Fall Festivals in Lake County 2023

By: Jonathan Jones 08/30/2023

"Trees bright and green turn yellow-brown. Autumn caught 'em, see all them leaves must fall down." - André 3000 of Outkast.

One of the best things about the summer farewell is the fall festivals in Lake County. Pumpkin spice, anyone?





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Embark on the exceptional vibrancy of autumn’s glows firsthand while heading to an Oktoberfest, getting the living daylights scared out of you, picking out enormous orange fruits or just getting lost in a maze of maize.

Taste the harvest goodness, embrace sweater weather, breathe in the autumn feels and get to a fall festival in Lake County!

SeptOberfest at Independence Grove (Through Late October)

SeptOberFest at the Beer Garden at Independence Grove is an opportunity to bring family and friends together. The Beer Garden features delicious beverages from partners of the Lake County Libation Trail including Black Lung Brewing Co. of Round Lake Beach, Tighthead Brewing Co. of Mundelein, Mickey Finn's Brewery of Libertyville, 9th Hour Brewing Co. of Lake Villa, Roaring Table Brewing Co. and Phase Three Brewing Co. of Lake Zurich, ZumBier of Waukegan, Ravinia Brewing Co. of Highland Park, Buffalo Creek Brewing of Long Grove and Liquid Love Brewing Co. of Buffalo Grove. The fest features live music, trivia, meet the brewer, a lakeside firepit. a guided walk through the renowned Independence Grove and more. 

Spooks & Spirits Autumn Celebration (September 15-October 31)





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Experience a “Boo”tiful weekend in Lake County during the annual Spooks and Spirits Autumn Celebration. There’s something for everyone: fall festivals,  costume parades, haunted houses, corn mazes and pumpkin patches, “supernatural” attractions and more. Don’t miss the land of lakes’ scary-good, locally-made brews, wines, and spirits for the adults.

Richardson Sunflower Festival (September 9-24)

“Then you’re left in the dust unless I stuck by ya. You’re the sunflower. I think your love would be too much.” Find the Post Malone and Swae Lee hit song while you visit Richardson Adventure Farm’s brand-spanking-new Sunflower Festival running alongside its corn maze. The Spring Grove farm flower power party has been installed with detailed trails through the 13-acre field. The sunflower trail is highlighted by 24 varieties, including yellow-headed, red multi-branched, orange, peach and gold blossoms. The festivities also include a beer and wine tent, carousel rides, yard games, live tunes and a gift shop. The sunflower fields are open through September 24. Admission includes a free single sunflower to take home.

Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS at Six Flags Great America (September16-October 29)

The thrills and chills are at Six Flags Great America as the legendary Fright Fest returns to the Gurnee Amusement Park. Fright Fest presented by SNICKERS is when the park is transformed for eight weekends in ghoulish fashion and features live shows, street entertainment, haunted houses and, of course, riding all of the coasters and thrill rides at night. Then, as Halloween approaches, the kids can embark on a unique trick-or-treat trail. Fright Fest is open on weekends through October 9.

Kids BOO Fest at Six Flags Great America (September 16-October 29)





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The kids may walk in the gates saying "Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist," when entering the Gurnee amusement park. This kid-friendly festival provides a tamer vibe during the Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS. Your youngsters can saunter through the Trick-or-Treat Trail, navigate through a hay maze, listen to a not-so-scary story, view a Halloween show and bop the streets during the Monster Dance Party. The park encourages you and your goblins ages 13 and under to vamoose by 5 p.m. as the ghouls can be a bit intense come nightfall.

Oktoberfests in Lake County 

"The wiesn I came is because of the beer." The county embraces the holidays as visitors and residents alike hoist its steins and exclaims "Prost!" during its Oktoberfest. Pack your laderhosen as it's time to party at these land of lakes Oktoberfests.

Cigars, BBQ and Bourbon Festival at Brothers' Field (September 15)

The holy trinity of indulgence. Savor the taste of slow-smoked BBQ, sip on fine bourbon and enjoy a hand-rolled cigar. You'll be enveloped in an aura of sophistication as you ignite the journey of discovery. 

Blues Fest Pt. Two at Brothers' Field (September 16)

"Oh, baby don't you wanna go? Back to that same old place, Sweet home" Long Grove. Visit the historic downtown's Brothers' Field for guitar licks, swinging beats and a whole lot of dancing. Chatterbox of Long Grove's food truck will be onsite serving the eats. The bands and food truck will be announced closer to the date.

