Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin and is home to almost 300,000 people. The city dates back to the 1800s and has seen plenty of change and modernization since then. Moving around town is done mainly by buses and private vehicles, though there are trains that go to Milwaukee and Chicago. There are many nice places to visit, including Wisconsin Capitol, Madison Museum, and the lakeshores. During the summer months, the city prides itself on having some of the most anticipated musical events. As a result, we’ve listed just for you some of the most popular festivals in Madison, Wisconsin!
1. Harvest Moon Festival
Harvest Moon Festival is an annual celebration of the natural world, hosted by Lussier Family Heritage Center. Visitors can view all the beautiful grounds and animals that live in the area, including a red-tail hawk and cranes. A large feast with plenty of food is also part of the program. The proceeds from the event go to environmental causes and rehabilitation programs. You are encouraged to visit the next one, so you can see what the hype is all about.
Harvest Moon Festival
Address: 3101 Lake Farm Rd, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Harvest Moon Festival
Takes place: October
2. La Fete de Marquette
Fete de Marquette, or simply Fete, is one of the biggest summer festivals in Wisconsin. It is a French-themed music festival that began in 2006, with plenty of tunes from local artists, and lasts for four days. There are many attractions that pop up during the festival, to make sure you can enjoy the music. Ferris wheels, tattoo shops, and some parlor games are some of the highlights you can visit. Food and beer are also plenty, so you won’t go hungry all day. Don’t forget to get some souvenirs and memorabilia after, so you can remember this fun event.
Fete de Marquette
Address: 202 S Ingersoll St, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Fete de Marquette
Takes place: July
3. Dane County Fair
Dane County Fair is a large festival held at Alliant Energy Center in the south part of town. It has been held for over 150 years now, dating back to 1851. Free concerts, food, and games are present for you to savor the liveliness of Madison during the summer. Rides and amusement games are also present, so you can feel a bit of the carnival. And you don’t have to worry about your kids ever being out of place here as the event is family-friendly. Remember to buy some gifts if you can—souvenir shops will gladly offer you some good ones to take home.
Dane County Fair
Address: 3310 Latham Dr, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Dane County Fair
Takes place: July
Price: 20 USD
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4. Make Music Madison
Make Music Madison is a music festival held during the summer, in tandem with other music fests around the world to mark Make Music Day. This is a musical celebration marking the summer solstice, the day with the longest amount of sunlight. The celebrations are done all over the city, across many venues, from parks to concert halls. Even restaurants and coffee shops will have some performances to mark the music fest. You can even play and perform at the festival if you want to, so others can enjoy your tunes. Because of Make Music, June 21 will always be the most musical day of the year here in Madison.
Make Music Madison
Address: Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Make Music Madison
Takes place: June
5. Willy Street Fair
Willy Street Fair is a long-running weekend fair where locals gather to have a good time and meet new people. A part of Williamson Street is closed to cars for the weekend, and the shops fully open their doors to all the visitors enjoying the festivities. Many local musical acts perform on the big stage, and a parade of costumes will also be present. Be sure to pass by all the shops and booths, as some stores will have some sweet deals you can take advantage of. The money raised from this event goes to Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. The fair is the last held during the summer and is a great way to end the season.
Willy Street Fair
Address: Williamson St, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Willy Street Fair
Takes place: September
6. Art Fair on the Square
Art Fair on the Square is one of the most popular art events in Wisconsin and is visited by almost 200,000 people a year. The Capitol grounds turn into an art museum for the entire weekend. A long list of artists highlight the richness of the festival, showing off very different forms and styles of art. Modern, Renaissance, sculptures, photos—pretty much any art can be seen here. You can buy some of the pieces to take home if you fancy them. There are also food stalls you can buy from if you get hungry. You’ll have a colorful time here, in this world filled with art.
Art Fair on the Square
Address: Capitol Square, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Art Fair on the Square
Takes place: July
7. Orton Park Festival
Orton Park Festival is one of the country’s longest-running outdoor music events, marking its 55th year in 2020. Located right in the heart of Madison, the festival is highlighted by four days of festival fun. The event is filled with great music and a large set of great vendors, from local restaurants and businesses. There are also kids’ games, an elegant Jazz Brunch, a rather quirky auction, and magical aerial trapeze performances under one of the park’s great oaks. This festival is one of the biggest around, so be sure not to miss it when you visit Madison.
Orton Park Festival
Address: 1200 Spaight St, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Orton Park Festival
Takes place: August
8. Yum Yum Fest
Get ready for the tastiest festival on this side of Madison! Yum Yum Fest is an annual food fest that showcases the best of Madison’s cuisine. Held on Breese Stevens Field, local chefs and restaurants prepare their signature dishes for everyone to try. The food is easily the highlight of the festival—burgers, noodles, ice cream, and steaks are just the tip of the culinary iceberg. There are also performances by trapeze artists and music bands to help create a festive atmosphere. Yum Yum Fest is a food lover’s dream—and the most delicious summer day in town.
Yum Yum Fest
Address: 917 E Mifflin St, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Yum Yum Fest
Takes place: August
Price: 10.5 USD
9. Waterfront Festival
Waterfront Festival is Marquette’s way of welcoming the summer season with a splash, being the first event of the loaded summer festival season. Held at the lakeside Yahara Park, the festival hosts plenty of land and water-based activities, including the Dandelion Dash kids’ race. Music fills the park and lightens everyone’s spirits. Eat all the great food the neighborhood has prepared, and be sure not to forget all the drinks Wisconsin can offer you. You’ll surely enjoy the start of the summer season at Waterfront Festival.
Address: Yahara Place Park 2025 Yahara Pl, Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Waterfront Festival
Takes place: Usually held in June
AtwoodFest is a local music festival held on Atwood Avenue. For two days, a stretch of the avenue is closed for the festivities. Shops can get the road all to themselves to display their delicious food. The music selection is rich in local talent, playing different tunes like rock, classic, and country music in classic Americana flair. The food and booze are plentiful here and are affordable, so you can down a good lot of it. Your weekend will be rich here at Atwood, getting only the best the place has to offer.
Address: 2000-2100 Atwood Ave, Madison, Wisconsin
Takes place: July
Madison—a music central
Music festivals are the highlight of the summer season here in town, with plenty of food and drink to spare—traditions held since the last century. You are encouraged to visit and attend any of these great festivals to see for yourself the colorful side of Madison, Wisconsin.
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