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Metro Milwaukee’s Weekend Festivals Guide, July 15-18

The storms have moved out of Southeast Wisconsin just in time for yet another weekend stuffed with fun outdoor festivals! Whether you’re celebrating Italian or German heritage, chowing down fresh, fried fish or grooving along to bluesy tunes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this weekend. Check out this weekend’s festival guide:

Thursday-Sunday

Festa Italiana (Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee) 

Festa Italiana is not only the oldest ethnic lakefront festival in the region, but is also the largest Italian cultural event in America. And with its fantastic entertainment, delicious food and, of course, festive fireworks, it’s no surprise it’s one of Milwaukee’s most popular festivals of the summer.

There’s a steady lineup of musical, dance and comedy acts at this year’s Festa, but a few of the highlights are world-renowned jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, performing Friday night, Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons Sunday night, and the watermelon-crushing prop comic Gallagher, also performing Friday. You’ll need to buy special-admission tickets to see Botti and Vallie from Ticketmaster, but the price also includes admission to the festival.

This year, Festa is more family-friendly than ever, offering plenty of kids entertainment options from gigantic, beautiful sand sculptures, thrilling (and free!) amusement rides and even kids portions from many of the food vendors. There’s also a children’s parade, complete with fun floats, jugglers, clowns, dancers and more!

One of the most popular traditions is the Sunday Mass, held at 11am, followed by a large procession throughout the festival grounds. Anyone who attends mass Sunday morning will gain free admission to the festival that day.

Admission is $9 in advance and $12 at the gate. If you’d like more information about Festa Italiana, visit their web site here.

Saturday – Sunday

German Festival (Cedar Creek Park, Cedarburg)

The historic City of Cedarburg invites everyone to attend two days of festivities that celebrate the German Heritage of this small town. Numerous German music and dance groups will perform for everyone’s entertainment, and delicious German cuisine will be served. Games for all ages have been planned throughout the day, including: Beer Bucket Races, Sauerkraut Eating Contest, German Spelling Bee, Best Female and Male Attire, and a World-Class Outhouse Racing Contest. A large-scale sheepshead tournament will take place in the shelter behind the bandshell on Sunday, starting at 1 pm.

Saturday

Fish Day (Lakefront, Port Washington) 

“The World’s Largest Outdoor One-Day Fish Fry” is a huge attraction to picturesque Port Washington. Indeed, you’ll find many of varieties of fried fish to munch on, but that’s not the only star of the show. The festival kicks off with an 8k run/2-mile walk at 8am, and the festival grounds open at 10am. A huge parade winds through the city, ending at the grounds. You won’t want to miss the classic car show, running all day, the arts and crafts show, water fights and fireworks, which begin at 9:30pm. While there are a handful of music stages at Fish Day, including genres from blues to country, the headliners are the Spin Doctors, who take the main stage at 8pm. Admission is free. Click here for more information.

SUNDAY

Garfield Avenue Blues, Gospel & Arts Festival  (Garfield Ave, Milwaukee)

This unique festival provides family entertainment by inner city blues bands, exciting dance groups and gospel choirs. Savory barbeque and a Louisiana Boil, as well as other ethnic foods will quell your appetite, while children will love clowns, magicians, puppets and face painting.

Did we miss one of your favorite festivals? Let us know in the comments section!

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