Grayslake Craft Beer Festival (September 16)





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Thirsty for a cold beer? Downtown Grayslake honors the art of beer by offering many selections from more than 12 different breweries at their annual Craft Beer Festival. Admission includes a commemorative glass and a festival program. The fest also features live entertainment. From the Lake County Libation Trail, Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake, 9th Hour Brewing Co. and Harbor Brewing Co. in Lake Villa, Tighthead Brewing Co. of Mundelein, Zümbier of Waukegan,  Liquid Love Brewing Co. of Buffalo Grove, Roaring Table Brewery and Phase Three Brewing Co. of Lake Zurich, Ravinia Brewing Co. of Highland Park, Half Day Brewing Co. of Lincolnshire, Buffalo Creek Brewing of Long Grove, Mickey Finn's Brewing Co. of Libertyville and more will be in attendance.

Brewgrass Festival at Black Lung Brewing Co. (September 16)

Visit the hoppy and merry Brewgrass festival where libation-ers can sip, savor and sing along to some bluegrass tunes. The fest features seven bluegrass bands including Desperate Bastards, Tony John and the Badgers Boys, Tipsy Town, Mill Creek Jumble, Lucky Pickers, Milbillies and Chicken Wire Emprie. The second installment of the fest is also highlighted by three food trucks and Black Lung Brewing Co.'s newest release, an Amber Lager Oktoberfest Bier. 

Fall on the Farm at Lambs Farm (September 16-17)

Visit the farm for some good old-fashioned, family fun. Lambs Farm is kicking off the season of colorful leaves with their Fall on the Farm event.  Experience fall-themed crafts and activities such as pumpkin painting, sand art, cookie decorating and more. The Lake County Farm Heritage Association will be joining in with tractors that kids can touch and barrel train rides. A tent sale, fare and beverages for purchase, live music and more also highlight the Green Oaks/Libertyville autumn affair

Deer Park Art Show (September 16-17)





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“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” said esteemed theologian Thomas Merton. This show, hosted by the Deer Park Town Center, will feature juried artists showcasing and selling fine arts and crafts. Festival-goers can jive to the live tunes. The kiddies won’t fret because there are dozens of activities, like an art scavenger hunt. This is a free admission event, and leashed dogs are welcome.

ArtWauk in Waukegan (September 16 and November 18)

The city's famed ArtWauk "paints" the town with sculptures, film, theatre, comedy, music, performance art, food, and more. The free admission Saturday art event opens the doors to all art galleries throughout Waukegan. Fill your artistic void with the ever-extravagant monthly ArtWauk in Downtown Waukegan. In addition to the portraits, sculptures and other creative vibes, munch on some delicious dining options downtown or feel the flow of the tunes from the live entertainment.

Fiestas Patrias Festival in Waukegan (TBA)

¡Feliz dia de la Independencia Mexicana en Waukegan! This four-day festival s celebrates Mexican Independence Day. The event features four live bands, a kid-zone full of activities, delicious Mexican cuisine, a carnival, a car show, food trucks, colorful garb, mariachi bands, a talent show, a parade and so much more. 

Taste of the Towns in Lake Zurich (September 21)

Indulge in a fare journey this weekend at Lake Zurich’s annual Taste of the Towns. The Kemper Lakes Golf Club event will feature samples from dozens of local restaurants, eateries, caterers, food retailers, food trucks, breweries, distilleries and wineries. The sweet sounds of live music will complement the delectable bites. The event is also highlighted by dozens of kiddie activities as well as a bags tournament. 

Long Grove Apple Fest (September 22-24)





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Ready to compare apples to apples. These succulent red and green treats are celebrated and placed in our pies, salads and doused in caramel (our personal favorites). The Long Grove Apple Fest also features other apple-inspired treats, live entertainment and family fun at beautiful, quaint Historic Downtown Long Grove. The annual fest was ranked no. 18 on Thrillist’s Illinois Cities Food & Drink list. The manzana party's live entertainment includes Mr. Blotto, 7th Heaven,  Sixteen Candles, Made in America - Toby Keith Tribute, Ultrabeat, South of Disorder and more.

Fall Wine Walk in Antioch (September 23)

Stroll the quaint streets of downtown Antioch, stopping at unique boutiques and stores. Along the way, you can taste samples from 45 different wines and delicious dining options at each participating Antioch business. Bring a memento home with you as the Downtown Antioch event provides visitors with a commemorative wine glass and a complimentary bottle of wine.

Farm Heritage and Harvest Festival at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (September 23)

Fall is the perfect time for some farm fun. Join the Lake County Farm Heritage Association as they bring the farm to the fairgrounds. The Grayslake event features tractor displays, a parade, live tunes, barrel train rides, sawmill demonstrations, scarecrow making, farm animals, a threshing demonstration and more. Bring a bit of fall and the season back home with various fall plants and décor on sale. Activities are indoors and out, rain or shine.

