Best Memorial Day Weekend Festivals for 2021

While the pandemic isn’t exactly over, we are in a much better place now than the one we were in last year at this time. Vaccinations have now allowed us to visit (and hug) family and friends. We have started to eat more in restaurants, watch movies in actual theaters and even attend some festivals – I’ve already been to one!

This upcoming Memorial Day Weekend will be the first three day weekend since we have had these improvements, so many of us may actually be traveling to see family and friends. Or maybe we will stay home and have friends over for a barbeque or party.

Whatever your plans, I thought it would be helpful to give you some festival ideas both in your home state as well as your weekend destination state, in case you were traveling. This post is for the states of Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin and I will be listing them in this same order.

Please remember that, while these festivals are scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, there could be sudden changes or cancellations – so always double check before attending.

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Ohio’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Ohio: while Ohio is known to have a lot of festivals over Memorial Day Weekend, I’ve decided to stick with 3 classic Ohio fests which I have, in fact, attended and can vouch for. To find all of Ohio’s festivals, please visit https://ohiofestivals.net/ohio-festivals/

1.) Port Clinton Walleye Festival – Port Clinton, Ohio

Dates: Thursday, May 27 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.portclintonchamber.com/walleye-festival.html

Description: This festival takes place right on the water in Waterworks Parks, offering live entertainment, carnival rides, a kids fishing derby, over 130 vendors and plenty of delicious food, including perch and walleye.

My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/port-clinton-walleye-festival-revisited/

2.) Berea’s National Rib Cook-Off – Berea, Ohio

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31

Website: http://www.berearib.com/

Description: Local and national ribbers compete in this cook-off, offering guests everything from full slab dinners to pork, chicken and brisket sandwiches. Fortunately, 2 and 4 bone sampler options are available so that guests can eat from more vendors and not break the bank. There is also live entertainment, activities for the kids (climbing wall, bungee, trampoline), a Craft Beer Garden and a Corvette car show on Friday.

My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/bereas-national-rib-cook-off/

3.) Moonshine Festival – New Straitsville, Ohio

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Newstraitsvilleohio/

Description: New Straitsville has a cool moonshining history (read my experience in the link below and visit the New Straitsville History Group) and it’s great to see the working still display, walk through the town, possibly pick up a moonburger, and take in such entertainment as SCW Wrestling, all the food eating contests (hot dog, pie, dill pickle, pizza), and various musical guests. By the way, since I’ve last visited, there is now even a distillery in town called Black Diamond Distillery.

My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/moonshine-festival/

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Florida’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Florida: as temperatures increase in Florida, festival numbers start to go down, but I did find one I liked (listed below). For more festivals this weekend and throughout the rest of the year, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/florida-festivals/

1.) The Wizards Beer Festival – St. Petersburg, Florida

Dates: Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-wizards-beer-festival-st-pete-tickets-152529015391

Description: Along with over beers, ciders and various adult beverages, they will have an adult version of Butterscotch Beer (similar to butterbeer, I’m guessing). There will also be vendors in the “magic village,” love music and plenty of Harry Potter costumes.

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Georgia’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Georgia: like Florida, there aren’t a ton of festivals this Memorial Day Weekend. So I’ve only listed a really fun one for the whole family.
But if you want all the Georgia festivals this weekend and through the rest of the year, you can go to https://ohiofestivals.net/georgia-festivals/

1.) The Georgia Renaissance Festival – Fairburn, Georgia

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.garenfest.com/

Description: What could be better than a Renaissance Festival with turkey legs, artisans market selling swords and leather, costumes galore, games of skill and plenty of entertainment consisting of jousting shows, singing, comedy and more? Everything you want in a Renaissance Festival.

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Illinois’ Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Illinois: Illinois usually has many festivals this weekend, but many have already been canceled. Fortunately, I have found two that look really cool. For other festivals this weekend and throughout the year, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/illinois-festivals/

1.) HerrinFesta Italiana – Herrin, Illinois

Dates: Thursday, May 27 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.facebook.com/herrinfesta

Description: HerrinFesta Italiana is a well-noted Italian festival that offers a carnival, vendors, great entertainers, bocce tournaments and plenty of delicious Italian food. Buon appetito!

2.) Chicago Taco and Tequila Fest – Chicago, Illinois

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/504227440091211

Description: This Lincoln Park event is for festival fans who are 21 and older (being that there is an emphasis on tequila). Mixologists will be present to offer some rather delicious cocktails as well as both traditional and fun tacos to enjoy. There will also be a silent disco tent.

