Wisconsin If you're planning a trip to the Badger State next month, make it the weekend of March 13. You can celebrate St. Patrick's Day a few days early at Milwaukee's 43rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade (saintpatricksparade.org), which falls this year on March 14.
Or, you can head to Racine to celebrate a legendary jazzman at the Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke Fest, March 12-15. The festival of jazz music, culture and history features musical performances, screenings of rare jazz films, lectures on the jazz age, bus tours of stops in Bix's life and more. Bix Fest headquarters are at the Racine Marriott; prices vary per event. 847-996-0246, geocities.com/bixfest.
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... the Metropolis Sci-Fi, Comic & Toy Expo. Held annually in Downstate Metropolis, this year's event takes place March 14-15 at the Baymont Inn & Suites and features wheelers and dealers who specialize in print comic books, action figures and more.
Guests include writers and editors as well as comic book-themed movie "stars." Admission is $3. metropoliscomicshow.ning.com.
It may be hard to imagine now, but spring is just around the corner. Get a jump on spring gardening March 14-22 with a trip to the 51st Annual Indiana Flower & Patio Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
The newly redesigned show features more than 30 display landscapes, opportunities to meet and greet hundreds of outdoor-living experts, plus food and a full bar. General admission $12; children under 12 free. 800-215-1700, indianaflowerandpatioshow.com.
Lollapalooza may have to wait till summertime in Chicago, but Symphony-Palooza takes place March 7-8 in Des Moines.
As the fourth in the symphony's Masterworks Concert Series, Palooza's programming ranges from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 to the contemporary "Random Roads Suite" by guest musicians the Project trio. Tickets are $12.50-$51.50. 515-243-1888, dmsymphony.org.
MichiganIt may not be Sundance, but the East Lansing Film Festival (ELFF) is the largest, most eclectic fest in the state, featuring foreign feature, documentary, short and student films from the world over.
The fest takes place March 19-26 in East Lansing, culminating in the Lake Michigan Film Competition, which gives cash awards to locally shot movies. 517-336-5802, elff.com.