Now in its fourth decade, the Taste of Portage Market Fair is an end-of-summer tradition for this town of 10,000 located right between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. From its origins as a one-day, Saturday event, it has blossomed to include a hopping Friday night. This year’s Taste of Portage Market Fair is scheduled for August 25 and August 26.
Friday evening, August 25
The fun starts Friday evening at 5 p.m. at the Market Square parking lot. Located along State Highway 33 on the east side of downtown Portage, Market Square offers great food provided by local eateries, food trucks, and non-profit organizations. The beer tent is the perfect place to grab a cold beverage, then listen to live music from local favorite Best Practice as they play many favorite pop and country tunes at 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 26
The event really hits its stride on Saturday. It kicks off at 7 a.m. with a brand-new half marathon and 5K. Runners will start and finish at the Columbia County Administration Building, 112 East Edgewater Street. Runners make their way past several community parks and onto the paved Levee path along the Wisconsin River. Registration for the half marathon is currently open; click here for details.
Continuing at Market Square — and now encompassing Cook Street and DeWitt Street for the all-make, all-model, classic car and truck show and craft vendor fair beginning at 10 a.m. – Saturday really gets cooking. Any time there is a car show, there are always classic car owners more than happy to talk classic cars and the good old days with attendees. The Taste of Portage car show is no exception.
After drooling over the magnificent cars, head to the craft fair on DeWitt Street. You are sure to find something that interests you when scanning the wonderful offerings inside the craft vendor tents, too. Many handmade items are on display.
The day includes a little history, too
If you like history, Portage has plenty of it. Take a guided, walking tour of downtown, which leaves the Chamber office, 104 W. Cook Street, at 10 a.m. Local historian Judy Eulberg takes you on this free, hour-long tour. Eulberg shares her vast knowledge about the history and architecture of many downtown buildings.
Enjoy more great food, the cold beverages at the beer tent, and the live music at Market Square. The talented Copper Box performs their twist on polka, rock, and blues songs at 11 a.m. Following Copper Box, the WhiskeyBelles, an energetic female trio playing country, Americana, folk-revival and roots-country tunes, performs at 3 p.m. During the intermission between bands, students from Plumer Karate America put on a demonstration, displaying the mastery of techniques they have acquired.
Don’t forget the kids…
Kid’s activities are held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. by the corner of Cook Street and Marachowsky Place near Market Square. Youngsters can get their face painted like a lion – or maybe a butterfly or slithery snake – and take home a cool balloon sculpture, too. The balloon artist can make just about anything little ones’ request. The inflatable bouncy house and slide provide lots of entertainment, too. Let them burn some serious energy off jumping inside the house.
Many of the shops in the downtown area will be having summer sidewalk sales during the event on Saturday. We invite you to stop out and find those great deals in downtown Portage. Shop, dine and spend some time all weekend! Click Here for the complete schedule of the 2023 Taste of Portage Market Fair.