In its 35th year of pulsating grooves and musical strolls, the city's longest running lakefront music festival doesn't disappoint with saxophonist/composer Geof Bradfield, the Charles Lloyd Quartet with special guest Bill Frisell, a Fats Waller Dance Party and Donald Harrison and The Congo Square Nation with special guest Willie Pickens and others. The Chicago Jazz Festival is three days of free music and activities in Millennium Park. High school jazz groups also will be performing throughout the festival.
Noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29; 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30; and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Aug. 31, to Sept. 1. Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. Free admission. (312) 744-3316 or www.chicagojazzfestival.us.
You need just a few words in Polish to get the most of the Taste of Polonia, the largest Polish festival in the United States: pierogi and kielbasa should do it. Expect nonstop entertainment on five stages, rock, folk and polka music courtesy of Polish and American stars, dance, folk art and games galore. The food portion will include hunter's stew, stuffed cabbage, beet soup, breaded pork cutlets, sweet poppy seed cake and of course pierogies.
5 to 11 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1; and noon to 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2. Copernicus Foundation Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and free for those 12 and under. (773) 777-8898 or http://topchicago.org
Inject some big and bold into your summer during the fourth annual Chicago Fringe Festival. The festival features 50 performances including dramas, comedies, puppetry, radio shows and dance at venues throughout the Jefferson Park neighborhood. How can you choose from shows such as "Lil' Women -- a Rap Musical," "Naked in Alaska" and "Punk Grandpa"?
Show times vary, Thursday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Sept. 8. Various locations in Jefferson Park, Milwaukee and Lawrence avenues in Chicago. The festival requires a one-time $5 button purchase per patron and individual shows are $10 each. (773) 428-9977 or www.chicagofringe.org
Head out on the highway
The Harley-Davidson 110th anniversary is a yearlong, global celebration spanning 11 countries on six continents. In Milwaukee, festivities include a music festival on five stages at the lakefront Summerfest Grounds with the likes of Toby Keith, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, Dropkick Murphys, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Doobie Brothers, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Kid Rock and John Fogerty. Festival goers can browse anniversary merchandise, themed exhibits and try food and beverage from 43 local restaurants. Enjoy the unique exhibits inside with a ticket to the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Noon to 11:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Aug. 29-31; 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1. Summerfest Grounds, 200 North Harbor Drive, Milwaukee. Two-day tickets starts at $79, three-day starts at $95. Entry to the museum starts at $18. Concerts extra and ticket prices vary. (800) 258-2464 or http://110.harley-davidson.com/en_US/events/milwaukee2013
Let the chips fall
In 1975, the Sauk Prairie area of Wisconsin was dubbed the Cow Chip Capital of Wisconsin and the first State Cow Chip Throw ensued. Today it's a whole festival with food and entertainment. There will be Brazilian drums, juggling, a martial arts demonstration, kids activities and a "legends" show featuring impersonators of Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Neil Diamond. Don't miss Saturday's Tournament of Chips Parade and the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw with men's, women's and VIP divisions. Bring the little hurlers for the Children's Chip Chuckin'contest, too.
7 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30; and 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31; Marion Park, Grand and First Street, Prairie du Sac, Wis. Free admission. (608) 643-5463 or www.wiscowchip.com.
If all you know from Swiss is cheese, take a bite of out the 75th annual Wilhelm Tell Festival in New Glarus, Wis. More than 200 costumed locals (as well as goats, cows and horses) take the stage to celebrate Swiss Independence with performances of "Wilhelm Tell" in English and German. In addition to the play, there will be a children's lantern parade, yodeling and alphorn concerts, dancing, an art fair, and food and drink.
8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30; 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug, 31; and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1. The festival in the park is free. Tickets for the play costs $10, $5 for students. (800) 527-6838 or www.wilhelmtell.org