What to do in Madison this July
Make the absolute most out of this month and indulge yourself with these local (and primarily outdoor) events.
It is officially sweet, sweet summertime. Make the most out of this month with loved ones while indulging in all the music, food, drink and outdoor glory that Madison has to offer with these events.
Stoughton Fair, July 1-4
Channel your inner cowboy/girl/person and check out the show animals and shenanigans at this year’s Stoughton Fair. 4-H events and food stands will be aplenty, in addition to your standard contests of the pie-eating, muscle-bearing and wood-carving types.
Madtown Mannish Boys, July 2
Now that life is beginning to feel a bit more normal, Capital Brewery is back hosting local musicians on Friday nights. July 2 brings out the best in the Madtown Mannish Boys, a boogie-worthy blues group inspired by legendary Chicagoans like Muddy Waters and Otis Spann.
Urban Unicycling Competition and Showcase, July 2
While most of us cannot hold our own on a unicycle, there is a shocking amount of people that can do so while freestyling, through obstacles or at obscene speeds. The showcase at Garver Feed Mill will consist of three competitive events — flat land, XStyle and speed trials — pulling unicyclists from across the Madison area.
The Rascal Theory, July 3
Come back out to Come Back In for brews, bites and the bluesy musings of Roscoe Foster and the Rascal Theory. The tap list comes from near and far, and the late night menu is loaded with cheesy and fried delicacies.
Music on the Lake: Troye Shanks, July 8
Music on the Lake is back at The East Side Club, so cozy up to Monona and enjoy the tunes of tenured singer/songwriter, Troye Shanks. Shanks will show off his own original tracks, in addition to strumming along to fan favorites like Bruce Springsteen and Snoop Dogg.
Waubesa Surf ‘n Turf Challenge, July 8
No steak and shrimp will be eaten at this take on surf ‘n turf, but you can play some golf and go fishing in the name of environmentalism. Benefitting the Clean Lakes Alliance, teams or individuals can sign up for a day of feel-good fun on its website.
Home Garden Tour, July 9-10
Whether you’re a gardener or kill anything that you plant, everyone with a soul has a soft spot for sanctuaries of flowers. Tour eight private gardens on Madison’s west side, with stops in Fox Ridge, Sunset Village, Westmorland and University Hill Farms and learn a bit about the work behind the gardens.
Art Fair Off The Square
Art Fair on the Square might have been pushed to September, but still embrace art in July with the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople’s Art Fair Off the Square. For two days meet 140 Wisconsin artists and craftspeople along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Bear In the Forest with Deryk G. & Sylvie Lou, July 10
If a self-titled seven song project drops in the middle of the Memorial Union Terrace, it certainly does make a sound. Bear, known off-stage as Alberto Kanost, will be taking their newest album public on July 10, with a terrace-side performance to kick it off. Alt-pop artist Deryk G. and acoustic singer-songwriter Sylvie Lou will also be performing.
The Dinner Detective, July 10 & 24
Get dinner and actually be part of the show with the Madison East DoubleTree’s interactive comedy murder mystery. Pick your entree and show up with a watchful eye — you might just find (or be) the prime suspect.
Hidden History: A Walk on Madison’s Weird Side, July 13
Since Madison was founded in 1848, it is safe to say that our sidewalks and streets have plenty of stories to tell. Explore the eccentric past of our city with the Wisconsin Historical Society on a downtown tour, and learn about our hidden past from murder trials to (allegedly) fictional creatures.
Presentations in the Park – Whooping Crane Conservation, July 15
The Lussier Family Heritage Center is welcoming the International Crane Foundation’s Elizabeth Condon for a presentation on one of our favorite local birds, the whooping crane. Stop by early and snag some food truck eats or Delta Beer Lab brews, and find out more about these important creatures and how to help.
Dane County Fair, July 15-18
It’s fair season, which means Alliant Energy Center will soon be transformed with carnival rides, food stands and more. Thursday is Hometown Hero Day, Friday is Kids Day, Saturday is Farm Fresh Day, and the fair concludes on Sunday with Family Day. Visit the Dane County Fair website for more details, as there are different events and vendors each day.
Andrew Santino, July 15-17
FX, Showtime and ABC star Andrew Santino is bringing his stand-up routine to Comedy Club on State, so treat yourself to a lighthearted evening of jokes and drinks. Santino’s podcast, “Whiskey Ginger,” is a ridiculous ode to the mischievousness of the entertainment industry, so he has a tale or two to retell.
Maxwell Street Days on State Street, July 15-18
Embrace Downtown Madison with Maxwell Street Days. The annual event brings discounts at area businesses. More than 40 businesses are participating this year.
Maxwell Street Days in New Glarus, July 16-18
Shop your heart out in America’s Little Switzerland, as the Maxwell Street Days celebration means deals galore at popular New Glarus shops. The restaurants, pubs, wineries and more will be awaiting your much-deserved shopping break, too.
