Wisconsin Weekend: Fish, Fairs, Lumberjacks, Balloons, Planes, and more summer fun!

Our mid-July Wisconsin Weekend features SO much to do around the state! While Country Thunder booms over Twin Lakes, military jets and huge ships boom over Lake Michigan at Milwaukee; check out Salmon-A-Rama in Racine for competition, or enjoy the World’s Largest One-Day Outdoor Fish Fry in Port Washington; check out lumberjacks and lumberjill competing for world records and prizes in Hayward, or future stars of NASCAR in wheel-to-wheel action at Road America; the options are many as you road trip. Explore some great roads, towns, parks, and more – and take it a few fun activities while you’re at it. There’s always a LOT to do during your Wisconsin weekend. Here are some State Trunk Tour event picks as you explore… Pick Some Roads and GO!!:

Port Washington: Port Fish Day

Port Fish Day logoPort Fish Day features “The World’s Largest One-Day Outdoor Fish Fry.” What more needs to be said? Okay, along with the fish fry, we’re talking lots of fun: music on four stages, rides, an Art Design Contest, a run/walk, fireworks, helicopter tours, and plenty more along Port Washington’s beautiful harbor on Lake Michigan. Of course, enjoy a ton of great fried fish and chips. Admission to the grounds is free and you can enjoy additional music entertainment from the likes of Ethan Keller, Road Crew, Keith Anderson, The Rush Tribute Project, Joe 2.0, Blue Light Scene, and more. Check out the Family Zone in Upper Lake Park for family-friendly fun – and that’s where the Fish Eating Contest happens at 2:30pm!  Fish Day runs all day and evening Saturday. Highways 32 and 33 bring you in from I-43!

Waterford: Balloonfest & the U.S. Women’s National Balloon Championships

Wisconsin Weekend: Waterford BalloonfestThe skies above Waterford will be colorful this weekend, with the 8th annual Waterford Balloonfest taking place. Balloon races, the classic evening “balloon glows,” and new this year, the U.S. Women’s National Balloon Championships! Balloonist flight competitions highlight these pilots’ amazing flying skills… which is tricky in a balloon! (Trust us, we’ve been in one.) It’s not just hot air, either: craft vendors, local food stands, a kids’ area with games, activities, and entertainment, a 5K run/walk, helicopter rides, and much more all await in this city along the Fox River in western Racine County. Highways 20, 36, and 83 all bring you there!

Milwaukee: Festa Italiana and the Milwaukee Air & Water Show

Festa Italiana dancersIt’s a busy Wisconsin Weekend in Milwaukee. The Summerfest Grounds are back at it on Milwaukee’s lakefront, with Festa Italiana running all weekend. Fantastic Italian food, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, plenty of great music, activities, a kids’ carnival area, and even your chance to win “Italian Idol”! I-43/94, I-794, and Highways 32, 38, 59, and 145 all bring you close. Abbondanza!

Milwaukee Air & Water Show, two planes

Meanwhile, the skies will roar with military jets at the U.S. Thunderbirds, F-15 Strike Fighters, and more will perform overhead while and boats and ships of all kinds will show what they can do in Lake Michigan, all up and down the lakefront at the annual Milwaukee Air & Water Show. You can watch from Bradford Beach and many other areas along Milwaukee’s lakefront for free. Ticketed areas offer the closest proximity, the best views, hosted narration, the best access to concessions, and great seating. This is definitely a benchmark summer event in Milwaukee!

Racine: Salmon-A-Rama

Wisconsin Weekend: Salmon-A-RamaRacine’s annual Salmon-A-Rama continues through this weekend. It’s a popular tournament open to all anglers on Lake Michigan, with entertainment for the whole family! Now one of the largest freshwater salmon and trout tournaments in the world, it’s also a festival featuring bands, raffles, a bags tournament, pig roast, smelt fry, fish boil, kids entertainment and so much more. It’s been underway since this past Saturday and continues through this Sunday.

Hayward: Lumberjack World Championships

Lumberjack World Championships in HaywardHayward hosts the 59th annual Lumberjack World Championships now through Saturday! Over 21 events will offer international competition, showcasing sawing, chopping, speed climbing, log rolling, boom-running, and more as over 100 lumberjacks and lumberjills vie for more than $50,000 in prize money, making this one of the largest paybacks for lumberjack competition in the world – and of course, world records in these events could be set – they often have! U.S. 63 and Highways 27 and 77 bring you to Hayward.

Sheboygan: Midsummer Festival of the Arts

Midsummer Festival of the ArtsThe John Michael Kohler Arts Center celebrates the Midsummer Festival of the Arts Saturday and Sunday, where more than 135 artists descend on downtown Sheboygan for a weekend of exhibitions, all set amidst gardens surrounding the world-class Arts Center with its light-filled spaces, 12 galleries, and ARTcafe. Check out jewelry, ceramics, glass, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, leather, sculpture, art glass, wearable art, hands-on workshops for the whole family, and face painting for the kids (I think it’s just for kids, heck, doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re a grown-up and want your face painted, too.) The food court offers the Culinary Art Car and other food trucks and you can enjoy “finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’” free concerts from the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series. Highways 23, 28, and 42 bring you towards downtown Sheboygan from I-43.



