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Summer Guide

Fairs, festivals, and other events in Chicago and across the region

May 14, 2009


Illinois | Indiana | Michigan | Wisconsin

The admission fees listed for most neighborhood festivals are suggested donations for charity or community projects.


Asian American Festival Performances, exhibits, food, a street market, and more.  Mon-Fri 5/18-5/22, 9 AM-5 PM, Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, 312-744-3315,

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest An exhibit from the Irish Music Archives, a dance competition, Connemara ponies, exhibition matches by the Chicago Youth Gaelic Football and Hurling Club, 20 Irish import stores, carnival rides, and live music, all on a 50-acre campus.  5/22-5/25, Fri 3-11 PM, Sat-Sun noon-11 PM, Mon noon-8 PM, Gaelic Park, 6119 W. 147th, Oak Forest, 708-687-9323,, $15, $12 kids and seniors.

Randolph Street Market Festival The biggest attractions here are the Chicago Antique Market, with 150 vendors selling furnishings, housewares, clothing, jewelry, and more, and the Indie Designer Market, where you can buy directly from the designers and artists. Smaller markets include a vinyl swap meet, a “Fancy Food Market” promising truffles and rare olive oils and spices, a bazaar for artisans from Chicago’s ethnic communities, and the “Do-It-Yourself Estate Sale” for “anyone who collects or has inherited treasures they’d like to sell.”  5/23-5/24, 6/27-6/28, 7/25-7/26, 8/29-8/30, and 9/26-9/27, Sat 10 AM-5 PM, Sun 10 AM-4 PM, Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington,, $10, $8 advance, $5 students.

Constructor Craft Fair Now in its second year, this fair offers goods from 45 “bad-ass crafters” and goodie bags to the first 50 arrivals.  Sun 5/24, 10 AM-6 PM, Fitzgerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 866-468-3401, constructorcraftfair.comFree

May Fest Chicago You’ll find good old-fashioned gemutlichkeit and an actual maypole at this Lincoln Square festival.  5/28-5/31, Thu 5-9:30PM, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat noon-11 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, 4700 N. Lincoln, mayfestchicago.comFree

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest Trippin Billies and Sixteen Candles headline.  5/30-5/31, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, Sheffield between Belmont and School. $5.

Do-Division Street Fest Ten blocks of sidewalk sales and local food vendors, plus a family area and music programmed by the Empty Bottle. Flosstradamus and Menomena headline.  Sat-Sun 5/30-5/31, noon-10 PM, Division between Damen and Leavitt,, $5.


The Raven A food and music festival to celebrate Ravenswood; proceeds go toward rebuilding the playground. Trippin Billies, 16 Candles, and Mike & Joe headline.  Fri-Sun 6/5-6/7, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland,, $5.

Eastside Millennium Art Festival 175 artists on three blocks, with live music and food.  6/5-6/7, Fri noon-5 PM, Sat-Sun 10 AM-5 PM, Lake and Michigan, 847-926-4300,

Taste of Polonia Polish cuisine, live music, and more.  6/5-6/7, Fri-Sat noon-11 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, Copernicus Cultural & Civic Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, 773-777-8898, $6, $3 seniors, kids under 12 free.

Chi-Town Sta-Bil Kruze Close to a thousand hot rod owners will parade their vehicles along a three-mile route through Grant Park and Millennium Park for this charity event. Starts on Columbus near Buckingham Fountain.  Sat 6/6, 8 AM-noon, chitownkruze.comFree

Carribean Jerkfest Celebration of pan-Caribbean culture with food, live music and DJs, crafts, and even a dominoes tournament.  Sat 6/6, 10 AM-10 PM, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 773-907-4792,, $10 advance, $15 gate.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival Headliners include Donnie McClurkin, Fantasia, and Kirk Franklin.  Sat-Sun 6/6-6/7, noon-9:30 PM, Millennium Park, 312-742-1169, chicagogospelmusicfestival.usFree

Metronome Celebration Two stages, with rock and electronic music on Saturday and folk and punk on Sunday. Future Rock, John Vanderslice, Justin Townes Earle, and Deals Gone Bad headline.  Sat-Sun 6/6-6/7, noon-10 PM, Milwaukee and Armitage,, $5.

Grant Park Music Festival Guest conductors and instrumentalists season the Grant Park Orchestra’s renditions of everything from Mahler to Bernstein.  Every Wed, Fri, and Sat (except the weekend of 7/4) and a few other days, 6/10-8/15, Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 55 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168, grantparkmusicfestival.comFree

SummerDance Concerts in a variety of genres preceded by free dance lessons in the relevant style.  6/11-8/24, Thu-Sat 6-9:30 PM, Sun 4-7 PM, Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan, 312-742-4007, chicagosummerdance.orgFree

Chicago Blues Festival Featured artists include Shirley Johnson, Bettye LaVette, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. See our June 11 issue for a complete critical guide.  Fri-Sun 6/12-6/14, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Grant Park, Columbus & Jackson, 312-744-3315, chicagobluesfestival.usFree

Party at St. Mike’s This annual event, timed to coincide with the Old Town Art Fair, features a beanbag tournament and music by Hairbangers Ball, the Freddy Jones Band, and Mike and Joe,  6/12-6/14, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 4-10 PM, Sun noon-8 PM, St. Michael’s Church, 1633 N. Cleveland, 312-642-2498,, $5 daily, $10 after 7 PM on Sat.

Ribfest Chicago This North Center fest has expanded to three nights this year in order to deliver on a promise of 65,000 pounds of ribs and 25 bands in 25 hours.  6/12-6/14, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat-Sun noon-10 PM, Damen and Irving Park, 773-525-3609,, $5.

