Photo Credit: Zack Smith Photography, Courtesy of French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (New Orleans, LA)

Festivals on the Great River Road

Communities gather all the time along the Great River Road. Here are some festival opportunities for you to join in on the laughter and fun. 


Lumberjack Days (Stillwater, MN)

Starting in 1934, Stillwater celebrates its history of pines and pioneers. Become a true lumberjack and participate in axe throwing and log rolling!

Grumpy Old Men Festival (Wabasha, MN)

From film to festival, Grumpy Old Men is now a tradition in the Wabasha community. Join their ice fishing contest and the Grumpy Plunge.


Cheese Curd Festival (Ellsworth, WI)

Ellsworth brings over 6,000 pounds of cheese curds for locals to eat every year. But it gets even more intense with Craft & Curd, a competition between breweries and their beer & cheese curd pairings!

Oktoberfest USA (La Crosse, WI)

Willkommen to the longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest. Some come for the epic parades, others for the biergarten. Plus it’s an excuse to wear lederhosen.


Tug Fest (Le Claire, IA)

Watch as  tug teams pull 2,700ft and 680lb of rope spanning the Mississippi River. Each year over 35,000 people view this spectacular and only tug-of-war across the Mississippi.

DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival (Dubuque, IA)

Dubuque wants you to know there’s an art scene in the community!  The festival brings numerous artists and hands-on activities for families to enjoy.


Mississippi Earthtones Festival (Alton, IL)

Alton Main Street and the Sierra Club hold this event annually on the 3rd Saturday in September, part of the “It’s Our River Day” initiative to celebrate Illinois watersheds.

Wine Festival at Pere Marquette Lodge (Grafton, IL)

Cheers! There are dozens of different wines for you to try at the festival. Also, enjoy vendors, appetizers, music between sips!


Twain on Main (Hannibal, MO)

Unique creations at over 100 vendors, fantastic food and beverages, and live entertainment there is plenty going on at Twain on Main! Enjoy everything Hannibal has to offer.

Soulard Mardi Gras (Saint Louis, MO)

Over 10,000 strands of beads will be thrown in Saint Louis. Along with parade activities, there will be plenty of soul food and free family fun.


Banana Festival (Fulton, KY)

Did you know that at one point 70% of all bananas consumed in the United States traveled through Fulton? Today, the community celebrates its rich history in banana commerce by hosting a banana eating contest, a beauty pageant, and more. 

Civil War Days (Columbus, KY)

While on the Great River Road, take a trip back in time. Watch Civil War demonstrations of cannon firing and period dances!


Memphis in May International Festival (Memphis, TN)

This festival focuses on “bringing the world to Memphis, and Memphis to the world.” With diverse food vendors, performers, and events, Memphis offers options for Great River Road travelers.

Germantown Festival (Germantown, TN)

Watch weenie dogs compete in costume in the festival’s Weenie Dog Race. Families are welcome to stop by the Kid Zone, which has a climbing wall, inflatable slides, and ponies!


King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena, AR)

King Biscuit Blues Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to the banks of the Mississippi River in Helena, Arkansas. Featuring blues legends and up-and-coming acts, this iconic festival, continues to preserve and promote the music of the Delta. 

Forward Fest Blues Batter and Brew (Pine Bluff, AR)

Around 15,000 music enthusiasts visit Pine Bluff’s blues festival each year! With past headliners like BIG ROB and Angie Stone, the festival is guaranteed to make you dance and sing.


Juke Joint Festival (Clarksdale, MS)

Juke Joint Festival is “half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta.” It celebrates the area’s past and living history by presenting over 100 blues acts.

Mississippi Delta Blues Festival (Greenville, MS)

Enjoy the blues culture in the Mississippi Delta! The festival started in 1978 in a rural community of less than 100 people, but has since grown to become a Mississippi favorite!


French Quarter Festival (New Orleans, LA)

NOLA’s most historical neighborhood connects Great River Road travelers with food and music of the south! While visiting, take a moment to explore the historical architecture of New Orleans.

Louisiana Earth Day Festival (Baton Rouge, LA)

Learn more about environmental preservation in Louisiana’s second largest city. There will also be sword dancers and creative exhibits.