Wisconsin weekend: Irish luck, Blues & Jazz Fests, Wake Sports, Fairs and more!

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!

Milwaukee: Irish Fest

Milwaukee Irish Fest logoThe luck o’ the Irish rises to greet you along Milwaukee’s lakefront at the largest Irish festival in the United States. Gaelic Storm kicks it off Thursday night (with more shows Friday and Saturday nights) and an amazing array of musical artists in Irish and Celtic music fill several stages. Other Irish Fest activities include a Baking Contest, Photo and Poetry Contests, and “Red Hair & Freckles” Contest, a “Celtic Canines” exhibit, the Jameson Lounge (for whiskey tastings), a Marketplace filled with Irish crafts and other items from over 90 vendors, a Cultural Village, and much more.

You’ll find Irish Fest at Henry Maier Festival Park along Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. I-43/94, U.S. 18, and Highways 32, 38, 59, and 145 all bring you within blocks!

Wausau: Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

Held on Fern Island Park along the Wisconsin River, Big Bull Falls is the oldest continues blues festival in Wisconsin. Performers this year include Mr. Sipp, Reverend Raven, Toronzo Cannon, Samantha Fish, and Tab Benoit! I-39 U.S. 51, and Highways 29 and 52 bring you there.

Kenosha: HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival

HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival
HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival is one of Kenosha’s favorite music events and returns this year with a powerful mix of New Orleans style Jazz, straight ahead Jazz and true hometown Chicago Style Blues. Saturday’s event features a full lineup of fantastic musicians, including Natty Nation, Terry James and the Blue Flames, CNJ Latin Jazz Quintet, and headliner Euge Groove! Find out more here. Highways 32, 50, and 158 bring you to Kenosha’s beautiful HarborPark district, right next to downtown along Lake Michigan.

Janesville: US Wake Sports Festival

Janesville US Wake Sports Festival
Check out the continuing action in Janesville’s Traxler Park through Saturday as the United States Hydrofoil Association, Rock Aqua Jays, and Water Skiers with Disabilities Association bring the US Wake Sports Festival and the 2017 USHA Nationals to the Janesville! Riders from novice to pro participate with world class competition. There’s also adaptive water skiing clinics (disabled water ski instruction), the US National Championship for hydrofoils and a freestyle jump tournament. The Rock Aqua Jays Stadium offers bleacher seating for over 2,800, plus room for over 1,500 outside the grandstands and concessions will be available. I-39/90, U.S. 14 and 51, and Highways 11 and 26 bring you to Janesville.

Gillett: Oconto County Fair in the “ATV Capital of the World”

The Oconto County Fair continues in Gillett, which bills itself as the “ATV Capital of the World”, so drive a State Trunk Tour route or take an ATV trail to this fun and family-friendly fair in Zippel Park. Highlights will include a Youth-Decorated Cake Auction, Human Foosball, Tractor, Truck, and Draft Horse Pulls, the Fairest of the Fair Competition, and the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Contest! Of course, being a county fair, you’ll see plenty of animals from area farms including goats, poultry, rabbits, swine, sheep, beef, and much more. Highways 22 and 32 bring you to Gillett.

There are MANY more events to check out. Run around during your Wisconsin weekend, enjoy our beautiful summer season, explore history, enjoy parks, experience shops, trails, bars, and restaurants, and have FUN! In true State Trunk Tour fashion, Pick Some Roads and GO!!!




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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."...

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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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