Host to winter carnivals and food festivals alike, Wisconsin has a thriving event calendar 12 months a year. Here are just five of the many celebrations your group can visit as it tours the state.
Over 200,000 square feet of exhibition space outside of Milwaukee welcomes groups to one of the largest state fairs in America. Presenting the best produce, livestock and baked goods the Dairy State has to offer, the Wisconsin State Fair allows visitors to talk with local farmers and learn how to make the same jam and syrup as blue ribbon winners. Cheer on the contestants in tractor pulls, pig races and arm-wrestling tournaments, and be sure to catch a performance by country and rock and roll stars. An extensive midway with carnival games and thrill rides is open for the fair’s entire two August weeks, and group discounts are available for large parties.
Home to ethnic communities from dozens of nations and the state’s largest city, Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s cosmopolitan center. Annual festivals include Irish Fest, Polish Fest and Festa Italiana, but Milwaukee’s largest and most-acclaimed ethnic festival is July’s German Fest. The largest German heritage celebration in North America, it covers 75 expansive acres with performance stages, beer gardens and food stands. A not-to-be-missed local favorite is the Dachshund Derby and Photo Contest, where local wiener dogs test their speed and fashion sense against their fellow canines.
For more holiday festivities, travel two hours north to Sheboygan for Making Spirits Bright. This festival, which runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, takes visitors through the winding trails of Evergreen Park to admire thousands of lights festooning trees, with shapes from gingerbread houses to the Eiffel Tower. Additional activities include a visit from Santa Claus, Christmas carols sung by local choirs and hot cocoa to accompany your tour of the grounds.