12 Big Events in Northeast Wisconsin to Help You Squeeze Every Drop of Fun out of Summer

EAA Airventure Air Show

Photo Courtesy: DeKevin Thornton

The air was a bit cooler this weekend, reminding us that the summer won’t last forever.

It’s almost August. Back to school stuff is all over the stores. Before you know it – leaves will start falling from the trees and Christmas decorations will be going up.

But let’s try not to think about that just yet. There’s plenty of summer left to enjoy.

Here are a dozen different things to do in Northeast Wisconsin while the weather is still warm. So mark your calendars!

1. AirVenture EAA – Oshkosh, July 29 – August 4th


Jetman coming to AirVenture 2013

Every summer the control tower at Wittman Regional Airport becomes the busiest in the world as aviation enthusiasts flock to America’s biggest fly-in.

The week-long AirVenture at the EAA in Oshkosh includes airplanes from the past and the future. There are spectacular air shows, food, music and more. This year the band Chicago will be returning to perform on opening night. Families can catch a special screening of the new Disney film Planes (a follow up to the popular Cars series).

You can also watch demonstrations from a flying car and marvel at the incredible Jetman flying through the sky.

Celebrities who love airplanes have also been known to make appearances. That includes Harrison Ford and this year Gary Sinise (CSI New York, Forrest Gump) will be performing with the Lieutenant Dan Band on August 2nd.

2. Taste on Broadway – Green Bay, August  1st

Taste on Broadway

Courtesy: Jana Turner

Broadway in Green Bay really comes to life during the summer. Besides the weekly farmer’s market, one of the biggest events is Taste on Broadway.

You’ll get to sample some of the best and most unique restaurants in the Green Bay area while catching live music from local bands. There will be local beer from places like Titletown Brewery and Hinterland.

The food goes far beyond burgers and beer brats (although you can find those too). How about a bacon-crusted caramel apple from Syrah Restaurant, some sushi rolls from Phin or Red Velvet cake bites from Republic Chophouse?

When you attend you can purchase tokens or tickets, which you then use to purchase food and drinks at the event. It’s easy to spend quite a bit, but you’ll have a ton of fun sampling everything. This is a great way to test out area restaurants before you actually decide to visit.

3. Fox 11 Packers Family Night, Green Bay – August 3rd

Fox 11 Packers Family Night

Packers Family Night – Courtesy: Karen Reed Wood Eckberg

There’s a lot of excitement around the upcoming Green Bay Packers season. But isn’t that always the case?

It all starts with the unique tradition of Family Night – when the Packers play themselves. Only Packers fans would pack Lambeau Field to watch the team practice, right?

The truth is – this is a really fun event that has much more than football. It’s the perfect chance for folks without season tickets to experience Lambeau, and a great example of how the Packers and their fans really are like family.

The fireworks show at the end of the night is especially cool. Colorful explosions go off all around the stadium as the music blares creating quite the spectacle. But the loudest it gets during Family Night is when all the kids sing along to the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song.

Now, let’s just hope Packers Family Night doesn’t get called off because of rain!

4. Feast With the Beasts at the NEW Zoo – Suamico, August 5th

Feast with the Beasts NEW Zoo

Courtesy: NEW Zoo

No, you do not get to eat the albino alligator. It’s Feast With the Beasts – not on them.

But there will be some interesting cuisine around the grounds of the NEW Zoo. This is an event similar to Taste on Broadway where you can sample food from a wide variety of local restaurants, stores and distributors until you fill up your belly.

However, in this case you purchase tickets ($30 in advance $35 at the door) and then eat as much as you want.

Plus, you can hang with all the animals as they chow down too. Watch the snow monkeys eat the bugs they pick off each other, or even stop by and feed the giraffe!

Some of the participating restaurants include Big Tomatoes, Caliente, Hagemeister Park, La Java and Zesty’s Frozen Custard. But there are many more.

5. Mile of Music Festival – Appleton, August 8th – 11th

Cory Chisel, Mile of Music founder

Cory Chisel, Mile of Music founder

2013 marks the first year for this exciting music fest, and we really hope it continues. Mile of Music is folk-rock musician and Appleton native Cory Chisel’s gift to his hometown.

Chisel has really made a name for himself in the independent music scene. In the process, he’s made a lot of friends and connections. That has enabled him to take the lead on this impressive project.

More than 100 bands are coming to perform at 30 different venues along College Avenue.  There will be local favorites like Greg Waters & the Broadstreet Boogie, some of the biggest acts in the state like Field Report and Phox as well as a great variety of indie artists from all over – including Justin Townes Earl,  Caroline Smith and Rodney Crowell.

Of course, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons will also put on a headline performance.

Chisel wants Mile of Music to be similar to the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. It would really be amazing to have something like this take off in the Fox Valley. So we encourage you to be part of it.

There are plenty of free shows, but you’ll need tickets to the headlining and featured acts. The best deal might be the $99 VIP Pass, which gets you into anything that’s not at capacity.

  • Find out more about Mile of Music and see the complete list of artists

6. Hamburger Fest – Seymour, August 9th & 10th

Hamburger Festival in Seymour

Seymour Burger Festival

From a music festival to a food festival…

Every summer, the community of Seymour celebrates its claim to the title of Home of the Hamburger.

