If you found yourself stuck in the air conditioning midweek because of a triple-digit heat index, take heart: The weekend offers relief.
And festivals. And music. Here are some of our top picks:
Dane Dances: It’s the last weekend in 2023 for this lively summertime event, with music, dancing, food and happy crowds Friday on the Monona Terrace rooftop. Featuring music by Aurra and Slave, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Angel Melendez and the 911 Mambo Orchestra, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Food for purchase starting at 5 p.m. Free admission. 1 John Nolen Drive. danedances.org
Orton Park Festival: One of the country’s longest-running outdoor music festivals returns Friday through Sunday, with food, beer, a vendor village and quirky traditions in a lovely park setting (plus a new festival layout this year). Family night Friday, auction Saturday, jazz brunch Sunday, plus more through the weekend. Orton Park, Spaight and Ingersoll streets. Admission free. A full schedule is at marquette-neighborhood.org/orton-park-festival.
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Middleton Good Neighbor Festival: Say howdy to your neighbors (because you know they’ll be there) at this annual event taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Fireman’s Park, 7400 Lee St., Middleton. Art fair, live music, carnival, parade on Sunday and more. Admission free. A full schedule is at goodneighborfestival.com.
Final Friday Fun: Cap off a great summer with activities for the kids at the Top of State Street, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Free. visitdowntownmadison.com/events
Friday Evening Classical Guitars: Hear live music from the Madison Classical Guitar Society from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Lisa Link Peace Park, 452 State St. Free. Bring a picnic or lawn chair for this gem of a park. visitdowntownmadison.com/events
The Bodega: Meet makers and artisan vendors, enjoy games and children’s activities, food carts and more from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Breese Stevens Field, 917 E. Mifflin St. Admission free. breesestevensfield.com
14th annual Simpson Street Neighborhood Reunion: The tradition of generosity, kindness and true neighborliness continues with this celebration hosted by Diane Small of Mamie’s Back Yard Garden starting at noon Saturday. Free food, ice cream, gifts for children and adults, med boxes, health care and community information, plus a chance to connect with neighbors; Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway expected at noon. Free. 2202 W. Broadway. mamiesbackyardgarden.org
Wisconsin Pottery Association: 27th annual pottery show featuring some 50 dealers and artists from across the Midwest. Vintage and contemporary ceramics, art pottery, tile, glassware, books and more in a huge range of styles. Bring your “mystery pottery” item (two per admission) for identification and evaluation by WPA members. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way. $5 admission; free parking. wisconsinpottery.org
“Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started the Iraq War”: Music Theatre of Madison produces this offbeat musical based on historical fact-is-stranger-than-fiction. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, UW-Madison Memorial Union Play Circle, 800 Langdon St. $15 to $35. mtmadison.com
Farley Center/SWAAP Summer Concert: Featuring Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble for an evening of music, 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by a Farley Center Food Forest Tour with Kalev Kristjuhan from 7 to 8 p.m. at Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, 2299 Spring Rose Road, Verona. Bring your own chair and blankets. $15 concert fee for the musicians; tour is free. Organic vegetables, honey and tamales for sale; pre-order at firstname.lastname@example.org. farleycenter.org
Madison Area Music Awards: Discover the winners of this year’s MAMA voting and celebrate some of the best in Madison at this annual show, 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Crucible, 3116 Commercial Ave. Doors open at 6:30. Performances by nominees The Rascal Theory, Kat and the Hurricane, The Mascot Theory. $15. themamas.org
Check out these concerts for August and beyond.