Andersonville Midsommarfest Celebrating Andersonville’s Swedish heritage with eats and entertainment.  Sat-Sun 6/13-6/14, 11 AM-10 PM, Clark and Foster,, $5.

Humboldt Park Art Fair Put on by emerging artists for emerging artists, this year’s fair features more than 30 artists and 20 musical acts.  Sat 6/13, 10 AM-9 PM, Humboldt Park Boat House, 1400 N. Sacramento, 773-319-3112, graffitizone.orgFree

Let’s Pet Together Festival A “wooftop” festival on top of the Anti-Cruelty Society’s parking garage featuring games, doggie massages, a pet psychic, and more.  Sat 6/13, noon-4 PM, 157 W. Grand,, $20, $5 kids.

Old Town Art Fair Juried show of more than 260 artists.  Sat-Sun 6/13-6/14, 10 AM-6 PM, Lincoln and Wisconsin, 312-337-1938,, $7.

Wells Street Art Festival One of the city’s bigger art fairs; entertainment includes Hello Dave and Beatles tribute band American English.  Sat-Sun 6/13-6/14, 10 AM-10 PM, Wells between North and Division, $7-$10.

Chicago Sister Cities International Festival Daley Plaza becomes an international village to celebrate Chicago’s 27 sister cities with food, performances, and merch.  Mon-Thu 6/15-6/18, 11 AM-8 PM, 50 W. Washington, 312-744-3315, chicagosistercities.comFree

Bronzeville Cultural Festival Celebrating the city’s historic black-culture hub; includes a book fair and film festival with screenings at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Caruthers Center for Inner City Studies, and other venues. Times and prices TBA.  Thu-Sun 6/18-6/21,

Naper Days Family activities, a baking competition, and music by the Smithereens, Matthew Sweet, and others.  6/19-6/21, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-6 PM, 523 S. Webster, Naperville, 630-420-6010, $5, $10 after 6 PM, free kids under 9.

Scottish Festival and Highland Games Celebration of Scottish culture including bagpipe music, Highland dancing, Scotch whisky tastings, rugby sevens, live music, and more.  6/19-6/20, Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 8 AM-9 PM, Oak Brook Polo Grounds, 31st & York, Oak Brook,, $10.

Chicago Peace Fest Nearly 30 bands perform to promote peace, love, and freedom.  Fri-Sun 6/19-6/21, noon-9 PM, Lincoln Park, LaSalle & Stockton,

Taste of Randolph Street High-end restaurants hit the street; local and national acts (Dr. Dog, Tinted Windows, the Hold Steady) hit the stage.  6/19-6/21, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat 2-11 PM, Sun 2-10 PM, Randolph between Peoria and Racine, 312-458-9401, $10.

Belmont Arts & Music Festival (BAM! Fest) Featured musical acts include Jon McLaughlin, the Trews, and Lovehammers.  Sat-Sun 6/20-6/21, noon-10 PM, Belmont between Damen and Leavitt, 773-327-5123,, $5.

Chicago Summerfest Art show, family area, and live music with lineup TBA.  6/20-6/21, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-9 PM, Lincoln Park, LaSalle and Stockton, 773-665-4682, $5.

Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts Thirty food vendors, 350 artists, and live music including Ultimate Family Biz and Sarah & the Tall Boys.  Sat-Sun 6/20-6/21, 10 AM-9 PM, Chicago and Main, Evanston,, $1.

Chicago Salsa Festival Featured musical acts include Angel Melendez, the Johnny Blass Orchestra, and Mannix Martinez; also dance instruction, vendors, and more.  Tue-Sun 6/23-6/28, Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, concerts and dancing at Excalibur, the Cubby Bear, Park West, and other locations, 312-726-7500,, all-events pass $240 until 5/31.

Chicago Arabesque Food and handicrafts from across the Middle East.  6/24-6/27, Wed-Fri 10 AM-3 PM, Sat 11 AM-7 PM, Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, 312-744-3315, chicagoarabesque.comFree

Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club Family Fest & Carnival Carnival rides, games, petting zoo, and cornhole tournament.  Wed-Sun 6/24-6/28, 2-11 PM, 2501 W. Irving Park, nbgc.orgFree

Cans Music Fest Vanilla Ice and Naughty by Nature headline.  Fri-Sat 6/26-6/27, 4 PM, Cans Bar & Canteen, 1640 N. Damen, 773-227-2277,, $5.

Chicago Pride Fest and Parade Two-day festival at Halsted and Waveland. The parade travels north on Halsted from Belmont to Broadway, south on Broadway, and east on Diversey to Cannon.  6/26-6/28, fest Fri 3-10 PM, Sat 11 AM-10 PM; parade Sun noon,, $5 (fest).

Chicago Soul Music Outdoor concert series; lineup TBA.  6/26-6/28, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 3-10 PM, Sun 3-10 PM, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 773-665-4682,, admission TBA.

Taste of Chicago Restaurant bonanza, plus concerts by the Wallflowers, Barenaked Ladies, Ne-Yo, Counting Crows, and more.  6/26-7/5, 11 AM-9 PM (till 9:30 PM 7/3-7/4), Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, tasteofchicago.usFree

Fountain Square Art Festival Juried fine arts fair with more than 250 artists.  Sat-Sun 6/27-6/28, 10 AM-6 PM, Sherman and Church, Evanston, 773-868-3010, $5.

Girl Blast This chick-heavy Pride Fest afterparty has burgers from La Tache, beer, DJs, and dancing.  Sun 6/28, 1-10 PM, Ann Sather parking lot, 929 W. Belmont, 312-493-7123, price TBA.


