Step right up to West Towne Mall to see the Wisconsin debut of The Venardos Circus, a world-class animal-free circus under a custom-made big top tent. An assortment of aerial and acrobatic feats, juggling, contortion, comedy, daredevilry, magic, music and other features combines the circus tradition with Broadway. Meet the cast, snap selfies and play games at a pre-show party. Classic circus concessions are available to purchase. Show times are 6:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Wednesday, Thursday, Aug. 30-31; 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. matinees Saturday, Sunday, Aug. 31, and Sept. 1; noon and 3 p.m. matinees Sept. 2; and a sensory-friendly matinee 2 p.m. Aug. 30. Admission is $25/adults, $15/youth under 12, free for 24 months and younger with paying adult, and $35-$45/premium reserved seating.
More information and purchase tickets at www.venardoscircus.com.
Hobnob with friends and neighbors at Middleton Good Neighbor Festival 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Firemen’s Park, 7420 North Ave., Middleton. Family-friendly activities include live music and entertainment, midway and carnival, art show, 5K run, petting zoo, pickleball competition, laser tag, and food and beverages. The Wisconsin Remembers Memorial Exhibit will be displayed in Firemen’s Park 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday during the festival. The Festival parade steps off at noon Sunday on University Avenue in Middleton, turns north on Parmenter Street, and ends at Firemen’s Park.
More information goodneighborfestival.com.
Surround yourself with trees and music this weekend as the Orton Park Festival continues in Orton Park, 1103 Spaight St. Friday’s festivities begin with Get Back Wisconsin at 5:15 p.m., followed by Slow Pulp, and topped off by Cycropia Aerial Dance’s dazzling performance in the trees. Raine Stern gets the music going again 11:45 a.m. Saturday and a lineup of Angela Puerta Trio, German Art Students, Honor Among Thieves, Rosie Flores, and Radkey fills the day. Wake up early Sunday for a 9 a.m. Jazz Brunch with the Bill Roberts Combo, or sleep in and catch Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets start the final day of music at noon, that also includes Combo Noir, Wood Chickens, Dos Santos and The Main Squeeze. The free family-friendly event has kids’ games and activities, silent and live auctions, a cakewalk, craft beer, cider and wine tents and restaurant vendors.
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Kick up your heels with Westport Squares during their free Introductory Square Dances 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and 6:30 to 8:30 Aug. 30, at Maple Bluff Community Center, 18 Oxford Place. You can learn basic square dance calls in as little as an hour, then dance for fun and exercise for years to come! No experience required, just wear a comfortable pair of shoes and be ready for fun.
More information www.westportsquares.com; or phone 608-244-3694.
Free up time 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday to stop by DreamBank, 821 E. Washington St., for a free book and doughnut. Madison author and artist Jason Kotecki will be on hand to sign his newest book “A Chance of Awesome: How Changing the Way You See Changes Everything.” The first 150 visitors get the book filled with his colorful artwork, anecdotes and insights for free. Kotecki thought since there were doughnuts on the cover of his book, everyone should get a free doughnut, as well. While you’re there, check out the “Power of Play” exhibit that Kotecki collaborated with DreamBank to build.