Eagle River, Wis.
Bring your appetite and fishing poles to the 40th annual Paul Bunyan Fest and the 34th annual National Championship Musky Open Tournament. Stop downtown Wed. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for a chain saw carving demonstration, a luncheon featuring a giant beef sandwich with side dishes, arts and crafts and live music. Not far from downtown, Fri.-next Sun., at the Vilas County fairgrounds, anglers must register in person for the fishing contest ($70 cash only). Prizes and drawings will be awarded, including a grand prize of a powerboat and trailer (eagleriver.org).
Enjoy an engaging weekend of Irish culture, history and music during the annual Irish Fest, Thu-next Sun. at Henry Maier Festival Park. The festival is one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the world, and visitors from around the world will gather to hear more than 100 local and international artists perform on 16 stages set along the shores of Lake Michigan. Ethnic games, food and drink, literary events, art, exhibits, shopping and more will also be featured. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Thu., 4 p.m.-midnight Fri., noon-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Admission: $5 (Thu. only) to $40 (four-day pass). Irishfest.com.
Albert Lea, Minn.
The ever popular Big Island Bar-B-Que state championship Aug. 23-24 will draw hungry food fans to the Freeborn County fairgrounds to chow down on steak, chili, chicken wings and for the first time this year, turkey. Top grillers from around the Midwest will compete for top prizes and money. Live entertainment and a flea market will be held Saturday (big islandfestivalandbbq.org; 1-507-373-3938).
Colleen A. Coles