More for your Wisconsin Weekend

There are MANY more events to check out. Run around during your Wisconsin weekend, including the Waukesha County Fair (I-94, U.S. 18, Highways 16, 59), Country Thunder, Bristol Renaissance Faire, and more. Explore history, enjoy parks, experience shops, bars, and restaurants, and have FUN! In true State Trunk Tour fashion, Pick Some Roads and GO!!!




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The State Trunk Tour Logo for Wisconsin highways and great trips

Wisconsin highways, road trips, attractions, quirks… just what IS the State Trunk Tour?

The State Trunk Tour is all about Wisconsin highways, drives, road trips and celebrating the fun of the Badger State by selecting state highways and riding them end to end, reporting everything along the way.

Wisconsin’s state highways – the first system of numbered highways in the world (first done in 1917 – which means 2017 marked its 100th anniversary!) – connect all sorts of points of interest, attractions, cities, towns, recreation trails, scenic byways, lakes, rivers, bridges, historical sites, geographic markers, taverns, antique shops… you get the idea.

Wisconsin is one of the most fun and unique states in the country. We’re in the smack dab in the middle of the northern and western hemispheres. We have plenty of “world’s largest” entries: the musky, the corkscrew, a talking cow, an indoor water park, a six-pack, and a can of chili are just some of them. Wisconsin also claims a number of “world’s firsts” and inventions including the snowmobile, malted milk, the hamburger, hydroelectric power, outboard motor, rail-to-trail, and a bunch more.

We have two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and beautiful drives along all of them. Dynamic cities like Milwaukee and Madison offer incredible options for things to do. Vacation hot spots like Wisconsin Dells, Lake Geneva, Door County, Minocqua, Eagle River, and Hayward draw people from all over the country. Quaint, relaxing towns like Ephraim, Shullsburg, Hudson, Bayfield, Princeton, Green Lake, Oconomowoc and more offer great boutique shopping and plenty of charm.

Follow one of our Wisconsin highways end-to-end – or in sections – and enjoy everything along the way. Sample Featured Routes below or pick your own from the State Trunk Tours menu. We’ll help guide you, provide fun history, insight, and trivia, and welcome your feedback and additions as we continue to build our web and mobile sites. We’re on a new platform, adding and updating more routes, attractions, photos, points of interest and more constantly, so check back often. Updates will be sent out via Facebook and Twitter, of course!




"Wind around from a Genoa lock through the Driftless Area"

State "Trunk" Highway 56 runs through the beautiful Driftless Area from the Mississippi River to the middle of Richland County, near Richland Center. The hilly landscape makes for beautiful vistas and it's very pleasant drive through farmlands and small towns like Viola and Viroqua - and even some places that don't start with the "v."...

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"Coast to Coast covering Circuses, Canoes, and Coulees (and more)"

State “Trunk” Highway 33 is a "coast-to-coast" state highway, connecting La Crosse on the Mississippi with Port Washington's scenic harbor on Lake Michigan. From the big blue waters of the Great Lake to the beautiful coulees framing La Crosse, you encounter hairpin turns in what seems like a mountain range, Baraboo's famous Circus Museum, ski slopes of Cascade Mountain, the natural wetlands of Horicon Marsh, and some of the best canoeing in the nation along the Kickapoo. It's a great cross-section of southern Wisconsin....

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Historic Mindoro Cut on the original route of Highway 108

"'Cutting' between West Salem and Melrose"

State “Trunk” Highway 108 is a short but very scenic ride through Wisconsin's "Driftless Area". A popular motorcycle ride as well as drive or bike ride, Highway 108 is best known for the "Mindoro Cut", which cuts through a particularly beautiful area where the highway twists, turns and zigzags. Highway 108 has essentially been the same route since 1919...why mess with such a great drive?...

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LaCrosse Brewery

La Crosse To Lake Country

A former U.S. highway, State “Trunk” Highway 16 comes in from Minnesota at La Crosse and works its way toward Milwaukee through routes so popular they were supplanted by Interstates in most areas. Paralleling I-90 and/or I-94 much of the way, Highway 16 goes through many of the towns the interstate highways bypass. Highway 16 used to continue into downtown Milwaukee and across Lake Michigan on a ferry to Muskegon, where it then ran all the way to downtown Detroit just short of the Canadian border, hey. Today, though, it ends at I-94 in Milwaukee's western suburbs, but not before passing by a ton of interesting things along its almost 200-mile journey....

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Racine Watercross July 28-29, 2018
Visit Marshfield via State Trunk Tour
GO Chippewa Falls
Real Racine 2018 Activities Guide
GO Chippewa Falls
Racine Watercross July 28-29, 2018