Naperville Ribfest Huey Lewis and the News, Heart, and Blue Oyster Cult headline. Seventeen world-class rib vendors are promised, along with a half hour of fireworks on the fourth.  Thu-Sun 7/2-7/5, noon-10 PM, Knoch Park, 724 S. West, Naperville,, $10.

Caribbean Festival Now in its 17th year, this annual event (formerly the African-Caribbean International Festival of Life) features 100 calypso, reggae, African, and Latino acts.  Fri-Sun 7/3-7/5, Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove,, $10 advance, $15 gate.

Irish American Heritage Festival Cultural presentations, matchmaking, a mashed-potato eating contest, and music by Gaelic Storm, Eileen Ivers, the Tossers, and more.  7/10-7/12, Fri 6 PM-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-11 PM, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, 773-282-7035,, $8 advance, $14 gate, $7 seniors.

Jeff Fest Entertainment includes a U2 cover band, Rock Candy, Too White Crew, and family fun events on Saturday afternoon.  7/10-7/11, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat 4-11 PM, Milwaukee and Higgins, 773-736-6697, $5.

Old Saint Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party Two stages of live music, lineup TBA.  Fri-Sat 7/10-7/11, 5:30-10:30 PM, Madison and Desplaines,, $40, $35 advance.

Chicago Folk & Roots Festival  Sat-Sun 7/11-7/12, noon-9:30 PM, Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside,, $8, $4 kids and seniors.

Chicago Reader: These Parts issue

Benton Harbor Wild Wild Midwest The architecture, the agriculture, the art, the archaeology—there's nowhere in America quite like Detroit right now.
By Jonathan Mahalak

Willi Lehner There Will Be Wind Some Wisconsin residents say wind turbines are making them sick—but it's hard to get much sympathy when you object to something as squeaky clean as renewable energy
By Michael Miner

Gary, Indiana Men In Suits A new documentary explores the cult of Wisconsin mascot Bucky Badger.
By Ed M. Koziarski

Gary, Indiana Cheese Makers for a Day Some of Chicagoland's best chefs head for Coopersville, Michigan to get their hands curdy.
By Mike Sula

Gary, Indiana Summer Guide Fairs, festivals, and other events in Chicago and across the region

Rock Around the Block “Thirty of the Windy City’s best bands.”  7/11-7/12, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, Lincoln and Belmont, 773-665-4682, $5.

Tour de Fat A bike parade is followed by a car funeral, live music from Mucca Pazza, rides on art bikes, and plenty of beer from New Belgium. Finally, one person will renounce driving and trade their car for a new bike (to enter the contest, go to  Sat 7/11, 9 AM-4 PM, Palmer Square, 3100 W. Palmer, 773-782-9471,, $5.

West Fest Big neighborhood fest with better-than-average music; this year’s lineup features Local H and Richard Edwards from Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s.  Sat-Sun 7/11-7/12, noon-10 PM, 312-850-9390, Chicago between Damen and Wood,, $5 suggested donation.

Halsted Tastes Better Sample chow from North Halsted neighborhood restaurants for one all-you-can-eat price.  Mon 7/13, 6-9 PM, Halsted between Belmont and Addison,, $30, $25 in advance.

Chicago Outdoor Film Festival Free dusk screenings of classics like Sunset Boulevard (opening night), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (7/28), and Psycho (8/11) continue through the hot season.  Tuesdays, 7/14-8/25, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, chicagooutdoorfilmfestival.usFree

Pitchfork Music Festival Indie-rock mecca, with Yo La Tengo, Wavves, Disappears, the Flaming Lips, Vivan Girls, Dianogah, Tortoise, the Walkmen, and many more.  7/17-7/19, Fri 4-10 PM, Sat-Sun noon-10 PM, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 312-746-5494,, $35 per day, two- and three-day passes $60 and $75.

Abbott Park Community Gospel Festival Food, games, horseback riding, a water slide, and a gospel concert.  Sat 7/18, noon-6 PM, Abbott Park, 49 E. 95th. Free

Sheffield Garden Walk & Festival Self-guided tours of more than 100 gardens, a garden center, guided architectural tours, live music, and more.  Sat-Sun 7/18-7/19, noon-8:30 PM, Webster and Sheffield,, $6, $10 after 4 PM.

Southside Gospel Festival National and local gospel musicians, food, a senior pavilion, and kids’ zone.  Sat 7/18, 10 AM-9 PM, Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine, 773-723-0908. Free

Taste of River North Formerly River North Summerfest, this year the festival features more neighborhood restaurants than before in addition to live music and local artists and merchants.  7/18-7/19, Sat 2-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-7 PM, Erie Park, 630 N. Kingsbury, 312-321-0170, $5 suggested donation.

Chinatown Summer Fair Live music, food, crafts, and more; a lion dance procession starts at 12:30 PM.  Sun 7/19, 10 AM-8 PM, Wentworth between Cermak and 24th, chicagochinatown.orgFree

Dearborn Garden Walk & Heritage Festival Tours of more than 20 gardens, live jazz, and a narrated architectural tour.  Sun 7/19, noon-5 PM, Goethe and Dearborn,, $35, $30 advance.

Newberry Library Book Fair and Bughouse Square Debates Got a soapbox? Get on it at the Bughouse Square Debates, held in historic Washington Square Park, which for the better half of the 20th century was “the most celebrated free speech center in the nation,” per the Encyclopedia of Chicago; prepare to heckle and be heckled. Study up on your topic by perusing the 110,000 donated books in 70 categories—many priced under $2—on offer at the Newberry’s annual book fair.  7/23-7/26, book fair Thu-Fri noon-8 PM, Sat-Sun 10 AM-6 PM, debate Sat noon-4 PM, Washington Square Park, 901 N. Clark, 312-255-3510, www.newberry.orgFree

Peruvian Festival Friday’s celebration in Daley Plaza will be followed by events around town in celebration of Peruvian independence.  Fri 7/24, noon-1 PM, Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, 847-933-9239.

