11 Fairs, Fests and Fun Things to Check Out

By Shelby Rowe Moyer | Photos courtesy Travel Wisconsin

Opera in the Park Returns

July 24 (rain date July 25), Garner Park

The coronavirus forced the Madison Opera to put Opera in the Park on pause in 2020, but it’s back this month after adjustments were made to ensure the safety of those attending this free event. Attendees can expect to see performers Amanda Majeski, Rehanna Thelwell, Andrew Stenson and Kyle Ketelsen in this year’s program of opera arias, ensembles and more.

As of now, audience pods will be labeled to allow for social distancing between groups, but keep an eye out for the latest public health orders, because guidelines could change. madisonopera.org

The Madison Children’s Museum is Open!

For more than a year the Madison Children’s Museum was closed due to the pandemic, but it’s open again after taking several health and safety precautions. Book tickets in advance for museum entrance, and spend the day expanding the minds of the curious kids in your life.

Keep an eye out for the opening of Wonderground, a new, 10,000-square- foot, four-season playground. The museum reimagined its defunct, former parking lot into a space for play, with its signature log cabin and orchard, plus new climbing wall and activity nooks. madisonchildrensmuseum.org

Concerts on the Square are Back — But in a New Location!

July 7, 14, 21, 28; Aug. 4, Breese Stevens Field

The outdoor concert series (shown right on the Capitol Square) performed by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is back this summer on Wednesday nights! Concerts have been moved to Breese Stevens Field this year in order to accommodate a smaller crowd of 5,000 people per concert. Tickets need to be reserved, and there are a variety of seating options, from six-person reserved tables and blanket pods to general bleacher seating.

Can’t attend in person? Each concert will be live-streamed for free on the Chamber Orchestra’s website. Tickets and information can be found online. All ticket proceeds will directly support the musicians. wcoconcerts.org

18th Annual Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival

Aug. 6-7, William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park

This celebrated, family-friendly festival features performances by musicians, workshops and jam sessions. Three stages will feature music in the genres of rockabilly, country, blues and even Louisiana French. More than just music acts, the event also aims to educate and involve festival-goers, offering them the opportunity to talk to and interact with the artists. sugarmaplefest.org

The Bodega at Breese Stevens Field

4-8 p.m., July 22 and Aug. 19, Breese Stevens Field

Handmade jewelry, locally-sourced maple syrup, original artwork, fresh produce and beautiful antiques — all that and so much more will be available at The Bodega at Breese Stevens Field. The event series was created to support Madison’s small business community and offer a space for people to shop while spending time with friends and family. breesestevensfield.com/bodega

Dane County Fair

July 15-18, Alliant Energy Center

Concerts, stunt shows, carnival rides and tons of tasty bites will be available at the Dane County Fair this month. The Dane County Fair Association announced that they made the decision to bring the fair back this year, and safety measures will be in place. New attractions and activities await. danecountyfair.com

CrossFit Games

July 27 — Aug. 1, Alliant Energy Center

Forty men and 40 women will compete for the potential glory of being the named Fittest on Earth during the CrossFit Games. Fans can watch the action for themselves within the coliseum seating at Alliant. In addition to the competition, 200,000 square feet of vendors and sponsors, a 20,000-square-foot beer garden and a spectator workout space will be on-site. games.crossfit.com

Pursuit of Happiness Festival

Aug. 6-8, McPike Park

The three-day Pursuit of Happiness music, dance and comedy festival has several stages of entertainment. Wisconsin-based, as well as out-of-state and international, acts are bringing a kaleidoscopic array of music and dance during this free event. View the full entertainment lineup online. sessionsatmcpike.org/schedule

Wisconsin State Fair

Aug. 5—15, Wisconsin State Fair Park, West Allis

This year marks 170 years of the Wisconsin State Fair, and it’s sure to be a memorable one — especially with heavy-hitter main stage performances including Billy Idol, Foreigner, Gabriel Iglesias and Boyz II Men with Ginuwine. Aside from the entertainment, many of us will be drawn to the fair by the food. This year, more than 150 locations will be offering 800-plus food and drink items. Plus, there will be over 400 shopping experiences. Safety measures and requirements will be in place. wistatefair.com

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