events

Dubuque is event-full. Year round, there is a lively mix of festivals, concerts, theaters and holiday celebrations in the streets, on the riverfront, in the parks, at the fairgrounds, and everywhere else in between.

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March

March 1
The Grand Opera House and WJOD Welcome Etta May!

Winner of the prestigious American Comedy Awards “Comic of the Year,” this Kentucky woman is a comedy icon! Hailed as the “Polyester Princess,” the reigning Queen of Southern Sass delivers a highpowered, take-noprisoners performance full of truth, irony, humor and wisdom. This trailer park goddess has appeared on, Oprah, Showtime, CMT, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC, Columbia Pictures, and NBC. She headllines the hugely successful Southern Fried Chicks Comedy Tour and touts a huge fan base on SiriusXM comedy channels. Etta May is a seasoned performer with national appeal!

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March 19
Decades Rewind

Join us for an experience unlike anything you’ve seen or heard before! This brand new theatrical concert features more than 60 songs blended into unique medleys from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. The most prominent decades in music history bring your memories to life with over 100 costume changes and videos that turn back time. From Aretha to Zeppelin, Decades Rewind will have you singing along and dancing in the aisles. Decades Rewind. Your music. Your memories. Your life.

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February

February 25 - 26
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra- DSO Showcase

Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony and Schubert’s Ballet Music explore the world of dance. These are paired with beautiful works featuring some of the great talent from the orchestra: Dubuque composer and DSO violist Paul Alan Price-Brenner is featured as well as two of our horn players and one of our percussionists. The sound of the Über Horn Quartet’s four solo french horns will knock your socks off!

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February 26
Love, Lies & the Doctor’s Dilemma

It’s Joan’s birthday, and she just wants to spend the day with her beloved Sandy. But her life is thrown upside down by the arrival of her movie star sister-in-law, a mobster on the trail of her son, and her nutty neighbor. One innocent lie piles on top of another, and hilarity ensues!

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March

March 1
Wags at the Flags Indoor Dog Park

This indoor dog park with feature separate areas for small dogs (20 pounds and under), large dogs (20 pounds and greater), as well as a space for their owners. It will also feature Barka Lounge which will include food, drinks & adult refreshments. Some weeks will have themes, and there will also be Barkeoke where you can sing karaoke with your dog. Last, there will be four vendors featured at every event.

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March 5
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder from the “Little House” Series of Books performed by ArtsPower National Touring Theater (New Jersey) Sunday, March 5, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. ‌Laura and her family travel across America in search of a place they can call home. Facing obstacles such as scarlet fever and eviction from their land, their pioneering spirit and family bonds are tested but never broken. This uplifting story of one of America’s most beloved authors demonstrates a historical perspective on how a young woman discovers her personal values and builds relationships. The literature is expertly adapted for the stage in a musical ... Read More

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March 8
Artrageous

ARTRAGEOUS presents Art and Music Gone Wild Wednesday, March 8, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. ‌Imagine an artist creating a masterpiece before your eyes, unveiling larger than life art in mere moments. With a palette that also mixes captivating live music, intricate choreography and exciting audience participation, Artrageous takes you on a unique visual journey packed with wild inspiration, creativity and fun! The Artrageous troupe of artists, musicians, singers and dancers pay tribute to a variety of art forms, pop icons, and musical genres culminating in a gallery of fabulous finished paintings. A free 30-mintue special lecture precedes this performance at ... Read More

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March 10
The Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!

Critics and audiences alike rave about his incredible high-energy, grand-scale magic & illusions that will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Referred to as “Houdini Times Ten!” by NBC, Blagg’s show is packed with NEW mind-blowing illusions and his trademark off-the-cuff personality that make this show a great family event! People will float in mid-air, vanish in the blink of an eye and so much more!

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March 11
St. Patrick’s Day Parade

parade, bike Ride, Gaelic Gallop

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March 11
Jack Hanna Into the Wild LIVE!

America’s beloved “zookeeper extraordinaire” and nature-loving icon visits Dubuque with some of his favorite creature companions. “Jungle” Jack Hanna’s pioneering efforts in the field of wildlife education through TV appearances and book authorship have earned him a much-deserved place in the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.

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March 19
Decades Rewind

From Abba to Zeppelin, Decades Rewind will have you singing along and dancing in your seats on a magical rock musical extravaganza you won’t forget.

