Sputnik Fest« Back to Events
Manitowoc celebrates Sputnik Fest due to an out-of-this-world experience on September 5, 1962 when a piece of the Soviet satellite Sputnik IV crashed to earth, just north of downtown right in the middle of 8th Street/U.S. 10/Highway 42. It was still glowing from the heat of re-entry when it landed! A brass ring in the street notes the exact spot of impact. The city celebrates Sputnik Fest to commemorate the glowing visitor’s anniversary, where you’ll see some interesting costumes and space-related activities. Basically at Sputnik Fest, science fiction rules the day – even though Sputnik itself was very real. See 5 Things about Sputnikfest in Manitowoc (and why you should go) for more on that.
After having to go virtual in 2020, Sputnikfest is back in force with in-person fun on Saturday, September 11th, 2021, with fun events all day long! A full schedule can be seen further down the page.
The landing site of that piece of Sputnikfest – which inspired this whole thing – is right in front of the Rahr-West Art Museum, which hosts the event and holds a cast from the original piece of the spacecraft – the original was returned to the Russians – that is available for viewing all year.
The festival draws plenty of space fans – with Star Wars and Star Trek characters well-represented – costume contests, music, go-kart racing down 8th Street (there’s a bit of a hill towards the heart of downtown), food, drinks, and even an “alien drop”, where hundreds of mini-alien figures are dropped from a cherry picker – some with prizes. Even the hosting group, the Rahr-West Art Museum, calls it a “wacky tacky” weekend. Music from bands like Bazooka Joe add to the fun!
This year, the annual Art Slam in Manitowoc coincides with Sputnikfest. Be sure to check out the public murals downtown, especially along 9th Street and Chicago Streets. Family fun continues with the Cosmic Kids Creation Station, which offers tye-dye, clay painting, and rocket building, plus live statues, portrait paintings, and more.
Get more details here from the Manitowoc/Two Rivers Convention & Visitors Bureau!
Rahr-West Art Museum
610 N. 8th Street (8th & Park, U.S. 10 & Business 42)
Manitowoc, WI 54220
Sputnikfest Schedule of Events (click to see largest view):