21 Fun Things to Do in April 2018 | Midwest Living

21 Fun Things to Do in April 2018

Spring sunshine welcomes the 2018 festival season. Drown pancakes in maple syrup in Wakarusa, take on a "mega bar crawl" at the Deadwood Craft Beer Festival, and celebrate Dyngus Day in Cleveland.


Underground Railroad Shuttle Tour ALTON April 28 This two-hour guided tour dives deep into the history of how the Mississippi River provided transportation and assistance for escaped slaves prior to and during the Civil War. The tour visits several Underground Railroad sites. visitalton.com/shuttle


Upland’s Sour Wild Funk Fest INDIANAPOLIS April 7 This festival hosted by Upland Brewing focuses on tart, funky and lambic-style craft beers. Sample 150 varieties from breweries such as Mikkeller, Firestone Walker and Cascade at the Mavris Arts and Event Center. uplandsourfest.com

Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival WAKARUSA April 27–29 Magic shows and camel rides spice up a packed weekend that includes maple syrup making at the Wakarusa Historic Museum, plus a pancake breakfast. wakarusamaplesyrupfestival.com


Mission Creek Festival IOWA CITY April 3–8 National acts such as Built to Spill and Jamila Woods bring the music, while literary readings, stand-up comedy, and a comics and zine fair draw crowds to venues across the city. missioncreekfestival.com


Wichita Jazz Festival WICHITA April 2–8 Since 1972, this festival has highlighted homegrown Kansas musicians alongside some of the nation’s top talent. Legendary alums include Stan Kenton, Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie. wichitajazzfestival.com 

Cider Hill Family Orchard Apple Blossom Festival KANSAS CITY April 14–15 Hay rides, barbecue and all varieties of apple-based treats (cider-flavored slushes and doughnuts) mark this celebration of renewal, held against a backdrop of puffy apple blossoms in the hills of northeast Kansas. ciderhillfamilyorchard.com

The 25th Annual Kansas Storytelling Festival DOWNS April 27–28 A tall-tale competition is the centerpiece of this two-day festival. Activities throughout the weekend engage the entire small town in one of humanity’s greatest traditions. kansasstorytelling.com


The Moth Mainstage TRAVERSE CITY April 20 The explosively popular event heads to the City Opera House, where amateur and seasoned storytellers share funny, touching and illuminating personal tales. You can preview the event via podcast and The Moth Radio Hour, a Peabody Award-winning show presented by the Public Radio Exchange. cityoperahouse.org


Celebration 2018 at Paisley Park CHANHASSEN April 19–22 Prince fans and music historians have four days to immerse themselves in the world of the Purple One. Tour Paisley Park (and its massive collection of Prince memorabilia), engage in panel discussions and attend a live concert in the former estate of the pop sensation. offcialpaisleypark.com

Celebration at Paisley Park

Celebration at Paisley Park. Courtesy of Paisley Park Studios


50th Annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival CHARLESTON April 19–22 Walk, bike or ride through 6 miles of dogwoods and azaleas at peak bloom in the rolling hills of southern Missouri. Also on tap for the weekend: a parade, crafts fair, home tours and candlelight walk with performers along the trail. charlestonmo.org/festival

Flights of Fancy Mega Kite Festival LEE’S SUMMIT April 21 Over 35,000 kite enthusiasts attended last year’s free festival, filling the sky with uttering color. Amateurs are welcome to participate, but it’s also fun to relax with a picnic and watch the pros maneuver stunt, power and mega kites on the lawn of the MCC-Longview campus. kitefest.mcckc.edu


Junkstock WATERLOO April 6–8 Held on a massive, 116-year-old horse farm, Junkstock draws hundreds of antiques and vintage sellers. Food and drink vendors offer fuel for reclaimed treasure hunting. junkstock.com

Junkstock. Courtesy of Junkstock.

Courtesy of Junkstock

Nebraska Science Festival STATEWIDE April 19–28 With just as much to offer adults as children, the Nebraska Science Festival engages tens of thousands of attendees at sites in Omaha, Lincoln and smaller cities. Interactive exhibits, experiments, lectures and even public marches promote science. nescifest.com

North Dakota

Maple Sugaring Day at Fort Stevenson State Park GARRISON April 14 Rangers lead demonstrations in tapping box elder trees (a type of maple) and boiling sap to make syrup. Attendees can enjoy a complimentary pancake breakfast—with no lack of syrup. parkrec.nd.gov

Woodlands and High Plains Powwow FARGO April 14 Several area tribes gather for this display of traditional dance and music in eastern North Dakota. The event will offer a variety of handcrafted art and fry-bread tacos. Woodlands and High Plains Powwow Facebook event page

Woodlands and High Plains Powwow. Fargo, North Dakota.

Woodlands and High Plains Powwow, courtesy of Skyler Zak


Cleveland Dyngus Day CLEVELAND April 2 Dyngus Day (or Wet Monday) is a Polish holiday that signals the end of the 40-day fast and the arrival of Easter. Expect a parade, polkas, pierogies, sausages and beer. clevelanddyngus.com

Dyngus Day

Courtesy of Dyngus Day Cleveland

Pike County Dogwood Festival PIKETON April 26–29 This festival celebrates many jewels of Appalachia, including those beautiful spring dogwoods. Enjoy live music, quilt and woodworking shows, and fixin’s such as apple butter and cornbread. pikecountydogwoodfestival.com

South Dakota

Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series SIOUX FALLS April 6–8 The best bull riders in the world head to the Denny Sanford Premier Center for this explosive series that pairs them with some of the biggest, toughest bulls in the country. Some of the animals weigh nearly a ton. dennysanfordpremiercenter.com

Deadwood Craft Beer Festival DEADWOOD April 20 Thirty-plus bars and restaurants partake in this mega bar crawl. For $20, attendees get an open-container cup and two samples of beer at each location. The designated area is walkable, and proceeds benefit a community revitalization fund. deadwoodcraftbeerfest.com


Taste of Scotland KOHLER April 6–7 Spend two days immersed in the food, drink and culture of the Scots: whisky tastings, bagpiping and an extravagant four-course dinner prepared by resort chef Dan Dries. americanclubresort.com

Dairy State Cheese and Beer Festival KENOSHA April 21 At The Brat Stop, dozens of varieties of cheese and brews (cider, too) headline this fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha. The annual event has raised more than $300,000 for the organization in the past decade. kenoshabeerfest.com


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