Charlie Berens at the Sauk County Fair, July 17
The man behind Manitowoc Minute will be flexing his funny bone at the Sauk County Fair this month, so make the trek to Baraboo for your fair share of laughs. An Emmy-winning journalist, Berens knows just how to portray us Cheeseheads in the best way possible.
LANCO @ Keva Live, July 17
Hailing from Nashville, LANCO is a five-piece country band ready to show Madison what it means to be a “Honky Tonk Hippie.” The Keva Sports Center in Middleton will lose the sports equipment and opt for a concert set-up for a night of live tunes.
Mount Horeb Art Fair, July 17-18
Main Street Mount Horeb is getting artsy come mid-July, with the city’s annual art fair. Live music, a silent auction and a traditional Norwegian lunch, “Kaffe Stue,” will be among the homemade goods and plethora of trolls.
Concerts At McKee, Eddie Butts Band, July 19
Come on down to McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg for headlining entertainment, the Eddie Butts Band. Food trucks and beer will be on standby, or feel free to pack a picnic and make a whole evening of it with your family.
Ladies Must Swing, July 19
The Madison Arts Commission, Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane Arts and NewBridge are banding together to host free concerts at Warner Park this summer, including a July 19 show from the jazz-happy group, Ladies Must Swing. Full of powerhouse musicians on the saxophone, trombone, trumpet and more, LMS bring high energy each time they hit the stage.
Shakespeare in Love, July 21
A modern take on the Bard’s classic work, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra has put together their “Shakespeare in Love,” show featuring bassist Xavier Foley. Snag a blanket pod or spot in the bleachers for this event, with all ticket proceeds going directly to wages for the orchestra’s 34 musicians.
The Madison Classical Guitar Society, July 21
As part of the free music series at the outdoor amphitheater at Blue Mound State Park, the Madison Classical Guitar Society will feature solo guitar performances from 7-9 p.m. on July 31. Enjoy a mixture of classical, Celtic, and Flamenco guitar, featuring Christopher Allen and Matthew Ackerman.
Dinner in Dane: A Farm to Table Experience, July 22
Chef David Heide of Liliana’s Restaurant has a four-course, farm-to-table meal with your name on it. Held at the J. Henry & Sons family farm in Dane, a portion of the proceeds from the dinner will go to Little John’s, a community kitchen in Fitchburg.
All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare, July 23-25, 30-31
The Madison Shakespeare Co. is celebrating its first year in the Madison Country Day School in Waunakee, so bring your own chair for this two-weekend run of Shakespeare’s not-as-iconic comedic play. The cast have waited a year for this performance, so grab tickets while you can.
Atwoodfest, July 24
Eight hours of tunes is coming to Atwood Avenue, with four different local headliners to fill out the evening. Steely Dane goes first, followed by Natty Nation and The Rousers, with disco group VO5 closing out the night.
Frogwater, July 24
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park is frequently taken over by bands of all genres, and this month, the group Frogwater will hit the stage. Blues, pop, classical and Celtic are all in these Milwaukee natives’ repertoires, so you’ll get a taste of it all.
Lunar Flow Music and Arts Fair, July 24
“A movement driven music and arts fair,” Lunar Flow strives to create an inclusive, empowering and energetic environment for all to dance and vibe in. Performances in flow, aerial and fire spinning are scheduled, with plenty of body painters, stilt walkers and art vendors booked.
Garden Party, July 24
The lavender garden at the Vintage Fields venue of Farmin’ Betty’s will be in bloom, which can only mean one thing: Rosé, cheeseboards and a good old fashioned garden party. Take some glamorous photos, sip a little wine, and devour eats from catering company Twisted Radish.
Opera in the Park, July 24
Since 2002, Opera in the Park has been a staple of Madison Opera, bringing in over 136 different musicians and singers in that time. This year, listen to the ensemble of instrumentalists as they support soprano Amanda Majeski, mezzo Rehanna Thelwell, tenor Andrew Stenson and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen.
Friends Music in the Park, July 24
Listen to Guy Fields and Friends play a mix of blues and country songs at the Blue Mound State Park outdoor amphitheater. The event is free and will take place from 6-9 p.m.
New Glarus 175th Anniversary Celebration, July 30
New Glarus is celebrating a big ole’ birthday this year, complete with food, a parade, and most importantly, the Swiss Volksfest. Expect the typical historical flashbacks with choral folklore music, yodeling, flag throwing and more.
The Soul Doctors, CD Release Show, July 30
The Soul Doctors are here, and the verdict is in: You are gravely in need of a good time. Blues, pop, rock and folk meet somewhere in the middle with this musical group, so listen to their new CD right after its release with this Burr Oak celebration.
Modest Mouse, July 30
Big bands are flocking to Madtown now that vaccination rates are up, psychedelic rock band Modest Mouse is coming to The Sylvee at the end of the month. Fresh off a new album, entitled “The Golden Casket,” catch this chaotically vibrant group before they head down to Lollapalooza.
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