This event kicks off with an impressive hot air balloon rally on Friday. The vibrant, glowing balloons light up the sky at dusk. (Balloons also ascend on Saturday and Sunday)

Saturday is all about burgers. Hang out with Hamburger Charlie, eat a chunk of the giant cheeseburger, and take a ride on the ketchup-covered slip and slide. There’s also a parade, car show, live music, the Bun Run and of course – a burger eating contest.

This year’s festival theme is “A Quarter Century of Quarter-Pound Burgers.” Admission for BurgerFest is just $3 in advance and $5 at the gate. From photos on the Home of the Hamburger Facebook page – it looks like comedian Larry the Cable Guy has stopped by in the past.

7. Tall Ships Festival – Green Bay, August 16th-18th

Flagship Niagara

Flagship Niagara

Green Bay is one of only six cities in the nation selected to host this unique event. Seeing these ships up-close is a pretty amazing experience.

The little kid inside you will want to pretend to be a pirate or Christopher Columbus.

You can take tours and rides on these majestic vessels, including the Flagship Niagara battleship shown here. It played an important role in the War of 1812 – helping to seize control of Lake Erie and take Detroit back from the British. The Niagara was rebuilt in 1988.

There will be eight other tall ships to check out at Leicht Park. Plus, you’ll also find plenty of other family fun where kids can dig for buried treasure and create art projects. The Maritime Market will host a wide variety of vendors, and there will be  live music at night.

8. Artstreet – Green Bay, August 23rd – 25th

Artstreet Downtown Green Bay

Artstreet Downtown Green Bay

Artists from your own community and all over the country will come to Green Bay to show you what they’ve created.

There will be around 200 different visual artists and artisans selling their work at Artstreet in the city’s downtown.

You’ll see original painting and pottery, unique fashion items and more. From quirky and whimsical to stunningly beautiful – you’ll find it all at Artstreet.

In addition to visual art, performance art will be celebrated with dancers and musical performances on three different stages, and there will be authors doing book signings too. You can also catch art demonstrations and bring the kids to a special area where they can create their own art.

9. Dog Dayz Afternoon – Neenah, August 24th

dog dayz afternoon car show

Dog Dayz Afternoon. Courtesy: Eric Reischl

For some people – machines are works of art. That’s what the classic car and motorcycle show Dog Dayz Afternoon is all about.

Check out the vintage bikes and pre-1969 hot rods, or bring your own to Memorial Park in Neenah and show it off! This is the third year for this charity event, which is supporting YouthGo in 2013.

Besides all the metal and chrome – there will be good music too. Including performances from Hollis Brown and John the Conqueror.

10. Kites Over Lake Michigan – Two Rivers, Aug. 31 & Sept. 1st

Kites Over Lake Michigan

Kites Over Lake Michigan

This Labor Day weekend tradition on the lakeshore is a cool way to say so long to the summer months.

Now in its eight year, Kites Over Lake Michigan has grown into one of the largest kite festivals in the Midwest.

You can see high-flying stunt kites, and gigantic show kites during the day. Then catch a fireworks show and the release of sky lanterns after the sun goes down. This year they are trying to break a record for he number of sky lanterns being released. You can even buy one of your own at the festival and be part of it all.

There’s also free kite-making for kids and kite flying classes for newbies.

Take note that a lot of the events for this festival are dependent on the wind, so there’s no strict schedule. Organizers say they operate on “kite time.”

11. Taste of Downtown Golf Outing – Appleton, September 6th

downtown appleton golf outingLike to golf? Like to eat? Try out this event at Reid Municipal Golf Course in Appleton. It might be one of your last chances to hit the links before the sand traps become snow traps.

Appleton Downtown Inc. calls the outing a fun networking event. You don’t have to be a great golfer to play. It’s a scramble, so golfers of all skill levels will enjoy themselves. There’s even mini-golf for folks who just want to putt around.

$80 gets you 18 holes with a cart. Plus, you get to eat lunch right on the course. Food and drink will be provided by Flannagan’s Wine Review, The Bar on the Avenue, Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse and others.

12. Octoberfest in Appleton – September 27th and 28th

Appleton's Octoberfest

Appleton’s Octoberfest

Yes, we’ve now officially ventured into the fall season, but Appleton’s Octoberfest (without the “k”) is really the last bash of the summer festival season.

They even hold it just before we turn the calendar to October to make sure it’s not too chilly at night, although there’s a good chance it will be sweatshirt weather by then.

The fest kicks off with the License to Cruise car show where more than 400 classic and custom vehicles will be on display along College Avenue.

There will also be five different music stages with hot local acts and food from 100 different vendors representing area non-profits.

Top it off with arts and crafts up for sale and a Family Fun area where kids can enjoy carnival games and rides, face painting, balloons and more!

What Else is Happening This Summer?

These are some of the bigger events going on in Northeast Wisconsin over the next couple of months. But we know there’s a lot of other stuff to do.

The farmer’s markets in Appleton and Green Bay will be going strong into autumn. And if you ever need ideas for places to visit, check out our article and infographic on 10 Things Worth the 30-minute Drive Between Green Bay and Appleton.

What events did we miss? Leave us a comment below and tell us about it!

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