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Photo Credit: Mid-South Fair (Southaven, MS)

Fairs on the Great River Road

Travelers looking for deep-fried foods, hip-swinging music, and plenty of family fun should look into the local fairs and festivals. Each state along the Great River Road has one thing in common – the ability to bring people together!

  ~Minnesota~

Houston County Fair (Caledonia, MN)

Houston County Fair (Caledonia, MN)

Car derbys, local music, and fun rides! Caledonia’s annual county fair is a great spot for families and midwest music lovers. Check out their website for the scheduled events and entertainment.

SOAR with the Eagles (Wabasha, MN)

Catch the spring bald eagle migration in southeast Minnesota! A special birds of prey show and eagle programs teach newcomers and full-time birders a thing or two about  Mississippi River Valley’s eagles.

 ~Wisconsin~

Stockholm Art Fair (Stockholm, WI)

Stockholm Art Fair (Stockholm, WI)

Have an affinity for art? Stockholm’s summer art fair hosts over 100 artists to sell and showcase their work. Paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculpture, fiber, and more! Find this small town right on the Great River Road, and enjoy a day of local artistry.

Oktoberfest (La Crosse, WI)

Willkommen to the longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest. Some come for the epic parades, others for the biergarten. If you’re German or just looking for an excuse to wear some lederhosen—Oktoberfest in La Crosse is das beste!

~Iowa~

Allamakee County Fair (Waukon, IA)

Allamakee County Fair (Waukon, IA)

Travelers that like anything with wheels will have a great time in Waukon! Touch Trucks, Truck & Tractor Pull, and ATV Off Road Competition are a few events that will have you at the edge of your seat!

Mississippi Valley Fair (Davenport, IA)

Celebrate within the Quad Cities! The Grandstand performances feature big names like Keith Urban, Pitbull, Locash and more. The fair also hosts a variety of competitions from livestock to crafts.

~Illinois~

Galena Country Fair (Galena, IL)

Galena Country Fair (Galena, IL)

Hand-cut French fries anyone? Or how about a wine garden? If you said yes to both of these, the Galena Country Fair is your next stop along the Great River Road! Over 150 creative vendors join the gathering, so plenty of time to walk around and peruse. 

Great Galena Balloon Race (Galena, IL)

Watch a balloon race after a day of live music! Galena’s three-day event features over 20 hot air balloons filling the sky with pops of color. For more day activities, check out the car show and art show!

 ~Missouri~

National Tom Sawyer Days (Hannibal, MO)

National Tom Sawyer Days (Hannibal, MO)

As the boyhood home of Mark Twain, Hannibal has to celebrate some way! Tom Sawyer Days is a weekend of family fun for Great River Road Travelers. Also, did we mention there’s a beer garden?

Jour De Fete (Ste. Genevieve, MO)

Over 275 years of celebrating creativity as the “the premier arts and crafts fair in the Midwest”. Ste. Genevieve prides itself as a French settlement with deep European roots and traditions.

~Kentucky~

Murray-Calloway County Fair (Murray, KY)

Murray-Calloway County Fair (Murray, KY)

Jeep showoff, laser tag, agricultural exhibits, and more! Travelers can make a quick stop in Murray to eat fair food, test the bright rides, and participate in their lineup of shows and activities! 

Hickman County Fair (Clinton, KY)

A Cruisin’ Car Show, drag races and live music.  Plus, there’s lots to keep the kids busy including a frog jump competition, “Be sure to catch a frog and bring it with you to the fair to compete!!”  (They know the way to a young herpatologist’s heart.)

~Tennessee~

Dyer County Fair (Dyersburg, TN)

Dyer County Fair (Dyersburg, TN)

A six day County Fair where 4H kids show their livestock and garden produce, and teens line up for the local beauty pageant.  Midway carnival rides, games, and fair food make it “fun for the whole herd”.

Delta Fair & Music Festival (Memphis, TN)

The Delta Fair & Music Festival is out on the mission to “produce an annual Fair & Music Festival that is exciting, interactive and educational”. The delta is rich in history and music – which is exactly what Memphis wants to celebrate!

~ARKANSAS~

Northeast Arkansas District Fair (Jonesboro, AR)

Northeast Arkansas District Fair (Jonesboro, AR)

Reviews note the variety of food and drink at the NE Arkansas District Fair. Grab a turkey leg and enjoy all things agriculture. Produce and livestock exhibits are a must-visit in Jonesboro!

Drew County Fair & Livestock Show (Monticello, AR)

Some virtual modifications for 2020, but this County Fair is still giving county kids an opportunity to “grow it and show it!”  A yearly Fair Rodeo contains all you would expect, from bareback riding to mutton bustin.

~Mississippi~

Mid-South Fair (Southaven, MS)

Mid-South Fair (Southaven, MS)

This fair has seen some great surprises, such as an appearance by Elvis Presley and performances by the cast of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and the “Three Stooges”. Today, the fair promotes local industries with free-admission concerts and a good handful of family activities!

Riverfest (Vicksburg, MS)

Riverfest joins artisans, foods from around the world, and regional music in the renovated downtown of Vicksburg. Adventurous spirits can join locals in kayak racing! Otherwise, listen to jazz or gospel from a variety of performers.

~Louisiana~

Gretna Heritage Festival (Gretna, LA)

Gretna Heritage Festival (Gretna, LA)

Alligator On Stick, Butterfly Potatoes, and Chimichanga Seafood are some food items to try at Gretna Heritage Festival! Previous performances include rock’n’roll favorites like Foreigner, KISS, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, ZZ Top and more. 

French Quarter Festival (New Orleans, LA)

There are more than 20 stages that host local Louisiana performances during the festival. Music lovers get to listen to traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international.