8 Family-Friendly Festivals to Embrace Winter’s Chill

Celebrate Wisconsin’s snowy season with spirited events throughout the state. These fun and free outdoor family fests are sure to keep everyone in your group entertained.  

Janboree - Waukesha

This city-wide festival in late January brings the area together for some frosty fun. Families will enjoy ice sculpting, performances, a firework show, 5K run/walk, crafts, penguin egg hunt and much more. With a whole week’s worth of fun, there’ll be plenty to keep the kids entertained. 

Winter Fest - Wausau

Embrace the winter weather with tons of activities during this one-day winter festival in downtown Wausau. Sports enthusiasts will like ice skating and curling, and families will appreciate kids ice castle building, sled dog demonstrations and free cookies for everyone! 

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship & Winterfest - Lake Geneva

With a full roster of events spanning five days, Lake Geneva’s Winterfest is certainly a celebration of the season. A winter carnival, snow race and chili cook-off dot the schedule, along with the ever-popular snow sculpting competition featuring teams from all across the U.S. vying to be champion. 

Winter Festival - Fish Creek

Have your kids ever seen a minnow race, taken a dog sled ride or watched ice kickball? If not, they’re in luck—Fish Creek’s Winter Festival features all of those and gives a thumbs-up to winter fun. Partake in outdoor activities, or escape the chill in a heated tent overlooking Green Bay and nosh on food and play wacky games (toilet seat toss, anyone?).

Northwoods Blizzard Blast - Conover

Sporty types will appreciate this fest chock-full of active endeavors. Kids can try ice bowling, archery, a dog sled dash and snowshoe baseball. Not up for participating? Just sit back and relax and watch snow sculpting, enjoy a horse-drawn ride, check out the recliner race and cap off this fun-filled day by the bonfire. 

Winter Festival - Cedarburg

Is it just us, or do freezing temps bring out the wacky in Wisconsin towns? Cedarburg’s two-day fest has barrel racing, an Ice-Burg Open Golf Tournament and even camel rides! Kids and adults will also enjoy ice-carving duels, dog-pulling contest, a chili cook-off, tractor-drawn hayrides and pancake breakfast.

Madison Winter Carnival - Madison

This annual celebration takes place at the Memorial Union, on and off the ice of Lake Mendota. The week-long fest includes live music, DIY frozen luminaries, ice boating, fireworks and much more! 

Bayfield Winter Festival - Bayfield

With skiing, tubing, plunging into the frozen lake and much more, Bayfield (which gets more than 100 inches of snowfall annually) knows how to do winter festivals right. Locals celebrate the season with a whole weekend devoted to winter’s beauty. And if you really want to fit in? You might want to check out the whitefish liver eating contest—a “famous, local tradition.” 

Searching for a place to stay during your winter escape? Explore one-of-a-kind winter lodging in Wisconsin.