Stay busy this summer with Midwest music festivals, car shows, a canoe marathon and more

Stay busy this summer with Midwest music festivals, car shows, a canoe marathon and more

Appleton, Wis., gets rockin’ in early August with the Mile of Music festival. (Mile of Music)

Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:

·Appleton, Wis., promises more than 900 performances in multiple venues Aug. 1-4 during the Mile of Music festival. More than 200 acts from the Midwest and around the country will perform everything from indie rock and country to soul, R&B, jazz and folk. Many of the performances are free.

·The Merchant Street MusicFest will be held July 26-27 at the historic train depot in downtown Kankakee, Ill. Local and national music acts will perform on three stages, and there will be art vendors and food and drink.

·The Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival will be Aug. 3-4 in Warsaw, Mo. Professional and amateur musicians from across the country will perform using guitars fashioned from cigar boxes. Genres will include bluegrass, rock, country and blues.

·Midwest Fire Fest focuses on art work created by fire and is heavy on demonstrations. It will be held July 27-28 in Cambridge, Wis. Among the demonstrations will be blacksmith forging, knife metal working, iron pouring and pit-fired pottery. There will also be live music and lots of food and drink.

·The Nickel Plate Express offers rail excursions across Hamilton County, Ind., throughout the summer. The outings from Atlanta, Ind., are aboard vintage 1956 train equipment and include family trips and adults-only trips.

·The Riverview Conference Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa, will hold its 98th annual Cedar Falls Bible Conference on July 27-Aug. 4. The free event includes presentations by Christian speakers and musical entertainers.

·The 11th annual Taste of Wisconsin will feature food and beverages from the state on the Kenosha lakefront July 26-28. There will also be live music, chef demonstrations and kids’ activities.

·The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Mich., holds its 27th annual Car Capital Auto Show on July 27 downtown. Hundreds of vehicles from the early 1900s to the present will be on display, and there will be live music. Judging will be in 64 classes.

·The AuSable River Canoe Marathon is a grueling 120-mile overnight non-stop marathon from Grayling to Oscoda, Mich. From July 27-28, more than 60 two-person canoe racing teams from throughout the U.S. and Canada will compete. There are a variety of other activities beginning on July 25.

·Jasper, Ind., celebrates its German heritage with Strassenfest, Aug. 1-4. There will be German music, food and dancing, along with a log-sawing competition, polka contest, quilt shows, hot-air balloons, bike ride, car show, antique tractor and farm machinery show, beer and wine, a car rally and more.

·The 13th annual Nature Photography Contest & Exhibit will be held at Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area near Morris, Ill. Amateur photographers are invited to enter photos taken at state, county or national public lands in Illinois. Photos must be delivered to the park on Aug. 4 and will be exhibited Aug. 10-11.

·Visitors to Door County, Wis., can enjoy live music throughout the summer at five venues in Fish Creek. Check out the schedules at