Festivals

Download the Fall/Winter/Spring 2019-2020 Festivals and Special Events Poster

West Dubuque High School 6th Annual Wingfest
Sept. 14 @ Farley Park (Farley, IA)

10:30 AM–6 PM. 13 competitors cooking over 15,000 wings in 48 different flavors go wing-to-wing. Come out and enjoy great food, entertainment, fun kids games and activities, inflatables, Iowa football game on big screen TVs, and all for a great cause.

The Nadas–Concert in the Courtyard
Sept. 19 @ Schmid Innovation Center (900 Jackson St)
7 PM. Experience the Millwork District with this great free concert in the Schmid Innovation Center courtyard featuring favorite Midwest rockers, the Nadas. Sponsored by Gronen and Pigott.

Disney on Ice
Sept. 19–22 @ Five Flags Arena

Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic, LIVE ON ICE! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment.

Dubuque Oktoberfest
Sept. 21 @ A.Y. McDonald Park

Under the huge festival tent in A.Y. McDonald Park by the Mississippi, featuring a beer tasting with over 25 breweries and fun German heritage contests. Enjoy a day full of traditional German music and dance. Plus wiener dog races and the Tri-State’s Championship Bier Stein holding contest. Proceeds to Camp Albrecht Acres.

Bloktoberfest
Sept. 21 @ Millwork District

This free event brings together local breweries and restaurants, music, kids events, BMX, and skateboarding for another round of the one day festival like none other in Dubuque. Your favorite breweries and restaurants return to the expanded layout for 2019. Participate in the dunk tank, stein races, the tug-of-war challenge and beer yoga while enjoying live music, a fashion show and any of the other local vendors that are available.

Vesperman Farms Corn Maze
Sept. 21–Oct. 27 @ 8149 Stage Rd, Lancaster, WI

One of the biggest and most challenging corn mazes in the Midwest. You gotta see the pumpkin trebuchet throw ‘em a quarter mile! Also, rubber duck races, farm animals, an air cannon, the 100’ zip line, the snack barn with the caramel apples, apple cider doughnuts and now small batch ice cream. Pick out the perfect jack-o-lantern. Open seven days a week. Visit vespermanfarms.com.

29th Guttenberg Germanfest
Sept. 27–28 @ 600 S River Park Dr, Guttenberg, IA

This festival has been named one of the Top 20 Events in Iowa by Top Events USA and includes an open air arts and crafts market, biergarten, kraut cook-off, hog roast, homemade beer tasting, lots of live music, food vendors, a 5K walk/run, historic walking tour, kids’ games, chalk drawing, wiener dog races and much, much more! Visit guttenbergiowa.net.

10th Annual Fall Harvest & Art Festival
Sept. 28 @ Galena Cellars Vineyard (Galena, IL)

11 AM–5 PM. A combination of purple feet, paint brushes, pumpkin decorating, horses and wine that promises to be a fun fall adventure. The festival features demonstrations, art sales, vineyard tours, wine tastings, unique food stands, free horse-drawn wagon rides, The Fever River String Band and a grape-stomping competition. Visit galenacellars.com.

Quad Con
Sept. 28 @ Five Flags Center

Quad Con is about coming together and enjoying different aspects of pop culture. Video games, comic books, posters, sci-fi, cosplay, vintage magazines, board games, toys, role playing, and much more.

Czipar’s Apple Festival
Sept. 28–29 @ 8610 US 52 S.

The last full weekend in September, the venerable FREE apple festival includes arts and crafts vendors, face painting, bounce house, kids games, freshly popped kettle corn, slot car racing, a caricature artist, pumpkins, gourds, painted pumpkins, Indian corn and lunch on the grounds. Oh, and of course, fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts! Visit cziparsorchards.com.

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
Oct. 2–3 @ U.D. Heritage Center

7:30 PM. The touring Broadway Production comes to University of Dubuque. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.

Baconfest
Oct. 3 @ Grand River Center 

The amazing celebration of all things gluttonous and bacony, Area Residential Care’s Baconfest is an evening where guests walk around tasting creative bacon dishes from local restaurants, grocery stores, BBQ pits and caterers, all of whom bring their A-game to the event. Visit dbqbacon.org.

Galena Oktoberfest
Oct. 5 @ Depot Park (Galena, IL)

Noon–10 PM. Hosted by the Galena Lions Club, the 10th annual event will feature a ceremonial tapping of the keg, non-stop live music, wiener dog races, polka lessons and dancing, bean bag tournament, beer stein endurance contest, a free bounce house and pumpkin decorating for the kids and lots of food and beer. Free admission! Visit galenalions.org.

