9 Outdoor Events in the Midwest this Summer
We’re right around the corner from Midwest outdoor festival season! In our opinion here at Sandhill Coffee, it’s one of the best times of the year. Summer festivals are one of our favorite ways to catch up with locals and new friends alike.
It’s a time we get to meet up with our local community, hang out on the streets in warm summer weather, and soak up the sun with a drink and food in hand.
To get some of the most important (and best) summer festivals on your schedule before it fills up, we’ve put together a list of our favorite street fairs, art festivals, live music performances, and events – with local breweries, musicians, food vendors, and artists at each.
Check out this roundup of 10 outdoor events in the Midwest you can’t miss this summer:
South Loop in Chicago, IL – Saturday, June 24 – Sunday, June 25
Hit up some of Chicago’s best and most popular food trucks all in one place: Chicago’s South Loop. Come support Chicago’s small businesses and entrepreneurs behind the wheel. From soul food and Chicago classics to cultural eats and delectable desserts – you (and your stomach) won’t want to miss out on this special gathering of Chicago’s finest food truck cuisine.
Chicago, IL – Friday, July 7 - Sunday, July 9
Price: $10 suggested fest donation
The smell of sizzling burgers and the sound of taps pouring echo throughout the Roscoe Village neighborhood for this annual celebration of beer, burgers, and beats. Come listen to music and fill your stomach with some amazing food at this popular neighborhood street festival in early July. A handful of Chicago’s top burger restaurants will fight for the best burger award all weekend long, as festival goers have the opportunity to vote for Chicago’s Best Burger at the event.
Chicago, IL – Saturday, July 22 - Sunday, July 23
Go garden gazing at this unique street fair in the Sheffield neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. Take a self-guided tour of more than 100 neighborhood gardens or buy tickets for a guided tour – led by local master gardeners and landscape experts – of some of the most beautiful home gardens in the city. This festival features beer, art, and local vendors, and all proceeds from the fest provide support for neighborhood schools, organizations, and community projects in and around Sheffield.
Marquette, WI – Saturday, June 10 – Sunday, June 11
Head up to small-town Wisconsin to check out a local music, arts, and food festival in the heart of Yahara Place Park. Now celebrating its 34th year, you’ll enjoy local and touring musicians on the edge of Puckaway Lake near downtown Marquette, Wisconsin. The Marquette Waterfront Festival features a mix of vendors from local businesses, goods for sale by local makers and artisans, nearby restaurants, as well as craft beer and wine tents.
New Glarus, WI – Saturday, June 25
Want to sip beer and soak in some authentic blues music? Us too. We highly recommend checking out Blues, Brews and Food Truck Festival in New Glarus, Wisconsin. This annual festival benefiting the New Glarus Chamber of Commerce features local breweries and flavors from local food trucks. Sit back and relax while you listen to music, just don’t forget your chair – you’ll want to hang out at the music festival in comfort.
Madison, WI – Saturday, August 4 – Sunday, August 5
Price: 2-Day Pass ($50), Friday only ($30), Saturday only ($40)
From bluegrass and cajun to old-time Americana, the Sugar Maple Festival lines up some local and traveling musicians from all over the U.S. to show off their skills on stage. Come dance at this two-day, family-friendly festival exploring American roots music, musician-led workshops, and fun jam sessions.
Alpena, MI – Friday, July 14 – Sunday, July 23
Love fishing? You won’t want to miss the longest-running fishing tournament in the Great Lakes region. First held in 1975, the Brown Trout Festival is still going strong. It’s located on Thunder Bay in Alpena, Michigan – one of the most beautiful and promising Trout fishing locations in “The Mitten.” Sign up for the 10-day tournament to show off your skills as you fish for Brown Trout, Walleye, Steelhead, Salmon, and Lake Trout. The festival will award daily prizes for the largest fish and host a tournament-long leaderboard for big prizes.
Grand Haven, MI – Friday, July 28 – Sunday, August 6
Honoring the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard, this downtown Grand Haven street festival brings together families, friends, and the community to celebrate the history of the US Coast Guard. Grand Haven, also known as “Coast Guard City, USA”, shows off what it’s all about at this water-focused, downtown street festival. Watch boats pull into the Grand Haven Marina, stroll through downtown to support local businesses, enjoy music at the main stage, and experience what Michigan summer’s all about, especially when you’re lakeside.
Muskegon, MI – Saturday, August 26
Price: $60 general admission
Ditch your flip flops at Michigan’s only barefoot beer festival on the beach. Enjoy views on the lakeshore along with 70+ breweries from all around the Great Lakes and music from local artists on Pere Marquette Beach. And camping lovers can even pitch a tent nearby. Keep an eye out on the Burning Foot Beer Fest Facebook page for updates on event timing, participating breweries, and music lineups.