Paddle & Portage
Maxwell Street Days
State Street, 8 am-6 pm. Also Saturday (8 am-6 pm) & Sunday (10 am-5 pm), July 21 & 22
In the annual shop-a-thon, merchants take their wares out to the sidewalk for your ogling pleasure. Between the bargains, the food and the live music at Peace Park, it's a must-do Madison event.
Dane County Fair
Alliant Energy Center, through July 22
The people-watching is great at the fair -- and the animal-watching isn't bad either. The fun continues with rides, music, acrobats, a hybrid car fest and funnel cakes galore.
Monona Terrace Anniversary
Monona Terrace, 6-10 pm
It's time to celebrate -- rather than argue about -- the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired convention center. The free 10th anniversary event offers fireworks, ethnic food vendors, and music by Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Madisalsa, the Ben & Leo Sidran Trio and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.
For the Cause
Orpheum Theatre Stage Door, 6 pm-2 am
This fund-raiser seeks to help Hmong living in Laos, as well as raise awareness of their plight. It features comedy, music, poetry, art and dancing.
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Hemsley Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (4 & 7:30 pm) & Sunday (4 pm), July 19, 21 & 22
You can bring the kids to see the University Theatre's delightful musical adaptation of Charles Schulz's comic strip, which alternates snappy walk-ons with whimsical musical numbers. The cast members are all in good voice.
Cox & Box and The Sorcerer
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm.
Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (3 pm), July 21 & 22 For this year's Gilbert and Sullivan production, the Madison Savoyards have chosen two rarely staged one-acts. The Sorcerer is about a potion that makes everyone fall in love with the wrong partner; Cox & Box (by Gilbert and Burnard) finds two men unwittingly renting the same room. James Schaffner of the New York City Opera will sing lead tenor in both operettas.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm), Sunday (2 pm), Wednesday & Thursday (7:30 pm), July 21, 22, 25 & 26
Madison's Blue Dot Theatre presents Richard Dresser's play about Little League baseball coaches with drastically different approaches.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9 pm
Multiple percussionists and a list of influences that includes everything from Grateful Dead jamming to Middle Eastern styles make New Monsoon more varied than a lot of jam acts. If the sun's shining, the hippies will be dancing.
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
Dumate's MCs play off a live rhythm section with more taste than a lot of heavily hyped rhymers do. DJ Muhammad and Lucha Libre are also on the bill.
Madison Children's Museum Benefit Sale
ABS Warehouse, 8830 N. Greenview Dr. in Middleton, 7 am-4 pm. Also Sunday, July 22, 7 am-2 pm
The annual sale features over 10,000 dolls and doll accessories -- returns and seconds donated by American Girl. Why not help support the Madison Children's Museum while also getting an excellent deal on a satin floral PJ set? (Tickets are required for Saturday entry; Sunday entry is free.)
Paddle & Portage
James Madison Park, 10 am. Awards and music following the race at Olin Park
How fast can you paddle through Lake Mendota, carry your craft across the isthmus to Lake Monona, and get to Olin Park? Or, alternately: How badly do you want the T-shirt that goes only to those who finish the race?
Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 11 am, 2 & 5 pm. Also Sunday, July 22, 2 pm
Overture doesn't usually present a big show in the summer, so this is a real treat for families. The 90-minute musical stars everybody's favorite choo-choo, Thomas the Tank Engine, in his first touring stage show. Along with his pals, he gets the railroad ready for Sodor's Magic Lantern Festival and teaches a lesson about cooperation along the way.
Brittingham Park/West Washington Ave., noon-6 pm. Also Sunday, 1-6 pm, with a noon march from West Washington to Brittingham Park, followed by a 1 pm rally
Madison Pride hosts the local gay community's annual extravaganza. It features a parade, speeches, vendors and entertainment by Ultra Naté, Tonya Watts, Ronnie Nyles, Pulsation and Lexi Ravyn Productions. Not even a state ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions can dampen this party.
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 4-9 pm. Also Sunday, July 22, 11:30 am-7 pm
The gods will be angry if you don't get yourself over to Greek Fest, which features dancing, music, kids' games and tours of the lovely Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. And if you don't try the luscious food, the gods will just write you off as a fool.
Opera in the Park
Garner Park, 8 pm
It does one's heart good to see huge crowds -- over 10,000 in years past -- flocking to opera. Madison Opera's free concert allows you to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinners to Garner Park, where John DeMain will conduct the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera Chorus and four soloists. Expect operatic hits, Broadway numbers, and highlights of the Opera's upcoming season.
Four Chairs No Waiting
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Back in the '70s, local singer Lynette helped make this jazz-funk-inflected band the most beloved nightclub act in town. Former members are assembling for what promises to be a night of great dance music and fond memories.
John Eddie's Beach Party
Club Tavern, 1 pm
The amiable New Jersey-bred Americana veteran closes out a full day of partying out in Middleton, Money magazine's "best place to live in America." Mighty Short Bus, Lube, Sand and Pine are all scheduled to appear.
Monika Antun and Torleiv & Marit Loyland
Advent Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
Antun, a champion fiddler from the Norway's Setesdal region, will saw and stamp while the Loylands provide the fancy footwork.