Tri-States’ Largest Chili Cook-Off
Oct. 5 @ Cable Car Square

10 AM–5 PM. Historic Cable Car Square transforms into an aromatic chili tasting and competition. With live music and beer, the CASI-sanctioned Cook-Off, hosted by the Dubuque Jaycees, also features a variety of free kids games, food and entertainment at this family-friendly event. Live music. The public chili tasting is at 1 PM with a $5 tasting spoon.

Shullsburg Cheesefest
Oct. 5 @ Water St, Shullsburg, WI

9 AM–4 PM. The free, family-friendly festival is held on the city’s historic Water Street with entertainment and events throughout the entire day and into the evening. From the fireman’s breakfast and food craft vendors to live music, beer, wine and cheese pairings, cheese making, food and cheese, cheese, cheese! Test your cheese IQ, enjoy hayrides, children’s activities, a scarecrow contest, and a raffle.

Dubuque County Kids Expo
Oct. 5 @ Grand River Center

10 AM–2 PM. A free family resource and fun fair offering scores of vendors showcasing programs, services, and products that are family friendly in the Tri-State area. There also will be kids games, hands-on crafts, large inflatables, performances, giveaways, and more. Details at dcearlychild.org.

Dark Chambers Haunted Forest
Oct. 5–6, 12–13, 18–20, 25–28, 31
@ YMCA Camp / Union Park (11764 JFK Rd)

The haunts return to the YMCA Camp / Union Park where Dubuque haunts were made famous for 20 years. Look for the whole scare game to get reinvented again for 2019. Do you dare enter the woods at night? You better take a friend! Admission is $15. Visit darkchambers.com.

Bluff Strokes 2019 Plein Air Paint Out
Oct. 6–12 @ Steeple Square

60 artists from 8 states will paint scenes in Dubuque County for 6 days in competition for $10,000 in award money. 300 paintings will be available for sale in Historic Steeple Square at a Patron Sale Friday evening, Oct. 11, and a public sale, Saturday, Oct. 12. Visit bluffstrokes.org.

Cody Johnson
Oct. 11 @ Five Flags Arena

Country music rising star brings his rowdy high-energy shoe to town. Catch another star on their way up right here in Dubuque.

40th Annual Galena Country Fair
Oct. 12–13 @ Grant Park (Galena IL)

10 AM–5 PM. More than 150 vendors offering original, handmade arts, crafts and fine arts. Delight your taste buds with fair favorites including caramel apples, homemade French fries, funnel cakes, fudge, baked potatoes and ice cream plus farmers’ market goodies and country bake shop treats. Plus live bands, Irish dancing and more. Children’s games, a silent auction, raffle and more round out the event. Visit galenacountryfair.com.

City Expo
Oct. 17 @ Five Flags Arena

Learn about City services and programs. The event features booths, displays, and equipment from City departments and divisions in the arena and outdoors. Informational materials and complimentary food are provided.

Charley Pride
Oct. 18 @ Five Flags Arena

The country music legend brings more than two dozen chart-topping hits to the Five Flags Center this fall. His first 13 singles all reached the top ten, including a string of six consecutive No. 1 hits. He achieved crossover success in 1971 with is signature hit “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”

Galena’s Halloween Parade & Festival
Oct. 26 @ Downtown Galena, IL

6:30–10 PM. The legendary parade literally lights up Galena’s historic Main Street for the 41st year in one of the Midwest’s largest Halloween celebrations, featuring spectacular floats, local marching bands, hot air balloons breathing fire, costumed participants and plenty of sweet treats. The Halloween Festival from 2 to 8:30 PM at Washington and Perry Streets.

Dubuque Halloween Parade
Oct. 28 @ Main St Parade Route

6:30 PM. Ghosts and goblins of all ages will converge once again for perhaps the most popular parade of the year in Dubuque thanks to Townsquare Media stepping up and taking over the venerable family-favorite event. The parade follows the usual parade route, ending at Washington Park. Scores of groups come out in full costumed madness for a super-fun hour in the streets of Dubuque.

Fall Into Art
Nov. 1 @ Downtown Dubuque

5 PM. A free art tour around downtown Dubuque, organized by Dubuque Main Street. A combination of gallery owners, curators, educators, students, and working artists will welcome you into their spaces to share their collections of paintings, pottery, photography, mixed media art, installation art, design graphics, and more. Locations likely to include: Carnegie-Stout, Outside the Lines, DuMA, DAAC, Creative Adventure Lab, UW-Platteville, Smokestack/Clarke, Studio Works and U.D. Free Trolley.

