Wisconsin weekend: Hot Air Balloons, Lumberjacks, Fests, and Flight!

Another amazing summer weekend is coming up, and it’s prime time to road trip around Wisconsin and explore. Ride the state highways and byways and enjoy some great sights, roadside attractions, events, vistas, and more. Here are some State Trunk Tour recommended Wisconsin Weekend highlights coming up!

Hayward: Lumberjack World Championships

This international competition draws from all over, as the best lumberjacks and lumberjills descend on Hayward. Over 20 events will offer competition for world records in everything from men’s and women’s logrolling to chopping, sawing, and the exciting pole climb. Over 100 plus 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.

Wisconsin Rapids: Water Ski Show Championships

Wisconsin Rapids Aqua SkiersCheck out the amazing Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers all weekend at one of the largest water ski shows in the world. 25 water ski show teams will perform for 1 hour each to see who will capture 1st place in 3 divisions. You will see 28 girl ballet lines, barefoot pyramids, jumps that will thrill you and stage acts for pure entertainment. Concessions and vendors on site. It all takes place on South Wood County Park Lake at Wazeecha Red Sand Beach. Highways 13, 34, 54, 66, and 73 bring you to Wisconsin Rapids!

Two Rivers: EVP Coolest Coast Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament

The EVP® National Pro Am Beach Volleyball Tour hits Two Rivers this weekend, with competition on Neshotah Beach. You can not only see elite athletes compete on the sand for top honors, but have a chance to interact with these pros by participating in contests and promotions. Local volleyball groups also participate. Teams who finish 1st and 2nd are awarded a bid to compete in the 2017 EVP® World Finals of Beach Volleyball Championship in Hampton, VA.

Waterford: Balloonfest

Waterford Balloonfest 2017Ready for colorful dotted skies over this pretty southeastern Wisconsin town? The 7th annual Waterford Balloonfest features over a dozen balloonists from around the nation through this weekend. See the classic “evening balloon glows” Friday and Saturday evenings, plus balloonist flight competitions which will highlight their amazing flying skills… which is tricky in a balloon! (Trust us, we’ve been in one.) Other activities include a kids’ area with games, activities, and entertainment, a 5K run/walk, helicopter rides, and much more! Waterford is along Highways 20, 36, and 83.

Milwaukee: Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana dancersFesta Italiana is “your ticket to Italy” on Milwaukee’s lakefront this weekend, and this year they celebrate their 40th anniversary! Amazing Italian food, great entertainment, and the loudest fireworks around.
Check out Flag-Throwers of the Florentine, direct from Italy. For music, check out great acts across six stages, including the Children’s Stage. Headliners include the BoDeans, Gin Blossoms, Dog ‘N’ Butterfly, The Sicilian Tenors, and Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti. Magic tricks, food demonstrations, singers from the Florentine Opera, and more are all performing each day. The UW Marching Band will perform on Sunday, and the Children’s Stage will have all kinds of entertainment throughout the day.
You can also enjoy a romantic gondola ride on the cove, play bocce ball, watch the Copa Festa Italiana Futsal tournament, or compete in Italian Idol. Classic Italian fare and wine tastings, Kids Pizza Making Contest and annual Cannoli Eating Contest. There’s also a traditional Sunday Mass at 11am.
The fireworks go off every Festa evening around 10pm, and they’re a blast! (No pun intended. Okay, fine, pun intended.)

I-43/94, I-794, U.S. 18, Highways 32, 38, 57, 59, and 145 all bring you close to Henry Maier Festival Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront for the fun!

Kimberly & the Fox Cities: Paperfest 2017

The Fox Valley’s paper making history gets its salute with the 29th annual Paperfest celebration! This year, Paperfest takes place in Kimberly’s Sunset Point Park, right along the Fox River. It’s a fun, family-oriented festival spanning three days offering up plenty of games, sports, music and food – and education about paper. Friday night features the Paper Chase, a 4 mile run/walk; Saturday is the Tour de Fest ’17, a biking competition with routes of 18, 40, 70, and 100 miles. Other fun things to check out include the toilet paper toss, carnival rides, yoga, comedy, magic, and karate demonstrations. On the music stages across three days The Bomb, Road Trip. Rob & The Rest, Eminence, Boogie & The Yo-Yo’z, Bad Habits, and RPM perform. There is also a papermaking demonstration, the Age of Reptiles show, a petting zoo, graffiti fence painting, a sawdust hunt, sidewalk chalk art, hula hoop games, face painting, and more. The Family Stage will feature children’s music and magic tricks. Sports events include a volleyball tournament and tug-of-war competition.
You can reach Kimberly and Paperfest by following I-41, U.S. 10, Highway 55, Highway 96, or Highway 441 to get close, then follow the streets to Sunset Park.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Get ready, EAA AirVenture starts Monday! The World’s Largest Fly-In runs all week into next weekend and turns Wittman Regional into the World’s Busiest Airport. EAA stands for Experimental Aircraft Association, and it’s a total blast. Whether you come to fly or just watch, you experience the world’s greatest aviation celebration. Warbirds. Vintage. Homebuilts. Ultralights, even the Blue Angels!
Enjoy all kinds of planes, aerobatics, hands-on workshops, and celebrations. AirVenture draws flight enthusiasts from across the globe. Features and attractions include air shows and aircraft neighborhoods where you can check out full assortments of plane types and styles. Plus, there’s KidVenture for the young ones, the Aviators Club, Aviation Gateway Park, the Pathways Pavilion, and more.

Other Wisconsin Weekend Events

You can also check out the Waukesha County Fair in Waukesha, the Dane County Fair in Madison, the Green County Fair in Monroe, the Fond du Lac County Fair in Fondy, Country Thunder in Twin Lakes or Country Jam in Eau Claire, or just run around and have FUN! In true State Trunk Tour fashion, Pick Some Roads and GO!!!




Read more

The State Trunk Tour Logo

Wisconsin highways, drives, road trips, attractions, quirks, and more: 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 marks 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."...

Take The Tour

"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....

Take The Tour

"'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?...

Take The Tour
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....

Take The Tour

Road Conditions