Edgebrook Fest Arts and crafts festival.  7/25-7/26, Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-8 PM, Kinzua and Devon, edgebrookchamber.comFree

Ghanafest Billed as “the largest and most spectacular Ghanaian cultural exposition of its kind in the diaspora,” with arts, crafts, traditional foods and more.  Sat 7/25, 10 AM-10 PM, Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove, ghananationalcouncil.orgFree

Taste of Lincoln Avenue Lincoln Park’s longest block party, with more than 350 vendors, 40 bands on five stages, and a block-long kids’ carnival.  Sat-Sun 7/25-7/26, noon-10 PM, Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood,, $7, $10 after 5 PM.

Venetian Night In an evening event modeled on boat parades in Venice, about 35 yachts decked out in lights cruise the lakefront between Roosevelt and Monroe. Fireworks after sunset.  Sat 7/25, time TBA, venetiannightchicago.usFree

Wicker Park Fest Neighborhood fest with indie rock on two stages and a sidewalk sale.  Sat-Sun 7/25-7/26, noon-10 PM, Damen and North,, $5.

Celebrate Clark Street Rogers Park art, food, and music fest with live music on two stages; there’s fair trade merch for sale this year.  Sun 7/26, 1-11 PM, Clark between Morse and Estes, 773-508-5885. Free

Chicago Criterium Bike Race Pro-am bike racing on a tight, closed loop for cash prizes.  Sun 7/26, 7 AM-2:30 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, free to watch.

Fiesta Del Sol Carnival games, medical screenings, voter registration tables, and a soccer tournament balance out this music-heavy event, which drew an estimated one million people last year.  7/30-8/2, Thu 5-10 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM-11 PM, Sun 11 AM-10 PM, Cermak between Loomis and Morgan, fiestadelsol.orgFree

Gold Coast-River North Art Fair More than 300 juried artists, food, and live music.  7/31-8/2, Fri noon-5 PM, Sat-Sun 10 AM-5 PM, along LaSalle at the intersections of Huron, Erie, and Superior, 847-926-4300,

Heritage Jazzfest Music Weekend Founded by jazz singer Geraldine de Haas and run by her nonprofit, Jazz Unites.  Fri-Sun 7/31-8/2, 11 AM-8:30 PM, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., 773-734-2000,

Printers’ Ball Annual mixer for the publishing scene, courtesy of Poetry magazine, with music, video, performance, and lots of free books, magazines, journals, and other swag.  Fri 7/31, 5-11 PM, Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash, 312-787-7070, printersball.orgFree


Evanston Lakeshore Arts Festival Featuring a silent auction and live jazz and classical music.  Sat-Sun 8/1-8/2, 11 AM-6 PM, Dawes Park, 1700 Sheridan, Evanston, 847-448-8260, cityofevanston.orgFree

Northalsted Market Days This Boys Town bash bills itself as the largest two-day street fair in the midwest; entertainment had not been announced at press time.  Sat-Sun 8/1-8/2, 11 AM-10 PM, Halsted between Belmont and Addison, 773-584-6268,, $5.

Retro on Roscoe Antique vendors, bands, and a 25-chef chili cook-off, plus some 50 antique, classic, and muscle cars.  Sat-Sun 8/1-8/2, noon-10 PM,, Roscoe and Damen. Free

Serbfest Traditional Serbian food, dancing, and music. Fri 7/31, Sat-Sun 8/1-8/2, times TBA, Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 N. Redwood, 773-693-3366.

Uptown Unity Summer Fest Distinctive offerings include a karate tournament, petting zoo, and free immunizations for kids in addition to live music and food. Sat 8/1, 10 AM-5 PM, Clarendon Park, 4501 N. Clarendon, 773-878-4646. Free

World of Faeries Festival There’s live music, but costumed patrons are the main attraction.  8/1-8/2, Sat 10 AM-7 PM, Sun 10 AM-5 PM, Vasa Park, South Elgin, 773-553-0776,, $10, $8 seniors, kids under 13 free.

Belize Day in the Park A slice of the Carribean in Chicago, with Belizian food, music, and crafts. Sun 8/2, 10 AM-10 PM, Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove, 773-881-0412, chicagobelizedayinthepark.orgFree

Caribbean Festival/Jamaican Independence Celebration Celebrate Jamaica’s 47th year of independence with food, live blues, reggae, and jazz, and vendors offering clothes, jewelry, and the like.  Fri-Sun 8/7-8/9, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 312-427-0266, $15, seniors and kids under 13 $5, kids under 6 free, $10 in advance.

Lollapalooza Depeche Mode, Tool, the Killers, Lou Reed, and Beastie Boys headline this pricey extravaganza.  Fri-Sun 8/7-8/9, 11 AM-10 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 888-512-7469,, $190 for advance three-day pass, regular price TBA.

Taylor Street Festa Italiana Food and wine, street performers, bocce, and more.  8/7-8/9, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat noon-11 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, 847-795-1800.

Wrigleyville Summerfest Food, kids’ activities, music, and more.  8/8-8/9, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, 3350 N. Seminary, 773-665-4682,, $5.

