24 Top Midwest Events in July and August | Midwest Living

24 Top Midwest Events in July and August

See a giant tug-of-war, solve a subterranean murder, see Native American dancers or check one one of our other top events for July and August.


SHREW'D OAK BROOK July 11–August 19 Set in 1930s Chicago, this modern take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew features a jazzy score. Pack a picnic for the grassy lawn. firstfolio.org

Tug Fest PORT BYRON August 9–11 Port Byron squares off against LeClaire, Iowa, in literal tug-of-war battles with a 2,400-foot rope across the Mississippi. Friday fireworks and a carnival round out the weekend schedule. tugfest.org


Great Lakes Grand Prix MICHIGAN CITY August 2–5 Some of the world’s fastest boats zip past Washington Park Beach at nearly 150 mph. Spectators can get close to the watercraft during a parade and party. michigancitysuperboat.com

Indiana State Fair INDIANAPOLIS August 3–19 Watch some fine swine compete for best in show or say hi to the baby bunnies and ducklings. National bands like 38 Special will rock into the night. indianastatefair.com


Hinterland Music Festival ST. CHARLES August 3–4 In a lush, rural landscape, this aptly named festival features poppy folk music, camping and crafts vendors. The lineup includes Grammy-nominated Sturgill Simpson, Band of Horses and CHVRCHES. hinterlandiowa.com

Festival of the Arts AMANA August 11 At the Market Barn, browse handmade works made in a quaint colony of seven villages. Artists demonstrate wood turning, quilting, tinsmithing, basketmaking and painting. amanacolonies.com


Pickin’ on the Plains Bluegrass Festival COLBY July 20–22 The Gibson Brothers headline this year’s event at the Thomas County Fairgrounds. Bring your guitar for public jam sessions after the shows. pickinontheplains.com

Murder in the Mine HUTCHINSON August 18 Go 650 feet below the earth’s surface for dinner, a murder-mystery experience and after-hours museum access at Strataca Underground Salt Museum. underkansas.org


Saginaw Chippewa Annual Tribal Powwow MOUNT PLEASANT July 27–29 A ceremonial sacred fire burns the entire weekend. Attend the lighting and watch 400 Native American dancers and singers perform during the grand entry. sagchip.org

Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show HESSEL August 11 Shipwrights and woodworkers display restored boats dating back 100-plus years. This year’s selection includes watercraft produced by Detroit’s famed Horace E. Dodge Boat Works company. lciboatshow.com


Twin Cities Bacon and Beer Classic SAINT PAUL July 14 More than 100 craft brew samples and 30-plus creative bacon dishes join forces with music and giant lawn games at CHS Field. baconandbeerclassic.com

Kolacky Days MONTGOMERY July 27–29 A little town celebrates its big Czech heritage with a blend of old and new traditions. See authentic kroj costumes and taste test the bake-off’s best kolacky, a fruit-filled pastry. montgomerymn.org


Cowboy Up! SiKESTON August 4 During Rodeo Week, a meet-and-greet in Legion Park offers a rare glimpse at the life of rodeo clowns. Festivities include roping demos, a parade and a covered wagon ride. sikestondepotmuseum.com

Jour De Fete STE. GENEVIEVE August 11–12 The first European settlement in Missouri celebrates its roots with more than 250 arts and crafts booths, plus hands-on history exhibits. Visitors can tour homes built in the 1700s. saintegenevievejourdefete.com


Wayne Chicken Show WAYNE July 13–15 Wacky events and fowl play abound. Birds compete for best in show and humans go toe-to-toe in the National Cluck-Off Championship. chickenshow.com

My Ántonia RED CLOUD July 20–22 Willa Cather’s beloved novel hits the stage, with a young immigrant girl and orphaned boy who become friends and pioneers on the 19th-century prairie. willacather.org

North Dakota

North Dakota Ukrainian Festival BELFIELD July 20–21 The pierogies are endless. Eat up, then dance them off at the polka party, with live music and traditional performances by the Ukrainian Cultural Institute. ucitoday.org

Taste of West Fargo WEST FARGO August 2 More than a dozen eateries set up shop at the new downtown plaza for lunch. Last year’s spread included slices from Spicy Pie Pizza and hot pastries from Sandy’s Donuts. fargomoorhead.org


WesterFlora Garden Tour WESTERVILLE July 22 Bask in the beauty of private gardens bursting with color, live music and art. Each stop is selected based on design, creativity and plant diversity. westerflora.com

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors CLEVELAND July 7–September 30 At The Cleveland Museum of Art, step inside seven mirror-lined rooms crafted by renowned Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama. The funky, kaleidoscopic environments have made the show so popular critics have dubbed it the Hamilton of art exhibits. clevelandart.org

Photo Courtesy of David Zwirner

Photo Courtesy of David Zwirner

South Dakota

Cookin’ on Kampeska WATERTOWN July 20–21 Bring an appetite to Lake Kampeska, where grill masters vie for first place in the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned People’s Choice Competition. cookinonkampeska.com 

Dakotafest MITCHELL August 21–23 Last year’s ag expo drew 29,000 visitors, more than 500 exhibitors and even pig races to Schlaffman Farm. Expect product demos and the latest in farming tools and technology. dakotafest.com


Janesville Warbird Weekend JANESVILLE July 21–22 Dozens of vintage military aircraft visit Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport. Catch a flyover Saturday with 100 Beechcraft Bonanzas. jvl18.splashthat.com

Tour de Cheese MONROE August 11 Pedal your way through a 20- or 50-mile two-wheeled tour of Green County’s rolling hills, with rest stops at nearby cheese factories. bbbsgreencounty.org

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