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March 21
Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”

Thornthon Wilder’s “Our Town” Performed by American Shakespeare Center Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. ‌Virginia’s American Shakespeare Center seeks to make the joys of theatre, language, and the communal experience of the Renaissance stage accessible to all. A moving look at life in the small town of Grover’s Corners, Our Town examines what it means to grow up. Through three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity,” Wilder studies the deeply personal yet remarkably universal lives of the Webb and Gibbs families. A free 30-minute special lecture precedes performance at 6:30 p.m. in Babka Theatre ... Read More

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March 25 - 26
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra- Music & Movies

This program combines some of the great film scores of John Williams with one of the most beautiful and well-loved symphonic favorites, Scheherazade, a work inspired by the stories of the “Arabian Nights.” We feature local saxophone master Allen Cordingley in the jazzy music from the film Catch Me If You Can. The orchestra performed “Tragedy Tomorrow” by Dubuque-native Michael Gilbertson in 2012, and this wonderful work, inspired by photographs of New York City in the 1920’s, is being “encored” on this concert.

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March 25
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra Family- Music & Movies

Memorable movie themes from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and video game Zelda are featured along with an excerpt from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, one of the most beautiful and well-loved symphonic favorites.

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March 25
Paul Reiser, Comedian

Movie and TV Star, Paul Reiser Stand-Up Comedy, Movie and TV Personality Saturday, March 25, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. Star of TV’s hit sitcom “Mad About You” and no stranger to the stand-up comedy scene, Paul’s national comedy tour highlights the funny things about life, love, and relationships, continuing to draw comedy fans all over the country. Paul Reiser, a seasoned actor, writer, and producer, co-created and starred in the critically acclaimed NBC series “Mad About You,” which garnered him multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Reiser returned to television last year in the ... Read More

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March 26
Brown Bear Brown Bear & Eric Carle

Brown Bear, Brown Bear & Other Treasured Eric Carle Stories performed by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia Sunday, March 26, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. Mermaid’s new production will bring together old favorites and new friends. Featuring evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry, the triple-bill highlights three of Eric Carle’s most beloved tales. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is joined by a whimsical cast of adventurous animals drawn from the pages of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? The poignant story of a young girl’s unusual quest, Papa Please Get The Moon For Me, fills out the hour ... Read More

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April

April 1
Chris Botti with the Columbus Symphony

Columbus Symphony Orchestra with guest jazz trumpeter Chris Botti Saturday, April 1, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. Heritage Center welcomes the return of the Columbus Symphony to John and Alice Butler Hall for a concert featuring Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. With his uniquely expressive and soaring musical imagination, Botti’s stellar parade of releases – When I Fall in Love, To Love Again, Italia, and Impressions – have firmly established him as the world’s largest-selling jazz instrumentalist with a Grammy for “Best Pop Instrumental Album” and four #1 albums on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart. A free 30-minute special lecture precedes ... Read More

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April 8
Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?

Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go To Heaven? Saturday, April 8, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.‌ Presented by Telegraph Herald Celebrate the Easter Season with Sister as she answers the time-worn questions of the season like “Why isn’t Easter the same day every year like Christmas?” and “Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?” Part pageant, and wHOLY hysterical, this latest of the sinfully funny Late Nite Catechism series unearths the origins of Easter… bunnies, eggs, bonnets, baskets, and, of course, those yummy Peeps. Classroom participation is a must, so don’t forget to wear your Easter bonnet and join Sister for ... Read More

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April 12
The Hunts, Indie-Folk Band

The Hunts, Indie-Folk Band With special guests, Hempstead High School String Program Wednesday, April 12, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. ‌Known for their harmony-laced take on alt-folk, The Hunts are a Chesapeake, Virginia-based band of seven siblings who’ve been playing music together almost their entire lives. Twin sisters and five brothers, now ranging in age from 26 down to 17, have played theaters, festivals and universities around the country—playing diverse instruments like mandolin, piano, ukulele, banjo, and drums. Inspired by shared memories, The Hunts create songs that capture heartache and wonder with a wide-eyed but wistful elegance. The Hunts’ original songs ... Read More

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April 20 - 23
Julien Dubuque International Film Festival

The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival brings filmmakers and storytellers together for its annual program of Documentaries, Features & Shorts. In 2013, just in it’s 3rd year, JDIFF was voted as one of the TOP 25 COOLEST FILM FESTIVALS IN THE WORLD by MovieMaker Magazine. In a short amount of time, the Festival has gained much recognition and some of the films that have screened at JDIFF and won in their category, have received distribution and reached a larger audience.