Freewill Picnic Gospel Festival Free food, live gospel music, and plenty of kids’ events.  Sat 8/9, noon-6 PM, Good Hands Christian Academy, 2651 W. Roosevelt, 773-615-6413. Free

Augustfest Live music, carnival rides, food, and more. 8/14-8/16, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 1-11 PM, St. Agnes of Bohemia Catholic School, 2647 S. Central Park, 773-522-0142. Free

Edison Park Fest  8/14-8/16, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat 10 AM-11 PM, Sun 10 AM-10 PM, Olmsted between Oshkosh and Oliphant, 773-631-0063, edisonpark.comFree

Northside Summerfest North Center offers live music, food and drink, and arts and crafts.  8/14-8/16, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-10 PM, Lincoln and Belle Plaine, 773-665-4682, $5.

Oak Park Arts and Crafts Show  8/14-8/15, Fri 11 AM-7 PM, Sat 9 AM-5 PM, Scoville Park, 800 W. Lake, Oak Park. Free

Carifete Caribbean festival featuring live calypso, soca and reggae, food and drink, and a parade.  8/15-8/16, Sat 9 AM-9 PM, parade 1 PM, Sun 10 AM-9 PM, Midway Plaisance between 59th and 60th, chicagocarifete.comFree

Chicago Air & Water Show If you work downtown, you’ll probably see some of this annual spectacle/military recruitment stunt/disaster waiting to happen, whether you want to or not.  Sat-Sun 8/15-8/16, 9 AM water show, 11 AM-4 PM air show, North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr., 312-744-3370,

Croatian Fest Celebrate Velika Gospa, the Croatian equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day, with roasted lamb, kolo dancing, and a vodka lemonade stand.  Sat 8/15, 8 AM-midnight, St. Jerome Croatian Catholic Church, 2823 S. Princeton, 312-842-1871. Free

Green Music Fest In its first year, featuring live music programmed by Subterranean and exclusively eco-friendly vendors.  Sat-Sun 8/15-8/16, noon-11 PM, Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago, 312-850-9390,, $15, $11.50 in advance.

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest Arts, crafts, an open-studio tour, live music, food, and more.  8/21-8/23, kickoff party Fri 6-10 PM, street fair Sat-Sun noon-8 PM, 6900 block of N. Glenwood and 1400 block of W. Morse, 773-761-4477, glenwoodave.orgFree

Lakeview Music Fest Too White Crew headlines.  Sat-Sun 8/22-8/23, noon-10 PM, Sheffield and Addison, 773-868-3010, $5-$7.

Lincoln Park Fireman’s Cook-Off Chili cooking competition between neighborhood firehouses. Sat-Sun 8/22-8/23, 2500 N. Clark, 773-606-4460, $5, $10 after 4 PM.

Triedstone Full Gospel Church Fun Fest & Health Fair Gospel concerts, clothing and school supply giveaway, with free medical screenings.  Sat 8/22, 10 AM-6 PM, 1415 W. 104th, 773-881-7710.

Ukrainian Festival Ukrainian crafts, music, food, and entertainment.  Sat-Sun 8/22-8/23, noon-10 PM, Smith Park, 2526 W. Grand, 312-742-7534, $5.

Taste of Greece Souvlaki, gyros, meze, ouzo, and much more from Greektown restaurants.  Fri-Sat 8/28-8/29, 10 AM-10 PM, Halsted between Van Buren and Monroe, 847-509-8050. Free

Bucktown Arts Fest Art, poetry, music, theater, film, and food.  Sat-Sun 8/29-8/30, 11 AM-7 PM, kickoff party Thu 8/27, 6-10 PM (location TBA), Senior Citizens Park, Oakley and Lyndale, 312-409-8305, bucktownartsfest.comFree

Taste of Romania Authentic music, folk dancing, food, and a traditional grape stomping.  8/29-8/30, 11 AM-10 PM, 3600 N. California, 773-616-0070, $12.

Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival Salsa, reggaeton, mariachi, norteña, Spanish pop, and more are represented at the city’s annual Latin music fest.  Sat-Sun 8/29-8/30, hours TBA, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-742-7638. Free

Italian Village Ferrari Festival Sixty cars on display on Monroe between Clark and Dearborn, as well as live music, food and wine, and face painting and magic for the kids.  Sun 8/30, 11 AM-2 PM, 312-332-7005, $30.


Chicago Jazz Festival  Fri-Sun 9/4-9/6, schedule TBA, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, chicagojazzfestival.usFree

Bash on Wabash South Loop neighborhood festival featuring continuous live music from Mucca Pazza, Murder by Death, and others, plus beer and wine, an upscale craft show, and more.  9/5-9/6, noon-10 PM, Wabash between 13th and 15th, 773-584-6649, $5.

German American Fest A parade Saturday (starting at 4000 N. Lincoln) commemorates the life of Baron Friedrich von Steuben, who volunteered to serve under George Washington during the Revolutionary War; at the festival expect music, dancing, and copious amounts of German food and beer.  9/11-9/13, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat noon-11 PM, parade at 2 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, Lincoln, Leland, and Western, 630-653-3018, germanday.comFree

Harvest Fest Carnival rides, food, games, and music.  9/11-9/13, Fri 3-10 PM, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, 1900 W. Belmont, 773-665-4682,, admission and lineup TBA.

Windy City Wine Festival More than 250 wines from around the world, seminars, cooking demos, and food.  9/11-9/12, Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 3-10 PM, Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, 312-744-3315,, $30, $25 advance, $10 designated driver, under 21 free with paying adult.

