and fireworks. Other exciting features are bocce, the children’s stage with more family
friendly activities, futsal, “Italian Idol” singing competition and the Festa Italiana Mass. Each
night of the Festa ends with a bang of Italian-style Bartolotta fireworks.
The Plein Air Festival is the largest outdoor painting festival in the Midwest, and it is July 24-30
in Fish Creek, Door County. The proceeds earned from this event maintain free community
programs. During this event, artists are outside painting for everyone to watch and see. This
upcoming festival will have 40 painters from both local and out of the state artists. Each day of
this festival has a different feature like a tea and artist talk, a lecture with Billy O'Donnell, a kids
paint and a dockside quick paint session where artists can paint in a competition to become a
featured artist for the next year. The Plein Air Festival comes from the French phrase “en plein
air” which describes it rightly as “in the open air”.
German Fest takes place at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park from July 29 to the 31. This is
Milwaukee’s start to Oktoberfest. This event has German food and drinks, activities for all ages
and live music — like glockenspiel performances. This year at German Fest, the 11 th -annual
Dachshund Derby Race is being held. This is where dachshunds compete in a derby race and a
costume contest. Another entertaining event is the fifth-annual Battle of the Mascots, which
entails popular mascots facing each other in a soccer game, and after the game, the mascots
also take photos with their fans. There are also two parades — the Children's Fairy Tale parade
and the German Fest Parade. Additionally, the festival includes a German Heritage Walking
Tour, traditional dance performances, a sports area and a Mardi Gras show. Compared to the
large amount of activities available, it is surprising that there are just as many options of
German food to try like Bienenstich, Goulasch, Kassler, Rippchen and Spanferkel.
The Taste of Wisconsin festival is July 29-31 in Kenosha. This event is a celebration of
everything tasty and savory in Wisconsin. More than 40 vendors will sell a wide range of foods,
including cheese curds, funnel cakes, tacos, cheese steak, ice cream and everything in
between. Chef demonstrations are also available to show how to make different meals. Besides
all the food, music can be heard at any time on various stages featuring more than 80 musicians
and artists. There are also activities for kids to enjoy, and the Kenosha Police Department is
demonstrating the use of canines in law enforcement.
Burger Fest is Aug. 12 and 13 in Seymour. Plenty of fun activities are planned in downtown
Seymour like the World's Largest Hamburger Parade, the Bun Run, the kids' run, music, games
for kids, a burger-eating contest and a giant ketchup slide. This year in the parade, Pulaski’s
Red Raider Marching Band will join in and march, too. A car show, railroad depot and
community museum are also open to see during the festival. In a separate section of the festival
at the Rock Ledge School and Park, there is a hot air balloon field that holds balloon ascensions
and balloon glow shows.
In Wisconsin, there seems to be a festival for everything, so mark your calendar for a summer to