The Indian Summer Festival is the largest Native American cultural celebration in the United States! Every year, the Indian Summer Festival takes place in Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront region. Annually, during the weekend after Labor Day, the festival brings Native peoples from the United States and Canada together, to share their culture with locals. The three-day event highlights the beautiful culture and heritage of Native Americans.
One of the festival’s highlights is all of the authentic Indian cuisines, such as bison stew, buffalo sandwiches, and frybread. Then, there are multiple activities for every person who visits the festival! For music fans, come and check out the many musical activities like shows of tribal group dances, musical performances, and drum circles. For the athletic fans, some festival draws include bow and arrow demonstrations, lacrosse games, and boxing exhibitions. And lastly, for the crafty fans, enjoy bead-making workshops and cooking demonstrations. And kids of all ages will love the fireworks display!
Kids and adults alike will have a wonderful time at the festival, which combines entertainment and education. There are also many contests that people enjoy watching such as the powwow contests (which some argue is the central event of the Indian Summer Festival), the grass dancing contest, the war dancing contest, and the traditional dancing contest.
The festival has been taking place since 1986, when Oneida Nation member Butch Roberts (who was also a Milwaukee police detective), created the event. Fans of the festival have been coming back year after year and approximately 45,000 people attend the event each year. Since 2016, there has also been the popular Living Culture of the Woodland’s Exhibit, where visitors can see how the Native Americans of Wisconsin traditionally made baskets, wove beads, and built houses.
The festival takes place at Henry Maier Festival Park at 200 North Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.