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Indiana’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Indiana: Indiana has a fair share of festivals still scheduled for this weekend. I’ve decided to pick two of the more interesting ones, but you can get all of Indiana’s Festivals at https://ohiofestivals.net/indiana-festivals/

1.) Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous: 18th Century Trade Fair – Vincennes, Indiana

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://www.spiritofvincennes.org/

Description: This festival celebrates the American Revolution with plenty of re-enactments, delicious food cooked over open fires (not to mention turkey legs, elk brats and fried potatoes), live music, children’s activities and demonstrations. It’s seems the perfect thing to do on Memorial Day Weekend.

2.) Penny Lane at the Park – Jeffersonville, Indiana

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://www.arotr.com/

Description: As the name suggests, Penny Lane at the Park is a Beatles’ music festival and it offers hours of non-stop music as 10-12 bands alternate between two stages. There will also be plenty of merchandise, food trucks, vendors and art installations.

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Kentucky’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Kentucky: While those near Louisville should note the Beatles’ festival going on near you in Jeffersonville, Indiana (above), there are two more festivals to consider (below). For all other Kentucky festivals this weekend and beyond, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/kentucky-festivals/

1.) Spring into Summer Festival – Oak Grove, Kentucky

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Sunday, May 30

Website: http://visitoakgroveky.com/festivals/spring-into-summer-festival-salutes-fort-campbell/

Description: Spring into Summer Salutes Fort Campbell is going to have a lot of great entertainment, including some bands, a mermaid themed Aquatic Acrobatic Show, an adventure show, and a canine stars stunt show. There will also be food vendors, gift vendors and free carnival rides.

2.) Speleofest – Bonnieville, Kentucky
Photo by Speleofest

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31

Website: http://speleofest.com/

Description: Speleofest is not your traditional festival, but it’s worth mentioning, as it’s a weekend filled with cave trips and cave exploration, even onto private properties (thanks to special access). There is a registration fee but, other than food and gear, that would be all you would pay (but it would be wise to see the minimum gear required to bring beforehand, just in case).

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Michigan’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Michigan: Recent outbreaks in the state may led to many of the cancellations for this usually busy festival weekend. Fortunately, there are still some festivals that are still scheduled for this weekend and I picked out my favorites. For all other Michigan festivals this weekend and beyond, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/michigan-festivals/

1.) Mancelona Bass Festival – Mancelona, Michigan

Dates: Thursday, May 27 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.mancelonabassfest.org/

Description: The Mancelona Bass Festival will have a carnival, craft market, car show, entertainment and two parades (Grand Parade and the Kid and Pet Parade). While there may not be a fishing tournament this year (can’t find any mention of one), there is a corn hole tournament.

2.) Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival – Eastport, Michigan

Dates: Saturday, May 29

Website: http://petoskeystonefestival.com/

Description: Petoskey Stones are rock embedded with coral fossil (see above image) and this festival celebrates the local stones in various ways, including stone skipping, stone hunts, and gem and mineral vendors. There is also a fishing pond for kids, food, entertainment, and demonstrations to make it a jam-packed festival day.

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Pennsylvania’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Pennsylvania: Many of Pennsylvania’s festival are already canceled this weekend, but there are a some gems I found. For all other Pennsylvania festivals, both this weekend and through the rest of the year, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/pennsylvania-festivals/

1.) Delaney Chevrolet Westsylvania Jazz and Blues – Indiana, Pennsylvania

Dates: Saturday, May 29

Website: https://westsylvaniajazzandblues.org/

Description: Jazz and Blues music fills the downtown streets of Indiana, Pennsylvania. In the past, there have also been vendors and children’s activities to help make this a nice family outing.

2.) Butler Rib and Music Fest – Butler, Pennsylvania

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31

Website: http://butlerribandmusicfest.com/

Description: Head to the Butler Farm Show Grounds for some delicious ribs, the perfect food for Memorial Day Weekend. While eating, there will be plenty of great music, including various tribute bands playing the tunes of Chicago, Whitesnake, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Guns and Roses.

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Tennessee’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about Tennessee: Tennessee has an impressive number of festivals this weekend and many of them look great, so I did my best to narrow it down to 6 festivals. If you want the rest of Tennessee’s festivals, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/tennessee-festivals/

1.) Sheriff Buford Pusser Festival – Adamsville, Tennessee

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Sheriff-Buford-Pusser-Festival-182633631787324/

Description: If you’ve ever seen the 1973 movie Walking Tall, you are already familiar with Sheriff Buford Pusser‘s story. To help celebrate this local legend, there will be bus tours, a car show, vendors, bluegrass music and even an Elvis impersonator.

