Fall Food/Drink Festivals In (& Near) Milwaukee

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    Where to enjoy food and drink fests in Southeastern Wisconsin this fall

    ••• Fall color on Milwaukee's Lincoln Memorial Drive. Visit Milwaukee

    http://www.visitmilwaukee.orgAutumn in Milwaukee means it’s time to hit the road and venture beyond the city limits to explore and appreciate finds like a farm stand, colorful fall foliage, apple cider, local wines, pumpkins and craft beer. Within a two-hour drive are quite a few food and drink festivals that celebrate all things imbibing and noshing. From the capital city of Madison to the company town of Kohler, rev your engines. Here’s where to go. The good news is that there are plenty of fests in Milwaukee and its nearby suburbs, too, which might introduce you to a new restaurant or craft-beverage producer. 

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  • 02 of 10

    Taste of Madison

    ••• Taste of Madison. Taste of Madison

    What: Taste of Madison
    When: Sept. 3-4, 2016

    Where: Capitol Square, Madison

    Admission cost: Free (food/drink costs extra)

    A staple in Madison each fall since the early 1980s, this year’s line-up includes 80 restaurants representing 200-some selections, as well as 26 beverage stands. Live music (35 bands across three stages) keeps the mood bright. Everything is priced between $1 and $4, and around six ounces, leaving lots of room to sample.

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  • 03 of 10

    Indian Summer Festival

    ••• Indian Summer. Indian Summer

    What: Indian Summer Festival

    When: Sept. 9-11, 2016

    Where: Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee (downtown)

    Admission cost: $15

    From fry bread to Indian tacos, and bison burgers, too, the spotlight is on what Native Americans eat today as well as historical foods deeply embedded in their traditions. Sprinkled throughout the grounds are food stands selling various foods at the heart of Native American communities, particularly in Wisconsin.

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  • 04 of 10

    10 Days in Tosa

    ••• Classic Benedict at Blue's Egg. Blue's Egg

    What: 10 Days in Tosa

    When: Sept. 12-21, 2016

    Where: 14 restaurants in Wauwatosa

    Admission cost: Free (meal costs are extra)

    In recent years, Tosa’s dining scene has exploded with new options and what better time to try them out than during this annual event, which features 10 days of special offers at 14 participating eateries. The list includes Eddie Martini’s, Hue, Juniper 61, Blue’s Egg, Pizzeria Piccola, BelAir Cantina Tosa and Maxie’s.

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  • 05 of 10

    Apple Harvest Festival

    ••• Apple Harvest Festival. Waukesha County

    What: Apple Harvest Festival

    When: Sept. 17, 2016

    Where: Retzer Nature Center, S14 W28167 Madison St., Waukesha

    Admission cost: $5 per carload

    It wouldn’t be autumn in Wisconsin without biting into a crisp apple just plucked off a tree. At this apple-themed festival are fun family-friendly activities like an apple-pie baking contest, folk concerts, guided nature hikes and horse-drawn wagon rides. For sale are apple pies, apple crisps and caramel apples.

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  • 06 of 10

    Wine & Harvest Festival

    ••• Wine and Harvest Festival. Wine and Harvest Festival

    What: Wine & Harvest Festival

    When: Sept. 17-18, 2016

    Where: Cedar Creek Winery, N70 W6340 Bridge Rd, Cedarburg

    Admission cost: Free

    While the fest is hosted at a winery (featuring a grape stomp to mark the harvest), the focus is on more than vino, with food vendors selling locally inspired eats at the Festival Food Court (fried cheese, gyros, apple-flavored brats, cranberry-turkey wraps and grilled corn on the cob). Stock up your pantry and fridge for fall and winter with honey, cheese, maple syrup, jellies and sausage—all from Wisconsin. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off is Saturday and the Giant Pumpkin Charity Regatta (where paddlers try to navigate in a large carved-out pumpkin) is on Sunday.

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  • 07 of 10

    Wisconsin Harvest Fair

    ••• Wisconsin Harvest Fair. Wisconsin Harvest Fair

    What: Wisconsin Harvest Fair

    When: Sept. 23-26, 2016

    Where: 640 S. 84th St., West Allis

    Admission cost: Free

    Just about every fall activity you can think of is at this family-friendly three-day event, such as pumpkin carving, farmers market, a pumpkin patch, kiddie tractor maze, a make-your-own-scarecrow activity, mini pumpkin decorating, hayrides and even pumpkin bowling. Hungry? There’s an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Free entertainment on local stages rounds out the weekend.

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  • 08 of 10

    Great Lakes Brew Fest

    ••• Great Lakes Brew Fest. Great Lakes Brew Fest

    What: Great Lakes Brew Fest

    When: Sept. 17, 2016

    Where: Racine Zoo, 200 Goold St., Racine

    Admission cost: $50

    As Southeast Wisconsin’s largest beer event, attracting nearly 5,000 people each year, this is for the aficionados who lust after craft brews. Around 400 beers, ciders and meads are poured and there is a home-brew tasting area featuring home brewers who live in the Midwest. Hosted at the zoo with Lake Michigan views, music is provided by The Kilties, a drum and bugle corps, and food (from fried cheese curds to grilled meats) is for purchase, making it a perfect autumn day. As the fest often sells out, it’s recommended to buy tickets online via this link (http://www.greatlakesbrewfest.com/tickets.html).

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  • 09 of 10

    Kohler Food & Wine Experience

    ••• Kohler Food + Wine Experience. American Club Resort

    What: Kohler Food & Wine Experience 

    When: Oct. 20-23, 2016

    Where: The American Club, 419 Highland Drive, Kohler

    Admission cost: various costs, from $25+ (tickets go on sale in August)

    Considered Wisconsin's premier food and wine event, the four days are packed with visits and demonstrations from celebrity chefs (this year's lineup includes Aarón Sánchez, Amanda Freitag and members of America's Test Kitchen. A grand tasting of wines is complimented by wine seminars, tailored to both wine novices and wine geeks alike.

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  • 10 of 10

    Cupcake Fest MKE

    ••• Cupcakes at Cupcake Fest MKE. Cupcake Fest MKE

    What: Cupcake Fest MKE

    When: Oct. 15, 2016

    Where: Mitchell Park Domes, 524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee (South Side)

    Admission Cost: $39, VIP tickets; $7, adults general admission; and $5, students and seniors general admission ($3-$5 each for cupcakes, cupcake push pops and chocolate-mousse "dirt cups")

    Catering to sweet-tooths and home bakers each fall, Cupcake Fest MKE is sponsored by Classy Girl Cupcakes. Proceeds go back to the Domes, funding its restoration and Mitchell Park Horticultural Society. There are fun family-friendly activities like Cupcake Land (a life-size Candyland-type game), frosting cupcakes at the Cupcake Factory, cupcake scavenger hunt, cupcake-coloring station, cupcake-creation contest, DJ dance party and the opportunity to help decorate a 6-foot-tall cake. There's even join going to be live music from YouTube sensation Gina Naomi Baez, who has a song titled... "Cupcakes."