41st Annual National Farm Toy Show
Nov. 1–3 @ Dyersville, IA

Filling Beckman High School, The National Farm Toy Museum and the Commercial Club Park, highlights include a Collectors Dinner on Saturday at Royal Lanes, a sanctioned Micro-Mini Pull at Commercial Club Park in South Building on Saturday at 11 AM and Sunday at 9 AM plus the National Farm Toy Show® Auction at 10 AM Saturday at Beckman Auditorium (1325 9th St. SE.). The granddaddy of farm toy shows draws about 6,000 people each year. Visit toyfarmer.com.

Winter Farmers Market
Saturdays: Nov. 2–Apr. 25 @ Roshek Lobby

An all-volunteer driven market, focusing on supporting our regional food system, eating from our food shed year-round and providing annual funding to farmers through our grant program. Homemade and baked goods, plus meat, cheese, eggs and, yes, vegetables! Visit wintermarketdbq.com.

Mystery Science Theater 3000’s
Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour
Nov. 5 @ Five Flags Arena

The award-winning TV comedy Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) is coming to Dubuque in an all-new LIVE show featuring Joel Hodgson, original host and the creative vision behind the beloved TV and Netflix comedy series for more than three decades, in his final live tour.

2019 Roshek Holiday
Nov. 15–Dec. 5 @ Roshek Lobby

Kicking off with a Grand Opening on Nov. 15, three weeks of continuous holiday flavored events fill the historic Roshek Building lobby in downtown Dubuque. This year’s non-profit silent auction wraps up the celebration on Thursday, Dec. 5. Watch 365ink in November for details.

PAW Patrol Live: The Great Pirate Adventure!
Nov. 19 @ Five Flags Arena

The heroic pups from the top-rated animated preschool series PAW Patrol embark on a pirate-themed adventure to uncover hidden treasure during the hit live stage show.

30th Annual Galena Nouveau Wine Weekend
Nov. 22–23 @ Galena, IL

Celebrate the new vintage with wine-inspired lunches, dinners and tastings in Galena, IL. The official release of the Le Beaujolais Nouveau wine is delivered by Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery delivers their Nouveau wine via horse-drawn wagon. Galena comes alive with a multitude of offerings: vineyard tours, wine dinners, wine tasting, lodging, shopping and spa specials. Visit nouveauweekend.com.

Cable Car Square Christmas Candlewalk
Nov. 23 @ 4th & Bluff St

5–8 PM. Hundreds of luminaries will line Bluff and 4th Streets lighting the way as families gather at the foot of the famed Fenelon Place Elevator waiting for the Jolly ‘ol Elf himself along with the Missus to ride the last cable car trip of the year! Throngs of people will gather, singing songs accompanied by KAT-FM. This is an amazing event for kids of all ages.

Reflections in the Park
Nov. 28–Jan. 1 @ Louis Murphy Park

Hillcrest Family Services’ annual lights festival celebrates their 25th anniversary. Visitors will see many new displays and have the option to participate in the featured “Memory Lane,” an opportunity to remember your loved one(s) in a special way at Reflections in the Park. Admission is $10 per vehicle at the gate. Santa Claus will visit on Mondays from 5–8 PM during December. Visit hillcrest-fs.org.

Merry Millwork Market
Dec. 6–7 @ Dubuque Millwork District

A unique holiday shopping experience featuring the best of local crafts, sips and bites benefiting non-profits of the Dubuque Millwork Collective.

Wynton Marsalis Big Band Holidays
Dec. 9 @ U.D. Heritage Center

Made up of 15 of the finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, bring a beloved New York tradition to Heritage Center with Big Band Holidays.

A Magical Cirque Christmas
Dec. 12 @ Five Flags Arena

Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists from all corners of the world, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live.

Oak Ridge Boys Down Home Christmas
Dec. 19 @ Five Flags Arena

For almost 30 years, Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys have been a part of their fans’ holiday seasons with their annual Christmas tour. A mixture of traditional and contemporary songs, plus their own classic hits!

Toys For Tots Kids’ Christmas
Dec. 22 @ Five Flags Arena

Noon–3 PM. One gigantic and completely FREE Christmas bash hosted by Toys For Tots, The Dubuque Police Department and 365ink and sponsored by Theisen’s and Paramount Ambulance. Hundreds of local kids enjoy music, dancing, inflatable rides, treats, plus photos with Santa as well as Frozen characters. And every kid gets a free Star Wars plush toy set just for coming.

