10 Colorful Lakeside Festivals and What Makes Them Unique | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Lakeside festivals offer unique celebrations that blend local culture with stunning settings.
  • They provide an array of diverse experiences, from food and wine to performing arts.
  • Each festival garners its own flavor of tradition, making it a special event for attendees.

Lakeside festivals provide a splash of color and culture that are as vibrant and refreshing as the serene waters they border.

From the buoyant rhythms at a music festival in New York to the fiery excitement of dragon boat races in Wisconsin, each festival offers a unique experience.

You can thrill in the ascension of colorful balloons in Arizona's clear skies or savor the complex notes of a craft beer on Michigan’s shores.

These community gatherings are not just about the setting; they're a celebration of local traditions, art, and cuisines, creating an atmosphere where you, your friends, and family can create memorable moments.

Established on the foundations of lakeside beauty, these festivals marry panoramic views with distinct activities and entertainment options, setting the stage for unforgettable experiences.

Table of contents


Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Nevada/California

Have you ever dreamed of enjoying Shakespeare's masterpieces with a natural alpine backdrop that takes your breath away?

Well, you're in luck!

The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is not your average theatrical experience.

Picture this: you're seated in an open-air amphitheater, the scent of pine in the air, as the sun dips behind the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the first lines of a Shakespearean classic roll across the stage.

Here's what makes the festival a must-see:

  • The Festival takes place in a unique setting at Sand Harbor State Park, where the beauty of Lake Tahoe enhances the theatrical experience.
  • Performances are held daily from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm, giving you the perfect excuse to fill your evenings with culture and nature.
  • With tickets ranging from $32 to $460, there's an option for every budget.
  • And get this, the Festival doesn't play hard to get; it runs from June 28, 2024, to August 25, 2024, so there's plenty of time to catch a show.

Statistically speaking, awesome seats go fast, especially for signature performances.

For some events, reserved seating sells out in mere minutes!

So, don't wait until it's too late—mark your calendar for the performance dates, which include a showcase series starting July 30, 2024.

Remember those nights you wished for something out of the ordinary?

This is it.

Don't miss the chance to add a sprinkle of Shakespearean magic to your summer.

It's plays, poetry, and the great outdoors all wrapped up in one delightful package.

See you under the stars!

Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, Vermont

Ever been to a festival where history comes to life amidst boat races and local bites?

The Lake Champlain Maritime Festival is exactly that––a festivity rooted in the maritime legacy of Vermont.

It's not just any lake gathering, it's a splash of history with a modern twist!

What's on the Agenda?

  • Witness a fleet of watercraft including the culturally vibrant Dragon Boats, where teams, comprising many breast cancer survivors, show off their rowing prowess in 41-foot-long boats.
  • Enjoy live music that echoes through the waterfront, bringing together beats from the past and present.
  • Step back in time with historical reenactments that detail the lake's storied past.

Festive Features:

  • Local Food Vendors: Got a craving? From sweet treats to savory eats, the fare here is as fresh as the lakeside breeze.
  • Craft Stalls: Artisans from around the region offer a treasure trove of handmade goods. Perfect for finding that special keepsake!

What makes this festival truly unique is its family-friendly vibe, with activities and entertainment that cater to all ages.

Whether you're a history buff, a water sports enthusiast, or just looking to enjoy some quality time by the lake, this festival ensures a memorable experience.

Remember, this isn't a one-day event.

Spread over several days, each with its own set of attractions, the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival invites you to immerse in the culture and charm of Burlington's waterfront.

So, why not mark your calendar for the next fest?

It's an opportunity to make waves and create stories of your own by the scenic Lake Champlain.

Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival, Wisconsin

Have you ever felt the rhythm of drums echoing over water as sleek boats slice through the waves?

That’s exactly what you’ll experience at the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival.

Held annually in Superior, Wisconsin, this is not just a race; it's a vibrant celebration of community spirit and culture.

Imagine the thrill:

  • Teams: About 80-100 of them, paddling in sync to the beat of a drum.
  • Boats: Adorned with dragon heads, tails, and scales, they’re a sight to behold.
  • Spectators: Hundreds gather, cheering from the beautiful Barkers Island Beach.

Why should you mark your calendar?

  • Cultural Connection: It's a day to dive into a tradition rooted in history.
  • Community and Teamwork: Paddle alongside locals and experience camaraderie.
  • Sights and Sounds: Cultural performances that dazzle, and music that uplifts.
  • Fireworks Display: A bright spectacle that lights up the night lake sky.

What makes it truly unique?

You get the chance to be a part of an event that nurtures teamwork and celebrates local heritage.

Embrace the atmosphere full of live music, food vendors, and activities like a 5K run and tug-of-war.

You might also find yourself making friends with participants from all corners of the region who share a love for this exciting lakeside festival.

So, are you ready to join the fun?

