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Wisconsin serves up food festivals with an extra side of fun

MADISON, Wis. (May 14, 2015) Home to hundreds of festivals – ranging from small-town local to the biggest and best in the world – Wisconsin’s distinct foodie appeal runs deeper than just a love of cheese and beer. Whether you’re looking for farm-to-fork freshness or a new spin on signature specialties that only Wisconsinites can lay claim to, these festivals will serve a wide range of taste buds. Just be sure to come with a big appetite.



Three of Wisconsin’s favorite things will be celebrated at the annual Beer, Bacon & Cheese festival (June 13) held in downtown New Glarus. This town already knows a thing or two about beer, with New Glarus Brewing Company’s infamous Spotted Cow brew. You’ll find more than just craft beer though; get your fill with beer cheese soup, bacon pie and a variety of meats and cheeses. The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival (June 26-28) honors local dairy farmers while satisfying your cheese cravings. Given it’s held in the self-proclaimed “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin,” you know this festival is going to be filled with good squeaky fun.



Sample more than 100 craft brews from big names like Lagunitas to newer breweries to the game like Door County Brewing Company at the Door County Beer Festival (June 20). Now in its fourth year, the festival recognizes all styles and makes of craft beer, with an emphasis on brews from Wisconsin breweries. Pour another glass at the brand new Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival (Oct. 23-24) this fall, which promises to be the premier beer-tasting and beer-teaching event in the Great Lakes region. Beer beginners and experts alike are invited to taste and learn at this event, held at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. That same weekend, the 15th annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience (Oct. 22-25) features celebrity chefs, wine experts, and epicurean enthusiasts from around the world for dynamic culinary seminars and tastings sure to boost your culinary skills and wine pallet.


Wisconsin is famous for its brats, so it makes sense that it would be home to the World’s Largest Brat Fest (May 22-25). Held in Madison each Memorial Day weekend, this family-friendly festival started with one grill in a parking lot 33 years ago and has transformed into a four-day festival packed with activities, including Brattyball and three stages of live music. Plus, all proceeds go to more than 100 local charities at this volunteer-run event. Next on the menu is Port Washington Fish Day (July 18), also known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor One-Day Fish Fry.” Wisconsin fish fries are a must-experience, delicious tradition, and Port Fish Day has been serving this classic since 1964. Seymour Burger Fest (Aug. 7-9), held in the official “Home of the Hamburger,” honors the one-and-only hamburger inventor Charles Nagreen with a three-day celebration of one of our nation’s favorite entrées. Lastly, Beef-A-Rama (Sept. 25-26) in Minocqua is way more than beef. Yes, guests can enjoy delicious beef sandwiches and partake in the best beef competition, but they are also welcome to a variety of beef-themed activities like the parade of roasts, cow pie plop and Rump Roast Run.



Still hungry? Check out the Morel Mushroom Festival (May 16-17). This two-day fest is dedicated to mushrooms in all varieties: fried, grilled, mushrooms brats and even a Morel Microbrew beer. If one of your favorite parts of summer is corn on the cob, the Sweet Corn Festival (Aug. 20-23) in Sun Prairie is for you. Each year, more than 75 tons of sweet corn is served to 100,000 hungry people. Wisconsin knows cranberries aren’t just for the holidays. The World’s Largest Cranberry Festival (Sept. 25-27) takes over the town of Warrens every year and showcases Wisconsin’s state fruit. Embark on a cranberry marsh tour, sample cranberry treats and even participate in the cranberry pie eating contest.



We haven’t forgotten the best part of any meal – dessert! Head to Burlington for ChocolateFest (May 22-25). In addition to sweet samplings (free chocolate chip cookies daily!), chocolate eating contests, chocolate sculptures and baking workshops are sure to keep you busy. This year’s highlight is a chocolate-themed cook-off based on the Food Network’s show “Chopped.” Next, Rhubarb Days (June 5-7) in Osceola is a three-day community festival that offers delicious treats like classic rhubarb pie, unique pairings at the rhubarb bake-off and, to wash it all down, rhubarb wine samples. In Cedarburg, the Strawberry Festival (June 27-28) isn’t just delicious, it’s world-renowned. Last year, Strawberry Fest set the Guinness World Record for “World’s Largest Ice Cream Scoop.” (It was strawberry ice cream, of course). More than 100,000 strawberry enthusiasts come to get their fill of favorites like strawberry wine and strawberry brats. And for one last sweet trip, Cookie Daze (Aug. 1), honors the day the city of Ripon baked the world’s biggest chocolate chip cookie. While the fest doesn’t bake a 900 square-foot cookie every year, it does pack in lots of family activities and promises to bring out the inner kid in you.

For your summer planning needs, here’s a list of all the food festivals on our menu. If you’re looking for more foodie finds, visit


Morel Mushroom Festival – May 16-17

World’s Largest Brat Fest – May 22-25

ChocolateFest – May 22-25


Rhubarb Days – June 5-7

Beer, Bacon & Cheese – June 13

Door County Beer Festival – June 20

Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival – June 26-28

Cedarburg Strawberry Festival – June 27-28


Port Washington Fish Day – July 18


Cookie Daze – Aug. 1

Seymour Burger Fest – Aug. 7-9

Sweet Corn Festival – Aug. 20-23


Beef-A-Rama – Sept. 25-26

Warrens Cranberry Fest – Sept. 25-27


Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival – Oct. 23-24

Kohler Food & Wine Experience – Oct. 22-25


Travelers looking for year-round Wisconsin getaway ideas, travel planning, events and free guides can discover their own fun by visiting on desktop, tablet or mobile devices.  You can also choose to “Like” us at or follow along on Twitter at and Instagram at TravelWisconsin. 



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