Guide to food, drinks, entertainment & more at Milwaukee's annual German Fest

If you click on the links in this post, we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post, at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclaimer here.

Sharing is caring!

Established in 1981 to preserve German heritage in Milwaukee, the German Fest is returning to the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park on July 29, 30 and 31, 2022. Raise a stern, grab a schnitzel and polka the night away at this family friendly festival.

This is one of the largest and most authentic festivals showcasing German music, culture and food in North America. It is a Milwaukee tradition and is always held during the last full weekend in July. Celebrate all things German, along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Festival hours:

  • Friday, July 29 3 pm to 12 am
  • Saturday, July 30 12 pm to 12 am
  • Sunday, July 31 12 pm to 9 pm

Friday will be Military Appreciation Day. Sunday is Family Day.

There will be 5 stages of international, national, regional and local musical talent. You can expect to see many singers, bands and dance groups. Headliners include

  • Schurzenjager
  • The Alex Meixner Band
  • Copper Box
  • The Friestadt Alte Kameraden Band

Of course, German wines and beers will be featured at the German Fest. There will be classes on the wines and how to pair them with food.

The German Stein Competition is the only brew competition in America that features only Gernan style beers.

A highlight of the German Fest is the Dachshund Derby. The weiner Dog Costume Contest always draws crowds.

German Food

Be sure to come hungry as there will be authentic German dishes and pastries. You can enjoy

  • Bismark Herring – marinated herring served on a bun
  • Kassler Rippchen – smoked pork chops
  • Schnitzel – breaded boneless pork cutlet
  • Kartoffel Pfannekuchen – pancakes made from shredded potatoes with sausage & applesauce
  • Wurst – sausage
  • Sauerbraten – marinated beef roast
  • Spanferkel – roasted whole pig
  • Goulasch – seasoned stew meat flavored with paprika and served with noodles
  • Knoedel – Dumpling
  • Sauerkraut – pickled cabbage
  • Kurchen – Cake
  • Bienenstitch – traditional German coffeecake filled with custard & topped with almonds & honey
  • Strudel – fruit filled pastry
  • Torte – Cake tart

If you’d like to learn more about German cooking, try these cookbooks. Click on the links to see how you can save money.

German Clothing

Grab your dirndls and lederhosen and connect with your inner German for a weekend. Don’t have any? You can remedy that by clicking here for men’s clothing or clicking here for women’s clothing.

Additional Festival Information

Other notable features of the German Fest include

  • Traditional dancing
  • Marktplatz
  • Kids area with games, activities & inflatables
  • Battle of the local mascots
  • Model T Club
  • Volkswagen Club
  • Walking Tours with narration about the history of German immigrants in Milwaukee
  • Chorus of 120+ voices including members of Milwaukee Area Church Choirs & the Wisconsin Sangerbezirk
  • Genealogists will be available to look up your family tree
  • Display of handcrafted street organs
  • Parades
  • Glockenspiel Show
  • Fireworks
  • HARIBO Bear will give out free gummies & bear hugs
  • Milwaukee Police K9 Unit
  • Learn how to play Sheepshead

Discounted Hotel & Airfare Rates

People come from all over to attend the German Fest. If you’re visiting Milwaukee for the fest, you should consider the following hotels. They are close to the German Fest and have discounted rates.

If you’re going to be flying to Milwaukee, click here and you can save money on your flight.