The Wisconsin Arts and Peony Festival is the centerpiece of Beaver Dam’s festival calendar, one of many events offered by the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce. It is a feast for the senses that celebrates art, flowers, artisan eats and live performers unique to the area. Held June 8 to 13, the festival attracts families and revelers from around the state, northern Illinois and eastern Minnesota. Hotels offer discounts for visitors who want to stay overnight and take in the full impressive array of activities.
The festival kicks off on Thursday, June 8, at 5 p.m. at Ovans Peony Farms with a Picnic in the Peonies. Billed as a field-to-vase dinner, the meal is served amidst the beauty of the farm and live Americana-style music presented by Wise Jennings. Ovans offers tours of the farm and its 100+ varieties of tender fragrant blossoms daily during the fest.
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Shop local artisans’ handmade wares
A favorite attraction is the Art Market, featuring wares handcrafted by more than 75 Wisconsin artists selling one-of-a-kind pieces in nearly every medium — from paintings, jewelry and ceramics to artistic designs fashioned of wood, metal, fiber, glass and mixed media. Release your own inner artist by participating in one of the festival’s classes. Sew a pillow, design jewelry or paint peonies. There is much to choose from.
Free daytime events
While some events require a fee, free activities are offered each day. The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show features luxurious art deco themed quilts and shares the stories behind the designs. The movie “The Greatest Showman” will play outdoors in Swan Park on Friday night.
Storytellers from the Dodge County Historical Society will bring chills to your spine with real-life tales of local ghost hauntings. The Fred MacMurray Appreciation and Dedication Event will feature vintage films and memorabilia.
Live music, food trucks, standup comedy
Enjoy evening entertainment including live music at Ooga Brewing and Double D’s Thirsty Beaver featuring Madison County, as well as standup comedy at Riverfront Wine Bar.
Participate in the Brunch & Blossom Downtown Stroll on Friday and Saturday and receive a free watering can and wildflower seeds.
While only in its third year, interest in the event has exploded and attracted national attention. About 5,000 attendees are expected this year. The American Peony Society will hold its annual national convention in 2025 in conjunction with the Arts & Peony Fest, bringing in people from all over the world.
Sample 100 craft beers and a wide selection of Wisconsin cheeses
The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce will continue two of its other favorite summer traditions this year. The Taste of Wisconsin is scheduled for Saturday, June 17. Sample over 100 craft beers from microbreweries and a wide selection of cheeses, all made in Wisconsin.
Concerts, games and conversation with the brewers make this the go-to celebration for Father’s Day weekend. The Best Dam Fest is the area’s classic summer festival, featuring rides, live music, pontoon rides and fireworks. It will be held in conjunction with the Women’s Affiliate Day in the Park Craft Fair with over 150 vendors on July 9.
Check out the annual events page at visitbeaverdam.com for a complete schedule of events and activities. For more information on the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce, visit beaverdamchamber.com.