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April 28 - 29
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra Music & Fantasy

The orchestra welcomes violinist and Iowa native Robert Zimansky back to the USA from his home in Switzerland, where he is Concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Swiss Romande. Zimansky performs Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy: a beautiful musical homage to the folk music of Scotland. This concert also features Brahms’ Third Symphony, with its gorgeous slow movement, and a short new premiere by Dubuque native Derek Jenkins round out this program.

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April 29
Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman is a living legend — they draw you into a culture, and share a heritage that is every bit as enchanting as the women themselves.

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April 30
James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach performed by the UD Department of Fine and Performing Arts James and the Giant Peach was the first of Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s stories that he completed. It tells the story of James Henry Trotter and his horrible aunts – and how some magic beans, a peach tree and a collection of interesting insects conspire to change his life. Adapted into a musical, the story comes to life with innovative puppetry, a spunky soundtrack and bright characters that will have you on the edge of your seat. Please note length of this performance ... Read More

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May

May 6
Makers Faire

The Maker’s Fair celebrates creativity, craftsmanship, and ingenuity. Demonstrators feature historic crafts of blacksmithing and woodworking, as well as modern technology.

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May 7
Harris Cashes Out!

Forty years ago, Harris Wellborn wrote an off-Broadway musical that closed after one performance. Now Harris is down on his luck, living in a run-down apartment dependent on the charity of his domineering sister—but still dreaming of making it on Broadway. His life takes a hilarious turn when he meets the flaky young woman down the hall and her scheming boyfriend comes up with a devious plan to cash in on Harris’ past.

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May 19 - 20
Wisconsin High School Rodeo

High School Rodeo

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May 20 - 21
Dubuque Soccer Complex Blowout

Youth Soccer Tournament.

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June

June 9 - 10
Fly-by-Night Productions ” Mothers and Sons”

The play portrays a woman who pays an unexpected visit to her late son’s partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. Challenged to face how society has changed around her, generations collide as she revisits the past and begins to see the life her son might have led.

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June 9 - 10
America’s River Festival

America’s River Festival is a two day festival filled with national acts from the world of country music and classic rock legends. Music and folks from around the country fill the Port of Dubuque for a one-of-a-kind experience. The Tappening – A Beer Event – is on tap for Saturday afternoon. Taste the flavors of summer and discover craft beer from around the Midwest.

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June 10
The Tappening

The Tappening is a celebration of premier craft beers and their brew masters from around the State of Iowa and the tri-state area. Tap in for a day of live music, terrific beer vendors, and plenty of fun. Located in the Port of Dubuque and on the banks of the Mississippi River, The Tappening serves as the kickoff party for Saturday night’s activities at America’s River Festival.

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June 18
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Winner of a Tony and a Drama Desk Award, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is one unforgettable experience. An eclectic group of tweens vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the kids spell their way through a series of words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box. The performers are high school students from throughout the area.

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July

July 3
Dubuque Fireworks & Air Show Spectacular

Dubuque Fireworks & Air Show Spectacular

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July 23
Harry Connick, Jr.’s The Happy Elf

It’s Christmas in July! Our 12th-annual kids-for-kids musical will be the area premiere of the brand new musical by jazz legend Harry Connick, Jr. More than anything else in the world, Eubie, wants to be part of Santa’s sleigh team. However, Eubie is the elf stuck in charge of checking the naughty-or-nice list. On Christmas Eve, as he is doing his last checks before the big night, he notices that in the whole town of Bluesville not a single kid made it to the nice list. With some help from his elf magic Eubie heads off to Bluesville to save ... Read More

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July 25 - 30
Dubuque County Fair

64th Annual featuring entertainment, carnival rides, food vendors, 4H exhibits and more!

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August

August 3
Taste of Dubuque

Sample the best food and music Dubuque has to offer in one location! Live music on two stages, local beer tasting tent, and the best food from the tri-states makes this the perfect summer event!

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August 9 - 13
National Canoe & Kayak Championships

The National Canoe & Kayak Championships is a five-day competition hosted by The United States Canoe Association. Racers from around the country will travel to Dubuque to compete on the Mississippi River in 2017.

