FOND DU LAC – Memorial Day is approaching fast, bringing with it teases of summer.
While Walleye Weekend is the premier way to experience Lakeside Park each year, the three-day fish-themed celebration is just one of many events put on by community organizations encouraging people in Fond du Lac and beyond to get together for food, live music and games for kids throughout the summer.
As a venue, the park also showcases Fond du Lac organizations, businesses and individuals, which also sponsor, organize or raise money through these events.
Here are six events to mark on the calendar for this summer:
Food Truck Festival offers culinary variety, family-friendly activities
The first park event this season is the Food Truck Festival, which kicks off at 11 a.m. May 29 on Oven Island, run by the Friends of Lakeside Park organization.
After two successful events last year, the festival returns this year with 24 food trucks, drinks from the Fondy Softball Association, music by Until Dawn and a wide variety of activities.
Some of the food trucks making an appearance include Fanna’s on the Fly, Tasty Thai, Vincent’s Smokehouse BBQ, Los Tres Manantieles, Legendary Gyros, Chameleon Mobile and The Cookie Crate.
Many animal-related activities are on the docket as well, including paw painting with Sandi Paws Dog Rescue, a prize wheel with Critter Junction Small Pet Rescue, cats and dogs from Fond du Lac Humane Society, pigeon release and education with Fond du Lac Racing Pigeon Club and an appearance from a therapy dog from Healing Paws Pet Therapy.
The Fond du Lac Police Department will also bring a police dog and engage attendees with the inflatable radar throw, while the Fond du Lac Fire/Recue personnel invite kids to see a fire truck and the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s office shows off its dive boat and gear.
Sue Michels will paint seashells with park scenes, and Betty the Clown will paint faces.
The festival will return for the end of the summer with the food trucks and an art fair Sept. 24. For more information, visit lakesidepark.org.
Shop and stroll the park with Art on the Island
The annual Art on the Island, hosted by the Fond du Lac Artists’ Association, invites the community to Lakeside Park’s Oven Island on June 5 to browse and shop fine artworks from artists across the Midwest.
Starting at 10 a.m., over 70 artists will offer their paintings, ceramics, jewelry, garden art and more, and some will show off other art displays and “artist at work” demonstrations. Music, food and a children’s area will round out the entertainment.
A silent auction will support Fond du Lac Artists’ Association Scholarship Fund, and this year’s scholarship recipients will display their artwork.
For more information, visit fdlartists.org.
First of Bandstand Sundays features high school musicians
Coinciding with Art on the Island, Friends of Lakeside Park will present something new to the park this year with Bandstand Sundays, the first of two free concerts in the bandstand, according to the organization’s website.
From 12 to 2 p.m. June 5, students from Fond du Lac High School will accompany the art displays in a string quartet and brass instrument quintet.
Walleye Weekend is right around the corner — here’s what’s new
As Fond du Lac’s biggest event, Walleye Weekend will run June 10 through 12 throughout the park.
The free, family-friendly event promises plenty of live music, food favorites and entertainment alongside the annual tournaments.
Three stages, sponsored by Mercury Marine, Grande Cheese and Holiday Automotive, have a line-up that includes Beatles tribute band The Britins, Verona Grove, Totally Neon, Liquid Courage, Wait For Morning and Mojo Road, among many others.
VIP tickets for national acts Blessid Union of Souls and EVE6 are available at hometowntickets.com.
Expanding food options include a fish wrap at the Lakeside Evening Kiwanis booth, a curd burger at the Morning Kiwanis of Fabulous Fond du Lac booth and the county fair mac and cheese at the Noon Optimist Club of Fond du Lac booth.
New children’s activities this year includes more Familyland attractions; a scavenger hunt on the playground equipment hosted by Burke, which will include the new electronic MOVEMNT game; construction games and activities presented by C.D. Smith; and Imagination Island — a reimagining of Fountain Island full of crafts, face painting, an opportunity to create your own musical band and even pull King Arthur’s sword from the stone.
The Sports Corner on the west side of the park invites kids entering first through eighth grade that entered the Fondy Football Challenge to test their skills, and anyone 17 years old or younger can try and beat the Wisconsin Herd in basketball or beat Weaver from the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders with a speed-tested baseball pitch.
Festivities start 3 p.m. June 10, 8 a.m. June 11 and 10 a.m. June 12. For more information and daily schedule, visit walleyeweekend.com.
Pride Picnic welcomes all with food, activities
The fourth annual Pride Picnic invites “members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to celebrate in an inclusive, family-friendly space” June 26, according to the event’s Facebook page.
From 12 to 7 p.m., attendees can enjoy the food trucks, activities, LGBTQ resources and live entertainment, which so far includes funk jazz trio Shutter Step.
The picnic is funded by sponsors and community donations through its United Way partnership. For more information, visit the Pride Picnic Facebook page.
Watch the Fourth of July fireworks on the lakefront
As always, the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show will set off after dusk on the lakefront. The display follows the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band’s Americana Concert, featuring marches and other music from American composers.
When do the rides and other park activities open?
Lakeside Rides, which includes a miniature train, merry-go-round and whip, will open for the weekend of May 28 and the weekend of June 4. They start running daily on June 10 through Labor Day.
The rides are active 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
The splash pad will be open daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., or until dusk, starting Memorial Day, but will be dependent on weather.
This article originally appeared on Fond du Lac Reporter: Things to do this summer in Fond du Lac near Lakeside Park