Festivals in La Crosse, WI

Perhaps nothing says as much about a community as the manner in which it comes together to celebrate. Local festivals are the perfect way to learn about the culture of a place–its people, traditions, and values. Every area has its quirky small-town festivals, and La Crosse is no exception, with butter, hoedowns, reggae, and cranberries providing a few of the many reasons to throw a party throughout the year. Pretty much any time of year, we can find a good excuse for a celebration. Come join the fun.


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Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine, & Cheese Festival

Late April This annual celebration, held at the Oktoberfest grounds in downtown La Crosse, features more than 200 craft beers from brewers across the country, nearly 50 kinds of wine from distinguished vintners, and dozens of varieties of gourmet artisanal cheese. The festival features a homebrew contest, live music, VIP passes, and more. And don’t miss out on Taster’s Eve, Pearl Street Brewery’s annual kick-off event the night before the festival.

 

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Great River Folk Fest

August (weekend before Labor Day)

A La Crosse tradition since 1975, this all-ages, interactive community event celebrates, preserves, and promotes traditional and contemporary folk culture through music, crafts, dance and food. Held at Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse, the fest features a songwriting and performance contest, multiple traditional and ethnic food vendors, and awards for crafts in over a dozen mediums.

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Houston Hoedown Days

July (last full weekend)

Located 25 miles west of La Crosse in Houston, MN, Hoedown Days features nightly dances, two parades, tractor pulls, pageants, the Minnesota State Horse Pull, flea markets, pie and ice cream socials, antique car and tractor shows, the 2.5-mile Hoedown Hat Race, and more!

 

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Irishfest

August (first or second weekend)

An annual event since 2005, Irishfest is a weekend of fun, food, music, and love of all things Celtic at downtown La Crosse’s Oktoberfest grounds. This family friendly event features an Irish market, the Killian’s Kilt Run/Walk, four stages of music and live entertainment, a “Wee Folk” area for kids, and several competitions, including a mashed potato contest, kilt contest, Irish joke contest, harp ensemble competition, and more.

La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival

September (Labor Day Weekend)

This celebration of cycling in the Driftless Region centers around Cameron Park in historic downtown La Crosse. The event features group rides on designated routes around the area (routes listed on www.bicyclelacrosse.com), ranging from easy 15-mile street/trail rides to demanding 60-mile road rides, as well as unique Pedal-and-Paddle activities, architectural tours (by bike, of course), a bike-safety event, and more.

 

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Oktoberfest

Late September/Early October

Since the inaugural event in 1961, the city of La Crosse has become synonymous with its annual Oktoberfest celebration. The fest features two parades, carnival rides, multiple stages of music and live entertainment on two separate fest sites, Craft Beer Night, kid-friendly entertainment, and more lederhosen than you can poke a stick at. Don’t miss out on the nation’s best Oktoberfest celebration!

Riverfest

July (week of Fourth of July)

This annual five-day family festival located in downtown La Crosse’s Riverside Park is a local favorite. Featuring a daily arts-and-crafts fair, the Venetian boat parade, a full slate of live music and entertainment (past headliners include Rick Springfield, Cheap Trick, and The Remainders), the Chileda Classic 5k/10k run/walk, riverboat cruises, tons of food and drink, the annual medallion hunt, and, of course, fireworks. A La Crosse tradition since 1983, Riverfest helps fund the various volunteer groups who organize it every year, as well as contributes $10,000 to the La Crosse Parks & Recreation Department every year.

Rotary Holiday Lights

November-January (day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day)

The largest Christmas-light display in the Midwest has been a mainstay of downtown La Crosse since 1995. Every year, the La Crosse Rotary Club and hundreds of other volunteers cover Riverside Park in over three million lights, complete with fully animated displays. Other features include the Rotary Lights parade, the 5k Ugly Sweater Run, live reindeer, hay and carriage rides, breakfast with Santa, and more! Admission is free; cash and/or canned food donations are encouraged to help support the Rotary Holiday Lights and La Crosse-area food shelters.

 

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Sparta Butterfest

June (second weekend)

The annual Sparta Butterfest has been a tradition since 1984. Located 30 miles east of La Crosse just off I-90, this annual family friendly celebration features firemen’s waterfights, music and live entertainment, an arts and crafts flea market, a car and bike show, lots of food and drink, and numerous sporting events, including hockey, softball, beach volleyball, wrestling, golf, and cornhole tournaments.

Sparta Fall Fest

Sparta Fall Fest

International Festival of Owls

International Festival of Owls

Artspire

Artspire

Frozen River Film Festival

Frozen River Film Festival

Lobsterfest

Lobsterfest

Mississippi Mayhem

Mississippi Mayhem

Onalaska Legion Community Days

Onalaska Legion Community Days

Tour de Pearl

Tour de Pearl

Winter Ball

Winter Ball

River Bluff Daze

River Bluff Daze

Winneshiek Landing Day

Winneshiek Landing Day

Between the Bluffs Plein Air

Between the Bluffs Plein Air

Rotary Rock-N-Ribs

Rotary Rock-N-Ribs

Liz Fest

Liz Fest

June Dairy Days

June Dairy Days

Zombie Bar Crawl

Zombie Bar Crawl

Coulee Con

Coulee Con

Viroqua Bluegrass Gospel Music Festival

Viroqua Bluegrass Gospel Music Festival

Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson Day

Celebrate Onalaska

Celebrate Onalaska

La Crosse Pride

La Crosse Pride

Rail Fair

Rail Fair

Larryfest

Larryfest

Westby Snowflake Ski Jump

Westby Snowflake Ski Jump

Three Rivers Roleo

Three Rivers Roleo

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour

AAUW – Art Fair on the Green

AAUW – Art Fair on the Green

Mid West Music Fest

Mid West Music Fest

International Owl Center & Festival of Owls

International Owl Center & Festival of Owls

La Crosse Storytelling Festival

La Crosse Storytelling Festival

Great River Shakespeare Festival

Great River Shakespeare Festival

Hidden Trails Corn Maze

Hidden Trails Corn Maze

La Crosse Riverfest

La Crosse Riverfest

La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival

La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival

Between the Bluffs Beer Wine & Cheese Festival

Between the Bluffs Beer Wine & Cheese Festival

Rotary Holiday Lights

Rotary Holiday Lights

Great River Folk Festival

Great River Folk Festival

Irishfest

Irishfest

Prairie Dog Blues Festival

Prairie Dog Blues Festival

Sparta Butterfest

Sparta Butterfest

La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway

La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway

La Crosse Oktoberfest

La Crosse Oktoberfest

La  Crosse Area Day

La Crosse Area Day