PTC 20th Anniversary Gala in Deerfield (September 27)

Deerfield's Patty Turner Center is old enough to attend college. Visit the aforementioned village's gala as visitors can indulge in a buffet from Deerfield's Italian Kitchen, sip on libations and cut a rug to the tunes of the Big Band Sound of Deerfield. 

Halloween Hoopla in Deerfield (TBA)





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What’s all of the hubbub happening in Deerfield? The village’s park district is hosting its annual Halloween Hoopla. This celebration is broken into three parts to make the most of the year's spookiest month. The hoopla kicks off this weekend and is highlighted by pumpkin decorating, food, games and autumn arts & crafts. Other events include pumpkin decorating, haunted ceramics and a haunted hustle and monster dash (5K or a one-mile run - including a costume contest).

Bonfire and Brews: A Taste of Gurnee (September 30)

Beers and an open fire go together like peas and carrots. Gurnee's Bittersweet Golf Course is throwing its inaugural Bonfire and Brews: A Taste of Gurnee. The park district event is highlighted by eats by Gurnee restaurants like Primo Italian American Cuisine and other eateries, sips from Birch Beverages, live music performed by Matt Meyer, axe throwing, bags and other games. 

Wauke-Con in Waukegan (September 30-October 1)

The City of Progress will be bumping as Waukegan hosts Wauke-Con. GreenTown will host comic book vendors, artists and authors like Kyle Decker, Marc Alan Fishman (of Unshaven Comics and other PokeMashups, comics and graphic novels), "FrolliPop" artist Evan Ford and more.

Fox Lake Fall Festival (October 1)





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The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and the pumpkins are ripe. It can only mean one thing: it's time for the Fox Lake Fall Festival! With all your favorite falll activities, this year's festival promises to be bigger and better than ever. The autumn event features live music, food, crafts, games and a petting zoo. You can also carve a pumpkin, enter a pie-eating contest or take a hayride.

Vernon Hills Scarecrow Fest (October 5) 

Put on some gloves, break out old clothing and prepare to stuff straw individuals at the Sullivan Center. Participants are encouraged to bring the clothing and decorations for the hay gentleperson. When the scarecrow is complete, visitors vote for the funniest, scariest and most creative scarecrow. Vernon Hills Park District will display bird-frightening beingsat the Sullivan Center's driveway throughout the spooky season. Complimentary apple cider and donuts will be available for scarecrow makers. 

First Friday on MainStreet Libertyville (October 6 and November 3)

Invest your fest feels in a festival-infested Libertyville. First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville, highlighted by various delectable drinks, mouth-watering eats, live entertainment, and more as visitors peruse through local mom-and-pop shops offering promotional sales. Improv Playhouse features its First Friday Funnies as renowned comedians grace the stage for a knee-slapping BYOB event. The Joyful Gourmet provides countless deals, a wine bar and a live performance by Jazz Soup.

Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest & Great Highwood Skeleton Invasion in Highwood (October 6-8)





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Everyone wants to have a gourd time! The 13th annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest makes its triumphant return this weekend. The Lake County autumn staple is highlighted by carnival rides, pumpkin-carving stations, food vendors, full bar, live music, a kids’ costume contest, trick-or-treating, a pumpkin pie-eating contest, the Scare Run 5K, a pet costume contest and more. Three Great Pumpkin Walls are showcased each night as they attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest display of lit jack-o-lanterns. The band shell in Everts Park will host three days of live music (TBA). The fest also introduces its Pumpkin Town USA. This showcases pumpkins and skeletons on display throughout the town with the theme of Rock N' Roll through history. The installations will be available to view all of October. Entry into the festival is free, and various activities have separate admissions.

October Days (Select Days in October)

The spooks and spirits are up, and the Historic Downtown Long Grove area is cooking up a ghoulish month for you goblins.

Pumpkin Jubilee in Fox Lake (October 7)

American lyricist Ira Gershwin once said “Life is one long jubilee.” When our favorite autumn fruits are added, it gets that much sweeter. The Fox Lake Pumpkin Jubilee ocurs at the village’s Community Garden Green. The fest features pumpkin carving, live music, fall-themed crafts with the Fox Lake District Library, fare vendors and more. Carve a pumpkin for $2 per squash canvas. Light the pumpkin and leave it on the pumpkin wall to be displayed.

Stews & Brews in Highland Park (October 13-14)

A little bit of stew, a little bit of brew and a little bit of brews make for a splendid experience at Highland Park's The Lot. The libation and foodie fest combines two midwestern comfort eats to warm visitors hearts and ears.