Auburn Gresham 79th Street Renaissance Festival Plenty of festivities, food, and entertainment.  Sat 9/12, 10 AM-6 PM, 79th between Loomis and Racine, 773-483-3696, gagdc.orgFree

Celtic Fest Chicago This annual fest features live music plus dance performances, workshops, and traditional sports.  Sat-Sun 9/12-9/13, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315. Free

Renegade Craft Fair Put on by Renegade Handmade, this is one of the biggest and best known craft fairs in the nation. Music TBA.  Sat-Sun 9/12-9/13, 11 AM-7 PM, Division between Damen and Hermitage, 773-227-2707, renegadecraft.comFree

Crush, Music & Comedy Fest The annual wine tasting festival in Old Town (formerly Wine Crush of Old Town) is teaming up with Second City and Zanies to add comedy to the mix this year.  Sat 9/12, Wells between North and Evergreen, 773-584-6631, other details TBA

Lincoln Park Art Faire Nearly 100 vendors, food, and live music.  Sat-Sun 9/12-9/13, 11 AM-6 PM, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, 312-742-7726.

57th Street Children’s Book Fair  Sun 9/13, 1-6 PM, 57th between Dorchester and Kimbark, 773-619-8371, 57cbf.orgFree

World Music Festival: Chicago Most of this festival takes place in dozens of intimate shows at clubs and other small venues, with bigger names performing at Millennium Park (lineup TBA).  9/18-9/24, 312-742-1938,, admission ranges from free to $15.

Edgewater GRalley The theme is “grilling and chilling in Edgewater,” with music, food, a silent auction, a pig roasting competition between area culinary schools, and more.  Sat 9/19, noon-10 PM, Granville and Glenwood, 773-761-1782,, $10, $5 under 18 and seniors.

Guinness Oyster Festival Live music, plenty o’ Guinness and Harp, and fresh oysters.  Sat 9/19, 11 AM-10 PM, Roscoe between Damen and Leavitt, 773-868-3010, $5.

Hideout Block Party One of the best block parties of the summer for music fans, with two stages of A-list local and national bands.  Lineup, dates, and prices TBA, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433,

Decibelle Music and Culture Festival Formerly known as Estrojam, this fest highlights established and emerging female artists and musicians through concerts, workshops, and panels.  9/24-9/26, multiple venues and times,, pricing TBA.

Annual Hyde Park Arts & Crafts Adventure Paintings, photography, dolls, pottery, jewelry, and more.  9/25-9/26, Fri 10 AM-6 PM, Sat 10 AM-5 PM, University of Chicago Hyde Park Center, 1526 E. 55th, 312-751-2500, americansocietyofartists.orgFree

Oktoberfest Chicago Beer, bands, and bratwurst.  9/25-9/27, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat noon-10 PM, Sun noon-9 PM, St. Alphonsus Church, 3000 N. Lincoln, 773-665-4682, $5.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival Lineup includes Samuel “Savoir Faire” Williams, Yoko Noge, and Willie Pickens.  Sat 9/26, noon-2 AM, multiple venues including Midway Plaisance Park, 59th and Woodlawn, 773-834-3534, hydeparkjazzfestival.orgFree

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts More than 130 artists.  9/26-9/27, Sat 10 AM-6 PM, Sun 10 AM-5 PM, Broadway from Belmont to Roscoe, lakevieweast.comFree


Chicago Country Music Festival Lineup TBA.  Sat-Sun 10/3-10/4, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, chicagocountrymusicfestival.usFree

Eli’s Cheesecake Festival  10/3-10/4, Sat 10 AM-5 PM, Sun 11 AM-5 PM, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, 6701 W. Forest Preserve, 773-205-3800, elischeesecake.comFree

Harvest Festival A marketplace, straw bale maze, and plenty of activities for kids.  Sat-Sun 10/3-10/4, 10 AM-4 PM, Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, 847-835-5440,

Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival The art fair that made Wicker Park what it is today, featuring artwork and performances from more than 300 emerging painters, photographers, sculptors, actors, poets, and filmmakers.  10/16-10/18, Fri 6-10 PM, Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-6 PM, Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington,, prices vary.


Chicago | Indiana | Michigan | Wisconsin


Summer Camp Music Festival Willie Nelson, Method Man and Redman, Girl Talk, and Los Lobos are featured at this three-day festival, along with Les Claypool, Easy Star All Stars, O.A.R., and others.  Fri-Sun 5/22-5/24, Three Sisters Park, I-80 & Route 29, Chillicothe, 309-274-3107,, $155, VIP upgrade (includes access to one late-night show and a hot air balloon ride) $125.

International Carillon Festival Springfield’s Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, a tower of 67 tuned bronze bells played manually using a keyboard, hosts six nights of performances by carillonneurs from around the world.  5/31-6/6, 7-7:45 PM (no concert Wed 6/3), fireworks Fri 6/5, 9:30 PM, Washington Park, 1774-1799 W. Fayette, Springfield, 217-753-6219, carillon-rees.orgFree


Route 75 Garage Sale Now in its seventh year, Illinois’ longest garage sale stretches along State Route 75 in northern Illinois from Rockton (off I-90 north of Rockford) west to tiny Dakota.  Fri-Sat 6/5-6/6, 8 AM-5 PM, State Route 75 from Rockton to Dakota, Illinois,, 815-865-5692. Free

American Spanish Dance Festival Centered around three flamenco performances on the weekend of the 26th, the festival also includes dance classes, concerts, and art exhibitions.  6/17-6/28, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie, 773-442-5930,, $26-$46.

