German Fest is a celebration of culture through food and drink, live entertainment, and all kinds of family fun and shenanigans. Use your voucher toward bratwurst, gulasch, dumplings, potato pancakes, pork chops, desserts, and more. To wash down these hearty helpings, head to the beer garden at the north end of the grounds. On the south end of the fest, there is a carnival with games and rides.
Since 1851, the Wisconsin State Fair has annually showcased the state's finest resources, stuffed fairgoers with an aromatic selection of world-class foods, and entertained guests with live bands and terrifying tractor flyovers. In between hot-stepping to the Steve Meisner Polka Band on August 9 and singing along to "Cracklin' Rosie" with Eric Ebert's Tribute to Neil Diamond on August 11, fair browsers will get their choice of day to frolic manfully among a ton of food stalls, games, thrill rides, outdoor events, interactive activities, and competitions. If your trio of the fair's famous cream puffs—whose airy creaminess is just as legendary in this reality as it is in alternate realities where Wisconsin won the Civil War—doesn't fill you up completely, test your gut's maximum occupancy with August 9's brat-eating contest (4 p.m.), which is best washed down beforehand with the root-beer-float-drinking contest (3 p.m.). Kids, meanwhile, can plummet down the fair's 200-foot giant slide, take splatter-art to messy new places at the Kohl's Color Wheel, or watch the state's fastest pigs race for the coveted frosted oatmeal cookie.
After continually traversing the globe since its breakout television performance nearly 18 years ago, Riverdance returns stateside for a last hurrah. A cast of six principal dancers will clobber the stage with the stomps, taps, kicks, and tackles of traditional Irish step dancing, which, when synchronized with a live band and 18 troupe dancers, sends waves of rhythm cascading over all 3,200 seats of the regal Indiana University Auditorium. The show’s 18 scenes break into two acts: the first depicting the mythical beginnings of the Celtic people as they hatched from a kelpie's head, and the second portraying the Irish famine and ensuing wave of emigration.
During Milwaukee Winter Fest, visitors of all ages can shake the snow from their sleeves inside a climate-controlled facility filled with festive lights and colorful decorations. There they can play in more than 50 attractions including inflated fun zones, carnival rides, and a 240-foot indoor zipline. Singers and musical acts take to the stage during scheduled events to inspire impromptu dance parties and prove once and for all that guitars can be used for more than just housing herb gardens.
Led by artistic director Joan Parsley, Ensemble Musical Offering floods ear canals with faithful period renditions of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras. A Chain of Love commemorates Valentine's Day with a program of romantic pieces by such composers as Bach and Biber, played on meticulously restored period instruments including the lute, viola d'amore, and hand-cranked Gregorian monk. Soprano Sarah Richardson lends her honeyed vocals to love songs from Purcell and Stoetzel while English translations of German and Italian poetry from the period fill heads with vintage lovey-dovey thoughts. The Cathedral Church of All Saints houses the beautiful melodies in Gothic revival elegance, with a recently restored hardwood floor that dampens distracting reverb and gives reformed termites a chance to prove themselves.