Retro Rewind
Jan. 4 @ Five Flags Center

9 AM. Enjoy a day of music, shopping, hot rods, kustoms, and vintage motorcycles on display. Check out the vendors selling their original art, shirts, stickers, patches etc. in the automotive vendor area. Vintage guitars will be on display and dealers will be selling off some rare items in the guitar vendor row. Visit vintagetorquefest.com.

Special Olympics Iowa Winter Games
Jan. 13 @ Across Dubuque

More than 400 athletes with intellectual disabilities from across the state competing in Alpine and Nordic skiing, figure skating, snowshoeing, speed skating and more. The Grand River Center, Sundown Ski Area, Albrecht Acres and Mystique Community Ice Center will host the competitions and activities.

IceFest
Jan. 18–20 @ River Museum & Aquarium

The Museum & Aquarium will present special winter-related programs daily throughout IceFest including historic ice harvesting on the river, winter crafts, snow and ice sculptures, and eagle watching. Featured activities include professional snow and ice sculpting, traditional Native American outdoor winter games, live animal programs, winter safety demonstrations, appearances by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, and more. Visit rivermuseum.com.

Galena Whiskey Weekend
Jan. 25 @ Turner Hall (Galena, IL)

Sip your way through winter with 175+ whiskey offerings, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a Glencairn keepsake glass. Visit galenawhiskeyweekend.com

Dubuque on Ice Brewfest
Feb. 15 @ Mystique Ice Center

1–4 PM. Tri-State beer lovers, mark your calendars! Hosted once again by the Mystique Community Ice Center, Dubuque on Ice Brewfest will feature beer from 30+ breweries, plus wine, spirits, specialty cheeses, sausage and chocolates, and live music. Visit dubuquebrewfest.com.

Galena Mardi Gras Pub Crawl and Parade
Feb. 21–22 @ Galena, IL

Pub crawlers gather at the Green Street Tavern/DeSoto House and work their way up Galena’s Main Street Friday night ending up at The Grape Escape with live music (sign-up starts a 2 PM at the Grape Escape). Saturday evening at dusk (5:30 PM) the Mardi Gras Parade will feature all the masks and beads for which Mardi Gras parades are known. Galena nightspots will be hosting Mardi Gras celebrations, too. Visit galenapubcrawl.com.

365 Impact Awards
Feb. 25 @ Mississippi Moon Bar

7 PM. The 365 Impact Awards, sponsored by Premier Bank and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, return for the 12th big year to the Mississippi Moon Bar at the Diamond Jo Casino. The 365ink Impact Award is for those who choose to make an effort to impact the world around them 365 days a year. It’s meant for those who believe in our community and are willing to do something to make it better for everyone. The event is FREE (must be 21).

Dyersville St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Mar. 14 @ Dyersville, IA

1:30 PM. Ancient Order of Hibernians—Dubuque County #1 presents Dyersville’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Mass. A church celebration at 10:30 AM at St. Francis Xavier Basilica is followed by the huge parade which starts at 1 PM with route through downtown!

BestFest 2020
Mar. 19 @ Grand River Center

A benefit to support Hospice of Dubuque is just as it sounds, a celebration of the best Dubuque has to offer, as voted on by you, the people of Dubuque. Winners will gather and give away samples of their best products. Voting happens by ballot in the Dubuque Advertiser as the event nears. It always sells out in advance, so get your tickets early.

Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend
Mar. 27–28 @ Galena, IL

Enjoy two days of fine wine and exquisite food prepared by some of the area’s best chefs with plenty of other fun activities all set in historic Galena, IL. Arguably the most popular event of the weekend are the Grand Tastings hosted by Family Beer & Liquor at Turner Hall, featuring over 250 wines, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and silent auction. This will sell out. Visit wineloversweekend.com.

Julien Dubuque International Film Festival
Apr. 22–26 @ Downtown Dubuque

Independent films, including documentaries, features, and shorts, will be screened in venues throughout downtown Dubuque, as well as special panels and evening events. Join directors, producers, actors, and filmmakers as they showcase their films and are available for Q&As. Visit julienfilmfest.com.

Vintage Torque Fest 2019
May 1–2 @ Dubuque County Fairgrounds

A weekend of hot rods, motorcycles, music and more. Celebrating a range of hot rod culture, Vintage Torque Fest also features a swap meet, a model car contest, hot laps and races, hot rod-themed art and vendors, and a contest for pinup girls. Visit vintagetorquefest.com.

Mac and Cheese Fest
May 7 @ Grand River Center

5–8 PM. With three amazing years of golden, gooey pasta-loving in the books, look for more of the same decadent cheesy goodness in 2020. More than 20 area chefs bringing their A-game to the competition, plus live music, drinks and more. Visit macandcheesefestdbq.com.