Remember, it's more than just paddling; it's about making a splash in a community festival where there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair, Arizona

Have you ever witnessed a sky painted with a kaleidoscope of colors as hot air balloons ascend gracefully over waters reflecting the morning sun?

Well, at the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair in Arizona, this dreamy scene becomes a vibrant reality.

Set against the backdrop of the stunning Lake Havasu, the festival is quite the spectacle, featuring gorgeous hot air balloons that take to the skies in a symphony of color and whimsy.

If you're an early bird, the sight of balloons preparing for launch in the delicate light of dawn is nothing short of magical.

What can you expect when you get there?

Aside from the main attraction of giant balloons, there's also a carnival atmosphere that tickles every fancy.

Jam to live entertainment, meander through the food vendors for a tasty treat, or feel the rush of adrenaline as you soar in a balloon ride yourself.

It's a whole weekend of fun that caters to adventure seekers and leisure lovers alike.

Entertainment and Food:

  • Live music to groove to
  • A variety of local cuisines
  • Carnival rides for that touch of thrill

Balloon Activities:

  • Tethered balloon rides available for a unique perspective
  • Watching balloon launches and the competitive races
  • Glowing balloon displays after sundown

The event isn't only about floating through the skies or indulging in festival delights—it's about making memories.

Whether you're eight or eighty, there's something at the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair that'll make you feel like a kid again.

Don't you think it's time to mark your calendar for a weekend of awe and excitement?

See you there!

Burning Foot Beer Festival, Michigan

Have you ever wanted to sip a cold craft beer with your toes in the sand?

Look no further than the Burning Foot Beer Festival in Muskegon, Michigan.

This isn't just any beer festival; it's Michigan's only barefoot beer festival on the beach.

Imagine standing on the stunning shores of Lake Michigan, craft beer in hand, the summer sun setting in the background—sounds like paradise, right?

This lakeside festival happens annually in August, and here's why it's a must-attend event:

  • Beach Vibes: You get to camp right on Pere Marquette Beach. Waking up to the sounds of waves after a night of beer-tasting? Yes, please!
  • Craft Beer Galore: The festival showcases an extraordinary selection of beers from the Lakeshore Brewers Guild's breweries—some of the finest in the Great Lakes region.
  • Musical Waves: Not only do you get to enjoy local brews but also groove to both local and national music acts.
  • Art & Food: It's also about indulging in local art and food, which means this is as much a feast for the eyes and the palate as it is for the soul.

In 2024, mark your calendar for August 24th as the 9th Annual Burning Foot Beer Festival rolls in.

Whether you're a beer aficionado or just looking for a unique summer experience, this festival offers something for everyone.

Besides the brews and tunes, you'll be part of a vibrant community coming together to celebrate the joy of summer on one of the most beautiful beaches in Michigan.

Ready to go barefoot?

Lake Chelan Winterfest, Washington

Ever dreamed of a winter wonderland woven along the shores of a serene lake?

Well, let me paint you a picture of Lake Chelan Winterfest in Washington.

Imagine the crisp winter air as you explore the beautiful lakeside town turned festive playground.

Eager for some frosty fun?

From January 12-21, 2024, Chelan is your go-to spot.

The festival kicks off with activities bound to sprinkle joy into your winter blues.

Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Winterfest Wine Walk (11am-5pm): Sip on local wines, a true taste of Chelan.
  • Ice Bar Opens (12pm): Cool vibes and chilled drinks await.
  • Live music by Scott Heuston, Glenn Snyder, and the Kevin Jones Band: Groove to the tunes as you chill!

Looking for something thrilling?

Warm up with a beach bonfire and gaze at the fireworks.

It's a spectacle you won't forget!

Delight in intricate ice sculptures, crafted with skill and care—a shimmering gallery on the snowy backdrop of Chelan.

And don't miss the infamous Ice Bar, where the clinking of glasses underscores this wintry festivity.

So grab your coat, muster your winter spirit, and plunge into the unique merriment of Lake Chelan Winterfest.

Wine, sculptures, music, and fireworks—what's not to love?

Here's to creating chilly memories that will warm your heart for years to come! 🍷❄️🎆

Lake George Music Festival, New York

Have you ever pictured yourself enjoying sublime classical melodies with a scenic lakeside backdrop?

Well, the Lake George Music Festival is the place where music lovers like you converge to relish this unique blend of nature and artistry.

Scheduled from August 11-22, 2024, this event is a treasure trove for fans of both classical and new music.

Imagine relaxing by the idyllic Lake George, soaking up the sun, and then being swept away by a tide of musical notes crafted by world-renowned talents.

Aren't you curious about what's in store for this year?

Here's a taste:

  • World-Class Performances: Talented musicians from all over the globe grace the stages.
  • Inspiring Setting: Hosted in historic venues along the picturesque lake, you're in for visually and sonically delightful experiences.
  • Diverse Repertoire: From celebrated classics to innovative modern pieces, diversity is the festival's forte.
  • More Than Just Concerts: Prepare yourself for an array of unique events that go beyond the traditional concert format.