Scottish Festival and Highland Games Traditional dance and athletic competitions along with whiskey tastings, a Celtic rock stage, and a performance of “Amazing Grace” by 1,000 bagpipers and drummers.  6/19-6/20, Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 8 AM-9 PM, Oak Brook Polo Grounds, 31st and York, Oak Brook, 708-447-5092,, Fri $12, Sat $17, advance tickets $8 Fri, $13 Sat, kids under 13 free, VIP pass $65.

Long Grove Strawberry Festival Strawberries, chocolate-dipped strawberries, strawberry baked goods, a classic car show, and more in Long Grove’s historic business district.  Fri-Sun 6/26-6/28, Long Grove Business District, Old McHenry at Robert Parker Coffin, Long Grove, 847-634-0888,

Cornerstone Festival Massive Christian music festival featuring more than 300 performances on 12 stages.  Mon-Sat 6/29-7/4, performances 10:30-12:30 AM, seminars 9 AM-4 PM, Cornerstone Farm, 23325 N. Cornerstone, Marietta, 773-989-2087,, festival pass $135-$155, kids under 11 free, family $275-$375 (includes camping).


Kane County Fair  7/15-7/19, Wed-Thu noon-11 PM, Fri-Sat noon-12 AM, Sun noon-10 PM, Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall, Saint Charles, $5, Wed $1, kids under 5 free, season ticket $20.

DuPage County Fair  Wed-Sun 7/22-7/26, 8 AM-10 PM, DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester, Wheaton,, $10, $3 kids under 13.

Lake County Fair  7/28-8/2, Tue-Sat 8 AM-11:30 PM, Sun 8 AM-10 PM, Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson, Grayslake,, $10, $5 seniors, kids, and military.


Mendota Sweet Corn Festival Free “hot, buttered, delicious Del Monte sweet corn” is served at 2 PM Sunday; there’s also a carnival, a crafters’ and flea market, a pageant, live music, and a beer garden.  8/6-8/9, Thu 6 PM-midnight, Fri/Sat 10:30 AM-midnight, Sun 10:30 AM-5:30 PM, Illinois and Jefferson, Mendota, 815-539-6507,, beer garden admission $4. Free

Illinois State Fair All the traditional offerings are here, including horse racing, grandstand concerts, free stages, and daily events. On “Governor’s Day” (8/19), Pat Quinn hosts “former Illinois governors,” presumably without irony.  Sun-Thu 8/14-8/23, 7 AM-midnight, preview night Thu 8/13, 5-10:30 PM, 217-782-6661,, $3, seniors $2, kids under 12 free, parking $7, grandstand concerts require additional tickets.

Windy City Rodeo Sponsored by the Illinois Gay Rodeo Association. Bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, and calf roping, plus “camp” events including steer and goat decorating and “wild drag.”  Fri-Sun 8/21-8/23, Six Guns Ranch and Arena, 26926 State Line, Crete,, $15. Free


On the Waterfront Four-day music fest on 30 city blocks in downtown Rockford, with carnival attractions, a market, nightly fireworks, and a Sunday New Orleans-style jazz brunch.  9/4-9/6, Fri 5 PM-midnight, Sat 11:30 AM-midnight, Sun 11:30 AM-11 PM, 815-964-4388,, $18 festival pass in advance, $15/day at the gate.


Chicago | Illinois | Michigan | Wisconsin


Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival The oldest continuously running bluegrass festival in the world, held on the estate of the “father of bluegrass,” with more than 50 acts, including Dr. Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys (6/20), J.D. Crowe & New South (6/18), and the Grascals (6/13). Rent a cabin, drive an RV, or bring a tent.  6/13-6/20, 11 AM-midnight (Sun till 6 PM), Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park and Campground, 5153 SR 135 N, Morgantown, 800-414-4677,, advance single-day tickets $15-$30, advance three-day pass $75, advance eight-day pass $150 until 6/1; cabins and camping extra.

Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering For its 37th season, this old-timey music festival features the Hard Drivin’ Boys, the Freight Hoppers, Darol Anger & Friends, and others. Free musicians’ workshops Sat-Sun.  6/26-6/28, Fri 6-11 PM, Sat 9:30 AM-11 PM, Sun 9:30 AM-5 PM, Exit 178, West Lafayette, Brookson, 765-742-1419,, $8-$12 per concert, $6-$9 in advance, youth 13-18 $5, kids 12 and under free, $22 for both shows Saturday, $30 weekend pass, primitive camping $5/night with weekend pass.


Circus City Festival Peru bills itself as the circus capital of the world and its 250-plus-member amateur circus calls itself the greatest amateur show on earth. This annual festival features daily circus performances, carnival attractions, and the second-largest parade in Indiana.  7/11-7/18, performances Sat 2 and 7 PM, Sun 3 PM, Mon-Fri 7 PM, parade Sat 7/18, 10 AM, Circus City, 154 N. Broadway, Peru, 765-472-3918,, $10-$13, $1 off for kids under 12.

Indiana Microbrewers Festival Unlimited samples of more than 200 beers from some 20 Indiana breweries (and 15 from out of state), plus food and games like toss the keg.  Sat 7/18, 3-7 PM, Opti Park, 820 E 66th, Indianapolis, 317-856-6092, $35, $30 in advance.

Pierogi Fest Vendors come from Cleveland and Canada, the chamber of commerce calls itself the Pierogatory, and even the dogs don babushkas in honor of the humble Polish dumpling. This year’s 102nd annual fest includes a polka parade, a pierogi toss, and Eastern Bloc Geography Jeopardy.  7/24-7/26, Fri-Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Sun 11 AM-5 PM, 119th and Indianapolis, Whiting, 219-659-0292,

Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival Entertainment on three stages (think old-fashioned medicine shows and bluegrass, not Mr. Blotto) and 350 artists hawking their wares around Amish Acres’ paddle-boat-filled pond.  7/30-8/2, Thu-Sat 9 AM-7 PM, Sun 9 AM-5 PM, 574-773-4188, 1600 W. Market, Nappanee,, $7, $6 seniors and kids 12-17, kids under 12 free.