2.) Maury County MuleFest – Columbia, Tennessee

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/478983963412406

Description: After Columbia’s Mule Day celebration was canceled for the second year in a row, people in the community got together to put on MuleFest (I love the determination). This festival will offer food and vendors, plenty of live music, local artists, military tributes and more.

3.) BigFoot Electro – Tracy City, Tennessee

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://bigfootelectro.com/

Description: While I doubt you’ll actually see the actual Bigfoot cryptid here, this music festival will have over 50 DJ’s, dancers, lasers, a fire stage, food, vendors, live painters, spiritual workshops and more. It looks like a lot of fun.

4.) Exit 56 Blues Fest – Brownsville, Tennessee

Dates: Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.exit56blues.com/

Description: The Exit 56 Blues Fest is put on by the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and will be a one day event with local barbecue, arts and crafts, a Corvette and Classic Car Cruise and a plethora of blues music. If you’re driving on I-40, be sure to get off at Exit 56.

5.) Tennessee Pirate Fest – Harriman, Tennessee

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://www.tmfaire.com/

Description: Who doesn’t love dressing as a pirate and hanging out with other pirates while watching pirate shows among 7 stages of entertainment, shopping among pirate gift vendors, eating pirate foods (turkey legs), and enjoying the pirate life in an 8 acre area? I couldn’t find any rum on the menu, but there will beer…and White Claw (Arrrrrr!).

6.) Tennessee Renaissance Festival – Arrington, Tennessee

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Monday, May 31

Website: http://www.tnrenfest.com/

Description: So if Pirates aren’t your thing, you can go a little further back in time and still enjoy wearing a funky costume while enjoying fun shows, shopping cool vendors for swords and leather and getting yourself a turkey leg (although this festival also has pork skins, pimento and chicken salad sandwiches, and a lot of desserts). There are also games of skills, rides and a lot more.

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West Virginia’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

Note about West Virginia: Here are some of the more interesting West Virginia festivals this weekend. For more this weekend and many for other weekends, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/west-virginia-festivals/

1.) West Virginia Dandelion Festival – White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Sunday, May 30

Website: http://www.wvdandelionfestival.com

Description: The West Virginia Dandelion Festival takes place in downtown White Sulphur Springs with plenty of live music, a cruise in and various activities. This looks like a smaller festival, but rather personable. On Sunday, there’s even a free Veterans BBQ luncheon.

2.) Three Rivers Festival – Fairmont, West Virginia

Dates: Thursday, May 27 – Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.facebook.com/wvthreeriversfestival/

Description: The Three Rivers Festival is bigger festival event with a carnival, live entertainment, and great food – including a pepperoni roll bake-off on Saturday. On Saturday night, there will even be a huge fireworks show. NOTE: I have listed the more recently posted dates while the image was posted earlier in the year.

3.) Webster County Woodchopping Festival – Webster Springs, West Virginia

Dates: Wednesday, May 26 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://www.facebook.com/WoodchoppingFestival/

Description: Not only do you have arts and crafts, a car and truck show, and live entertainment, but there will be a rodeo and the main event – a woodchopping competition where contestants travel as far away as New Zealand to compete.

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Wisconsin’s Memorial Day Weekend Festivals.

Note about Wisconsin: Larger Wisconsin festivals have either been canceled or modified, so I stuck with some small festivals this weekend where they may occur as intended. For all other Wisconsin festivals this weekend and beyond, you can visit https://ohiofestivals.net/wisconsin-festivals/

1.) Sturgeon Bay Art Fair – Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Dates: Saturday, May 29 – Sunday, May 30

Website: https://www.sturgeonbay.net/events/special-events/

Description: Taking place at Martin Park in downtown Sturgeon Bay, there will be food, entertainment, children’s activities and fine art from all over the US.

2.) Burlington Jamboree – Burlington, Wisconsin

Dates: Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31

Website: https://burlingtonchamber.org/event/burlington-jamboree-1

Description: This celebration, which takes the place of the Chocolate Fest, should be particularly enjoyable for kids as it’s a carnival with all your favorite fried foods. Adults will enjoy the music and beer tent.

3.) Falls Memorial Fest – Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Dates: Saturday, May 29

Website: https://www.menomoneefallsdowntown.com/memfest.html

Description: Taking place in downtown Menomonee, this street festival will have a car show, three stages of music, 60+ vendors, great food, and a Lucky Ducky Derby. Should be a fun time!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about these Memorial Day Weekend Fests. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take advantage of one or more over this weekend.

I plan on giving you more ideas based on festival weekends and festival themes in the future, so be sure to subscribe so that you don’t give them.

Thanks and and have a great weekend!