Held at various venues—including the acoustic charm of Fort William Henry's Carriage House—the festival's atmosphere is as much a part of the experience as the music itself.

Tickets and season passes are already on sale, so why wait?

As one of the nation’s foremost artist retreats, the festival not only showcases exceptional talent but also provides an intimate connection between the performers and audience.

Have you got your calendar marked yet?

It's not just about the music; it's about those memories waiting to be created.

So, will you join other aficionados from August 11 to 22, for an unforgettable lakeside serenade?

Remember, it's more than a festival; it's the perfect symphony of culture, nature, and community.

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, California

Ever been to Bavaria?


Well, you're in for a treat at Big Bear Lake!

Imagine a slice of German tradition right on the lakeside, where the vibes of a traditional Oktoberfest blend with Californian sunshine.

From September 7th to November 2nd, the alpine scenery of Big Bear Lake transforms into a bustling fest, complete with all the bells and whistles of its Munich counterpart.

Picture yourself chowing down on authentic German eats and sipping on frothy beer while oom-pah bands fill the air with festive music.

Got a competitive streak?

Test your might in the stein holding matches, or team up for some log sawing.

And let's not forget the crowd-pleaser: the Queen Stein Carrying Contest.

It's a true show of strength and skill!

  1. Dates: Sep 7 - Nov 2, 2024
  2. Location: Big Bear Lake, California
  3. Festivities:
  1. Traditional German food and beer
  2. Stein holding matches
  3. Log sawing competitions
  4. Safe slam beer drinking races (non-alcoholic)
  5. Queen Stein Carrying Contest

But wait—there's more!

You'll love the polka dancing.

Bet you'll be tempted to swing along, even if you've got two left feet.

And if you're in for a bit more of a chill vibe, revel in the good company of friends and family, because let's be real, that's what Oktoberfest is all about, right?

So, grab your lederhosen or dirndl—if you've got 'em—and make your way to Big Bear Lake.

It's more than just a festival; it's a community gathering that celebrates fun, culture, and good times.

See you there!

Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Pub Crawl, Missouri

Have you ever experienced Mardi Gras with a twist of lakeside zest?

At the Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Pub Crawl, you're in for a treat that's as colorful as it is unique.

Imagine a scene where vibrant costumes and joyous celebrations meet the calm shores of a beautiful lake.

Why does this festival stand out?

Well, for starters, it's not your usual Mardi Gras bash.

There's something special about celebrating amidst Missouri's scenic beauty.

The festival boasts an exciting lineup of live music, ensuring that whether you're here for the tunes or the party atmosphere, you're sure to be entertained.

  • Live Music: Dance to local bands as they fill the air with energy.
  • Themed Parties: Each venue has its own vibe, making for a diverse experience.
  • Shuttle Service: Hop between bars and restaurants safely and with ease.

You're probably wondering, "What about the nitty-gritty details?" The event unfolds at multiple venues around the Lake of the Ozarks, connected by a convenient shuttle service.

Not only does this allow you to indulge in the festivities without the worry of transportation, but it also gives you a chance to explore the lake's offerings.

Remember, it's more than just drinking; it's a whole community coming together to celebrate in an environment that's welcoming and exhilarating.

The Mardi Pub Crawl seals its uniqueness with its lakeside appeal and unwavering spirit of celebration.

Smiles, laughter, and new friends – what more could you ask for in a festival?

So, grab your beads and your festive spirit, and let the good times roll!

South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival, Nevada/California

Have you ever imagined sipping a fine wine with the stunning backdrop of Lake Tahoe?

The South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival is your ticket to that reality.

Set in the enchanting terrain that straddles Nevada and California, this festival is a celebration for your senses.

Picture gourmet foods, fine wines, and a breathtaking lakeside setting—what's not to love?

What can you expect?

Well, get ready to rub shoulders with culinary masters as you indulge in a Grand Market Expo, the festival's signature event.

You'll have three delightful hours to sample an array of foods and beverages.

Fancy a cooking demo?

They've got those too, with mouth-watering food pairings to showcase the region's culinary prowess.

  • Sampling wide selection of foods and wines
  • Cooking demonstrations from renowned chefs
  • Stunning views of Lake Tahoe
  • Culinary presentations and seminars

The festival's warm spirit under crisp autumn skies usually arrives in October, making it a perfect getaway to experience the changing seasons.

And with a third annual celebration already under its belt, this festival has proven to be a must-go event for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike.

Feeling tempted?

Throw in some lively discussions, expert-led presentations, and culinary wonders waiting for you to explore.

You might just find yourself marking your calendar for a long weekend at the South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival.

Don't forget to savor every moment—and every bite!