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August 25 - 27
Ride Across Wisconsin

Point to Point Bike Ride across the state of WI that starts in Dubuque.

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August 25 - 26
Irish Hooley

The Irish Hooley Music Festival is an annual event that celebrates Irish/Celtic music and culture in Dubuque. Live music is provided by regional and international Irish and Celtic performers. Food, Beverage, merchandise and most of all a wonderful social experience. Whether you are Irish or not, this is one of the most enjoyable events Dubuque has to offer.

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August 27
Mighty Mississippi Mopars on the River

Classic Car Show

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August 27
Fish on Friday

Dubuque composer and playwright David Resnick brings us a sparkling revival of his popular musical Memories of a Non-Jewish Childhood. This re-imagined version of Robert Byrne’s book on growing up Catholic in Dubuque in the 1940s was written specifically for the Bell Tower Theater. Follow the antics of Tommy Shannon and his friends from church to class to confession to the school dance.

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September

September 9
Jukebox Hits with The Paul Hemmer Swing Band

Enjoy a unique concert featuring music from the 50s, 60s & 70s performed in the style of The Dorsey’s, Glenn Miller and other great bands of the Big Band era. The concert features hits by The Beatles, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra and many more.

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September 17
Oktoberfest & 5K

Start the morning with a 5K run, then celebrate the German and Slavic heritage of Dubuque and the Tri-State region.

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September 23 - 24
Czipar’s Apple Festival

Flea Market, food, art & crafts, Games and of course APPLES!

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September 25
Fireball Run Adventurally

Fireball Run is the story of 40+ adventurally teams as they compete in a legendary 2,000-mile, life-sized trivia game. To win, they take the road less traveled in an epic quest for America’s under-discovered places and obscure historic artifacts. All while aiding in an awareness campaign called The Race to Recover America’s Missing Children. Every episode educates viewers about destinations, places and points of interest to inspire travel. Fireball Run is filmed in real-time, i.e as it happens, with the entire 26 episode season filmed in just 8 days.

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October

October 5
Dyersville Farmers’ Market

Dyersville Farmers Market runs every Thursday through October 6 at Dyersville Commercial Club Park, 2-5:30 pm

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October 6 - 8
Loras College Homecoming

homecoming

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October 12
Witches Night Out

Grab your BFFs and come out for a night of shopping, wine tasting, live music, and fun! (Must be 21+ to attend)

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October 15
Polka Festival

Enjoy some of the best bands while dancing on one of the biggest and best wooden dance floors in the Midwest!

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October 19 - 22
University of Dubuque Homecoming

Homecoming

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October 29
Old Hams

A colorful group of retired performers have lived at the Ophelia L. Davis Home for Actors, Musicians and Singers for more than 40 years. Now, a scheming lawyer is trying to steal it out from underneath them. They will have to put on the performances of their lives if they hope to save their home.

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November

November 3 - 5
National Farm Toy Show

Buy, Sell, Trade! The ” Granddaddy of them All” has something for everyone. Toys at 3 locations; auction; shuttle service.

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November 4
Food and Wine on the River

Features gourmet food and wine from extraordinary Dubuque establishments

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November 9
Champagne & Chocolates

Kick off the holiday season with Champagne & Chocolates! Wine tastings, delicious desserts, live music, and discounted holiday shopping at the Museum Store! (Must be 21+ to attend)

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November 11
Guys in Ties

Enjoy improv comedy at its best with these Bell Tower favorites. Every show is a new adventure as these talented comedians create a unique show right before your very eyes!

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December

December 2 - 3
Scuba Santa

Get in the holiday spirit and see Scuba Santa dive in our Gulf of Mexico aquarium. Dive times TBD. You can’t miss this unique holiday experience!

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December 10
Mystery Dinner Theater

Enjoy a 4-course meal while trying to discover who done it in the brew house Mystery Dinner Theater

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December 17
Winter Wonderettes

Singing sensations, The Wonderettes, are entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls use their talent and ingenuity to save the party! Featuring great ’60s versions of holiday classics such as Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, Jingle Bell Rock and Winter Wonderland, this energetic and glittering show is a holiday treat.

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May

May 27
Art on the Porch at Outside the Lines Gallery

Observe, engage, and learn while watching one of our gallery artists create on our big front porch. A different artist is featured each month.

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