Indiana State Fair New attractions this year include a performance by Stars of the Peking Acrobats, an exhibit of Abraham Lincoln artifacts, and a pig race.  8/7-8/23, Sun-Thu 8 AM-11 PM, Fri 8 AM-midnight, Sat 8 AM-12:30 AM, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th, Indianapolis, 317-927-7601,, $8, kids under 6 free, advance tickets $7, grandstand performances require additional tickets.


Chicago | Illinois | Indiana | Wisconsin


Annual Grand Haven Sand Sculpture Contest Individuals and groups compete to build the summer’s best sand sculpture.  Sat 6/27, 10 AM-noon, registration 9-9:45 PM, Grand Haven City Beach, Grand Haven, 616-842-4910,, registration $5 individuals, $10 groups of five or less, free to watch. 


Rothbury Festival Huge music and camping fest features an eclectic lineup including (among many others) Bob Dylan, Broken Social Scene, Willie Nelson, Damian Marley and Nas, the String Cheese Incident, Flogging Molly, Man Man, the Hold Steady, and the remaining members of the Grateful Dead.  Thu-Sun 7/2-7/5, Double JJ Ranch, 5900 Water, Rothbury, 866-455-2263,, four-day pass $250, two-day pass (Sat and Sun) $150, VIP $490.

Cherry Pit Spitting Championship Participants see just how far they can spit their pits “with only a minimal loss of dignity.” Last year’s winning distance: 56 feet, 7.5 inches. You can also pick your own cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, apples, blackberries, and raspberries in season.  Sat 7/4, 10 AM-3 PM, Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, 9351 E. Eureka, Eau Claire (yes, Michigan has one too), treemendus-fruit.comFree

Michigan Beer Fest More than 200 beers from 30-plus Michigan breweries, along with food and live entertainment.  Fri-Sat 7/24-7/25, Frog Island Park, 1 S. Huron, Ypsilanti, 877-772-5425,


Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival Organizers say this long-standing six-day camp out is as much about friendship and community among “womyn” as it is the 40 genre-spanning musical performances, film festival, and craft show. Early-week workshops include “Breast Casting for Womyn of Color,” “Amazon Womyn Roll,” and “Lesbian Tent Revival.” No men allowed, but there are day camps for both young girls and boys; kids are reunited with their moms each night.  Tue-Sun 8/4-8/9, “650 lush green acres in Michigan,” for location and directions call 231-757-4766,, prices and packages vary.



Chocolate Fest In addition to lots of chocolate tasting, the fest features a farmers’ market, wine tasting, a beauty pageant, and live music.  5/22-5/25, Fri 4 PM-midnight, Sat-Sun 10 AM-midnight, Mon noon-8 PM,, 864 Maryland, Burlington, 262-763-3300, $7, $6 seniors, $3 kids 5-12, under 5 free.


Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival Cheese carving, a cheesecake contest, and a cheese-curd-eating competition, plus carnival rides, a petting zoo, live music, and wine tasting.  6/6-6/7, Fri 5 PM-midnight, Sat 10:25 AM-10 PM, Sun 8 AM-5 PM, Doyle Park, 100 Van Buren, Little Chute, 920-788-7380,, $4, kids age 4-12 $2, kids 3 and under free.

American Players Theatre This year’s season at the theater in the woods and the newly built Touchstone Theatre includes performances of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors and King Henry V, George Bernard Shaw’s The Philanderer, Harold Pinter’s Old Times, and other plays.  6/6-10/18, Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 6 PM, 5950 Golf Course Rd., Spring Green, 608-588-7401,, $38-$56.

Milwaukee Summerfest Milwaukee claims its sprawling Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival. Headliners this year range from Talib Kweli to Kenny Chesney, Lupe Fiasco to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rodrigo y Gabriela to Earth, Wind & Fire.  6/25-7/5, noon-midnight daily, 200 N. Harbor, Milwaukee, 414-273-2680,, $15, Sun-Thu adults $8 before 4 PM, seniors and kids age 3-10 $3, kids 2 and under free.


Bristol Renaissance Fair Jousting, wenches, ale, ax throwing, archery, turkey legs fit for Henry VII, and more.  Sat-Sun 7/11-9/6 (and Mon 9/7), 10 AM-7 PM, 1-94 and State Line, Kenosha, 847-395-7773,, $18.95, $16.95 in advance, kids age 5-12 $9.50 ($8 in advance), kids under 5 free.

EAA AirVenture Fly-In Temporary airplane museum with more than 2,500 show aircraft.  Mon-Sun 7/27-8/2, 7 AM-5 PM, Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W. 20th, Oshkosh, 920-426-4800,, $36, kids age 6-18 $19, kids under 5 free.


Wisconsin State Fair Among the more interesting offerings is a huge textile, craft, culinary, and horticulture show; last year’s attracted more than 700 exhibitors.  8/6-8/16, Mon-Thu 8 AM-11 PM, Fri-Sat 8 AM-midnight, Sun 8 AM-9 PM, Wisconsin State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield, West Allis, 800-884-3247,, $9, seniors $6, kids age 7-11 $4, kids age 6 and under free, parking $10.


Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Here’s something you just can’t do in the city.  9/4-9/5, Fri 5-11:30 PM, Sat 6:30 AM-11:30 PM, Marion Park, Prairie du Sac, wiscowchip.comFree

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