Balloons, jazz, comical magic and more in Wausau this weekend

Justin Willman Illusionati Tour 

Thursday, 7/11 | Grand Theater, Wausau 

Besides appearing on multiple late-night shows such as The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Conan and Ellen, Willman also stars in his own Netflix series called The Magic Prank Show and Magic For Humans. That’s because Willman is one funny comedian, whose goal is to make your brain melt from laughing so hard. His magic videos will too. Watching a prank on his YouTube channel where a lady watches in horror as a vase she brought in to be appraised at $100,000 ends up on Justin’s head was priceless. (The whole thing, as the title suggests, turns out to be a magic trick.) This is a unique act and one definitely worth checking out. 7 pm. $35-$150.

Emmitt James 

Thursday 7/11 | Pfiffner Pioneer Park, Stevens Point 

It might surprise you to learn we have a rapper who got his start in the area but Emmit James has been on a tear since leaving Stevens Point. I first became aware of James during a poetry contest at the Riverfront Rendezvous event. At the time he was an up-and-coming rapper — now he’s built a reputation for himself in LA and Milwaukee, with an interesting style that blends jazz and hip hop for a unique style that’s subversive and chill at the same time. See James as part of the Levitt Amp series at Pfiffner Pioneer Park in downtown Stevens Point along the Wisconsin River. Free. 6 pm, headlining bands start at 7 pm, and come at 5 pm for yoga. More information and even a Spotify playlist at

COTS: Brass Differential 

Wednesday, 7/17 | 400 Block, Wausau 

It’s not summer without Concerts on the Square! And this one is always on my must-go-see list. Brass Differential is like a brass explosion. There is something about the sounds of horns in rock music that has always struck a chord with me. Maybe it was growing up with Chicago in the background (late guitarist Terry Kath is one of the all-time underrated guitarists, I will die on this hill). This Green Bay act has been around since 2012, and they just haven’t stopped being one of Wisconsin’s premier and unique party bands. 6 pm. Shows run 6-8 pm. Weather locations vary, but have been held this year at the Rothschild Pavilion and at bantr in Rothschild. Free. Keep an eye on Wausau Events’ Facebook page for any venue changes. 

Taste N Glow

Fri.-Sat. 7/12-13 | 140914 Stettin Road, Stettin 

Taste N Glow

There was a point in the year where it didn’t look like Taste N Glow was going to happen. And then it was, but things got confusing as the old website wasn’t updated (turned out there was a new one). But rest assured, Taste N Glow Balloon Festival is on! The festival features everything from flea markets to lumberjack shows to a professional drone show, local vendors and so much more. Gates open 11 am-10:30 pm Friday, 6 am-10:30 pm Saturday. $10 per day, weekend passes available. 

Jazz on the River: Tim Buchholz Quartet 

Sunday 7/14 | Kickbusch Plaza, Wausau 

Everybody knows about the Concerts on the Square on the 400 Block, but it’s far from Wausau’s only concert series. A great one happening this Sunday is the Jazz on the River series. The series takes some of the best jazz musicians from around the area and beyond and puts them on the portable stage on Kickbusch Plaza behind the Wausau library branch downtown. Take a chill pill while tuning into some jazz, with Tim Buchholz and his quarter. Buchholz teaches jazz at the local brand of UW-Stevens Point and besides being a world-class adventure racer, he’s a heck of a musician who has played at Carnegie Hall and The Lincoln Center. 5 pm. Free. Rain location: St. Andrew’s, Rib Mountain. 

Iola Car Show

Thurs.-Sat. 7/11-13 | Iola Car Show Grounds, Iola

Iola Car Show

If you love all things automobile-related, then the Iola Car Show is your jam! This year’s theme is called The Meeting of the Muscle – think muscle cars from the 50s and 60s, with guests to boot. Those guests include Henry Winkler, Donny Most and Anson Williams from Happy Days; John Provost from Lassie; and modern-day guests such as Emily Reeves from Flying Sparks Garage, Von Hot Rod from Pinstriper, and Greg and Leah Stelse from Greg’s Speed Shop in Waupaca.