Halloween Fall Fest in Gurnee (October 14)

From fall favorites such as hayrides, carnival games, crafts, DJ, and entertainment, along with Halloween-themed activities like our infamous “Trick or Treat Path,” “Mad Science Slime Lab,” “glow-in-the-dark ghost busting” and costume contest, participants of all ages will find fun around every corner!

Craft Beer Walk in Antioch (October 14)





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Experience an afternoon of craft beer sampling from participating restaurants and shops in downtown Antioch. Libation-ers will receive a voucher fotwo street tacos. Participating Breweries will be revealed closer to the event date. 

A Fairy Halloween at Brothers' Field (October 14)

Spooky situations aren't always a fairy tale. However, Long Grove's Brothers' Field hosts a fest to remember, highlighted by a live show, bounce houses, wagon rides, VIP meet and greet and so much more. From savory to sweet, culinary delights will be abundant by the food trucks in attendance.

PumpkinFest in Grayslake (October 19)

Stop! It's pumpkin time! This Grayslake Park District orange fruit holiday features games, a costume contest, a giant slide, hay rides, moonwalks and more. 

Girls' Night Out in Libertyville (October 19)

Get your gal pals together and head to downtown Libertyville for an unforgettable night of shopping, dining and fun. Participating businesses will offer deals, discounts and specialty drinks while they are open late for your shopping pleasure. Shop and dine the night away on this exclusive evening just for the girls.

Monster Mash Costume Party in Grayslake (October 20)

Dress up your little goblin, superhero or fairy for this Halloween Monster Mash. This scare-free Halloween party is packed with arts & crafts, games and stories fit for ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Pizza and juice will be served for dinner.

Mundelein Boo Bash (October 21)





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Treat or trunk, smell my truck, give me something good to munch. Dress up in your spookiest threads as the Mundelein Park District hosts its annual Boo Bash Trunk or Treat event. The festivities are highlighted by a giant pumpkin bounce house, carnival games, a pumpkin patch, a storybook walk and more. 

ZombieWauk in Waukegan (October 21) 

It’ll be like a scene out of “The Walking Dead” with downtown Waukegan as the backdrop. The 11th annual ZombieWAUK returns with its salute to the undead art-horror scene and myriad Halloween-inspired happenings. The spooky season event is highlighted by pumpkin painting, costume contests for kids, adults and pets, plus artwork displayed by many of the talented. ZombieWAUK also features performances from live bands to be named at a later date.

Fox Lake Halloween Howl (October 23)

Oooowoooo, werewolves of Fox Lake. The Fox Lake Police Department hosts this wonderful family-ghoulish event just once a year. The howl is highlighted by a meet and greet with Fox Lake's finest, delectable treats and hot dogs, kiddie activities and hayrides.

Vernon Hills Fall Fest (October 27)





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Visit Vernon Hills, as the festival features family fun for all. Attendees will enjoy indoor trick or treating, balloon art, a black light dance party and the annual costume party.  

Lincolnshire Boo Bash (October 27)





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Families will flock to Lincolnshire’s North Park for the village’s beloved Boo Bash. The Halloween-themed event will feature a haunted trail/house, pumpkin decorating, games, a live DJ, a bounce house, a gigantic slide, food trucks, laser tag, a photo booth and more. The community festival is suitable for all ages and is free to attend.

Curt's Cafe 11th Annual Gala (October 28)

Visit the Art Center Highland Park for an evening in celebration of a decade plus one of Curt's Cafe. The downtown Highland Park event features delectable hors d'oeurves, adult beverages, a dessert, a silent auction and more. 

Halloween Moonlight Madness Gala (October 28)





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With our Collection of antique music machines dating from the mid-1800s, a frequent question asked is, "Are there ghosts and spirits in the house?" Well...maybe... and you must find out for yourself at the Halloween Moonlight Madness Gala. The Victorian estate features a house tour, a Halloween Wurlitzer Concert, cocktails, appetizers and a dinner, carousel rides, a live performance by Paris Swing Band and more.

Lake County Film Festival (November 2-13)

Celebrate local filmmakers and student video creators during the Lake County Film Festival’s. The hometown cinema festival features hundreds of narrative films, documentary showcases and short flicks.

Champagane Walke & Brunch in Antioch (November 4)

Oenophiles and chocoholics rejoice! Antioch is hosting a Champagne and Chocolate Walk to begin the holiday season. Stroll through Antioch’s quaint downtown as you indulge in this magnificent pair while viewing the town’s holiday theme. Attendees receive a keepsake champagne flute, a coupon for a complimentary bottle of champagne and a bag to carry the delectable treats in.

For more things to do during Lake County's autumn season, continue here.





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