Events & Festivals

Annual Events & Festivals in Greater Mankato

After a day on the trails, be invigorated by a headliner act, listen to talented artists from around the Midwest at our local wineries and breweries, and check out some of these Annual Events & Festivals in Greater Mankato.
Mankato Craft Beer Expo

| January |  

The Annual Mankato Craft Beer Expo is hosted at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center and showcases the offerings of craft breweries here in Minnesota, as well as all over the United States. Learn more. 

Ice Skating Hockey on Pond in Greater Mankato
Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic

| January |  

In the state of hockey, there is no better experience than outdoors on a frozen lake in Minnesota. The Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic takes place at Spring Lake Park in North Mankato and is a tradition that will create memories of a lifetime. Learn more.  

Bookin’ On Belgrade

| May |

Bookin’ On Belgrade takes place on Belgrade Ave. in the City Center North Mankato and is a nearly 5K Family Fun Run and Walk. Registrants get a t-shirt, grab bag, extra goodies and children get a free book. Learn more.

Walking sculpture tour family
CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour

| May |  

See and enjoy art out in the open where you will find new sculptures from artists across the US. New sculptures are installed every spring and can be enjoyed nearly all year long. Learn more. 

Songs on the Lawn

| June |  

Songs on the Lawn is an opportunity for co-workers, friends, and families from all around the region to gather in the City Center and enjoy live music from area bands. Lunch and snacks from local vendors are available for purchase. Learn more. 

Red, Hot, Boom

| July |  

The area’s most spectacular 4th of July celebration. Riverfront Park opens at 5 p.m. with live entertainment, food and beverages. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. and are synced to music from Radio Mankato.  

Thunder of Drums

| July |  

The Thunder of Drums is a sight to be seen and heard! You will be blown off your bleacher by the fantastic drum corps competing in a show of soaring musical and visual artistry at Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. Net proceeds support the local Kiwanis youth programs and the Mankato ’77 Lancers Marching Band. Learn more.  

North Mankato Fun Days

| July |  

North Mankato Fun Days consists of four days of fun for people of all ages. Fun Days offers a variety of activities including a parade, kiddie parade, carnival, softball tournaments, live music, and more. Learn more. 

Blues on Belgrade

| July | A great line up of popular Blues bands from all over perform on Belgrade Avenue in City Center North Mankato. Come rain or shine. Learn more. 


| August |  

Ribbers from all over the country travel to Mankato’s Riverfront Park to compete and be crowned the best around at Mankato’s Annual Ribfest. This fourday festival includes well-known musical guests performing every night and the tastiest ribs around. Come for the food, stay for the fun. Learn more.  

Bend of the River Music Festival

| September |  

Bend of the River Fall Festival is an all-day, all ages festival that will feature a Cornhole tournament, festival style foods, beer & beverages, interactive vendors, and more! This event is held on the practice fields of Blakeslee Stadium, so bring your chair and get ready for a full day of fun! Learn more. 

Indian Island Winery
Indian Island Winery Annual Grape Stomp

| September

Heats of stompers compete in groups of two. There are great prizes for the top teams. There will also be a costume contest for the best dressed group. Enjoy the live music. Do some shopping among all the vendors that will be set up. Learn more. 

Mahkato Annual Traditional Pow-Wow

| September |  

Learn about Native American culture and enjoy traditional arts and crafts, delicious foods, drumming, singing and dancing at the annual Mahkato Pow-Wow, or Wacipi, at Land of Memories Park. The event takes place to honor the 38 Dakota warriors who died in the largest mass execution in U.S. history and to signify the reconciliation between the Dakota and local settlers following the Dakota Conflict. Learn more.  

Oktoberfest, Bier on Belgrade

| September

Bier on Belgrade activities take place on Belgrade Avenue and include a ceremonial first beer with city officials, music, a brat eating contest, bean bag toss area and hammerschlager. Learn more.  


| September |  

Come to Mankato and celebrate more than 20 years of pride and visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community. Show your pride and rock your rainbow with fun activities for all ages! Learn more.  

Deep Valley Book Festival

| October |

The Deep Valley Book Festival gets its name from the setting of the beloved children’s books (Betsy-Tacy) written by Mankato-born author Maud Hart Lovelace. The Festival provides readers the chance to interact with their favorite authors and meet new ones. This FREE family event features authors, illustrators, publishers, book sales and signings, a full day of programs, panel discussions, and drawings for books! Learn more.  

STOMP New Ulm!

Morgan Creek Vineyards Annual Oktoberfest Grape Stomp | October |

Harvest festival with competitive grape stomping—an honorable salute to the past growing season! Take off your shoes and get ready to dance! Traditional Morris Dancers and Satori Violet Belly Dancers perform on the winery grounds. Dancing, stomping and revelry throughout the afternoon. Learn more. 

Mankato River Ramble

| October |

This event embraces the best of both bicycling worlds — off-road paved trails and quiet country roads with four scenic routes and four fun rest stops that feature great live music, delicious treats, cold and hot beverages and refreshing fruit. Four distances to choose from: 12, 26, 42 or 50 miles. Learn more. 

History Fest

| October |

Step back in time at the annual History Fest at Jack McGowan’s Farm. You’ll find a variety of entertainers and activities, from reenactments to belly dancers and fire eaters. There are also plenty of hands-on activities for the kids including candle making, ziplining, giving carriage rides, and finding dragon tears in the sandbox. Learn more. 

2022 Mankato Marathon Runner
Mankato Marathon

| October 18-19, 2024 |

The Mankato Marathon, presented by Mayo Clinic Health System, showcases beautiful dynamic courses and determined runners. Our courses are the perfect blend of Mankato’s scenic trails and urban landscape, highlighting the beautiful Minnesota River Valley. There’s a race for every runner – Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay, 10K, 5K and KidsK. Learn more.

Photography Casey Ek capturing Day of the Dead
Old Town Mankato Day of the Dead

| Last Saturday in October |  

This free event brings people together to enjoy the traditional sights and sounds of Dia de los Muertos including costumes, mariachi bands, Aztec and folklore dancers, original Latino art and ofrenda to honor the lives of the departed. Learn more

Kiwanis Holiday Lights

| Black Friday – December 31, 2024 |  

Walk or drive through a winter wonderland for free during the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato’s Sibley Park. More than one million LED lights illuminate the landscape and an animated and choreographed display. Enjoy the Mary Dotson Synthetic Skating Rink, live reindeer and visits with Santa. Learn more.  

Hubbard House Located in Downtown Mankato
Christmas at the Hubbard House

| December |  

Join in on an annual tradition at the Historic R.D. Hubbard House. Explore Victorian holiday décor at the Historic R.D. Hubbard House. New this year, discover holiday traditions celebrating light in the dark days of December. Enjoy a special display, stories, and crafts celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, and Kwanzaa. Learn more.  

Bells on Belgrade

| December |  

The sights and sounds of the holiday season come alive on Belgrade Ave in North Mankato. Enjoy festive time with Santa and his elves, carolers from Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Mankato West Choir and other live music throughout the afternoon. Learn more.  

The fun doesn’t stop here. There are so many other events happening around Greater Mankato. Check out the jam-packed year-round calendar! 

Request a visitor guide

View Mankato’s Visitor Guide online or request a copy in the mail.

Sign Up for the Visit Mankato Newsletter!

Up to date information on visiting Mankato!