Spring festivals in Lake County “Hath put a spirit of youth in everything” (Billy Shakes – or William Shakespeare as we like to call him)
The bloom season parties feature the most delectable eats, eclectic live music, radiant works of art and of course, libations.
Whether or not we base our meteorology off of a ground-dwelling mammal that can locate his or her shadow and predict the weather is moot now.
Experience the fanfare of our warming season as we provide you with the guide to spring festivals in Lake County.
Note stay tuned for our Ravinia Festival 2023 schedule blog as the Lake County just released yesterday, while tickets go on sale on May 1.
Get a glimpse of beauty after the lights go out. The Orchid Show dons brilliant collors as the Glencoe sanctuary features over 10,000 exceptional blooms. The kaleidoscopic display is complemented by live performances, small bites and libations. Make it a Chicago Botanic date night after the lights go down in the county.
Sip, shop, swirl and repeat. The downtown Grayslake event features a commemorative wine glass, raffles and downtown perusing at the mom and pop shops in Grayslake while taking back one-ounce vino pours. Proceeds from the event support the Grayslake Heritage Center. The Shop n Swirl participants include Somethings Brewing, The Vine Wine & Martini Bar, Lake County Libation Trail wineries Glunz Family Winery & Cellars and Light the Lamp Brewery and more.
Invest your fest feels in a festival-infested Libertyville. The weekend starts with the year's first, 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, complimentary appetizers, and a live performance by Jazz Soup. Lake County Libation Trail partner delivers delectable brews and a DJ live set. O'Toole's Libertyville, by day, serves the eats everyone loves, and by night is highlighted by its Weekend Vibes Dance Party in the 412 Lounge. Visit MainStreetLibertyville.org for more information.
Unhitch that belt buckle one less notch, because it’s that time of year to treat your taste buds to a flavor utopia. Lake County Restaurant Week: Ten Days To Savor runs April 14-23. The 10-day foodie frenzy is a multi-platform campaign that will highlight Lake County restaurants with their special prix-fixe menus, food and drink pairings, chef demonstrations, live entertainment and other lucrative promotions to attract new guests. During the "Ten Days to Savor," diners will be encouraged to visit three or more participating restaurants and "Check-in" via the mobile platform to be eligible to win an prizes, gift cards and more (TBA at a later date).
Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these creaters to show hobbies, experiments and projects at the College of Lake County. The Grayslake campus calls it the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth - a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. Glimpse the future and get inspired!
Venture through fields with over 300,000 bulbs (featuring 30 different species), five acres of land being showered by unbeatable sunshine, a 230,000 tulip block with a central design for your Instagram shots and a scenic walking trail by the lake. The Spring Grove Farm is also highlighted by delectable fare at food trucks and a wine tasting at their private lakefront location. Take a breather from the bloom session and challenge a friend in a competitive game of human-sized checkers or chess, partake in the Midwest’s renowned contest “cornhole” or listen to the tunes played by a live performance. Visitors are permitted to invite their canines, and receive one free tulip with each ticket purchased for $1 extra. Photographers will be in attendance to snap a memory of your visit!
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. So 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. Lake County Libation Trail partners Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing, and Oppidan Spirits offer delectable brews and spirits in the downtown area of the City of Progress.
"Oh yes it's lady's night, oh what a night!" You and the croanies take the streets of Libertyville as the downtown area hosts a spectacular night of shopping and dining. Participating businesses provide discounts on items and specialty drinks while you peruse the mom-and-pop shops. Each establishment keeps their doors open late for you night owl shoppers.
Every year the James Lumber Center gives us a slew of eye-opening performances from the Fear No Art Festival. This year is no different as the Grayslake Art Festival reaches has featured unbelievable talent for over two decades at the College of Lake County. This lively festival features a variety of artists performing music, dance and poetry. Also, there will be a stunning display of other art mediums including paintings, photography and sculptures by CLC students and community artists.
"Come on ride the train; hey ride it!" These choo choos may be a tad bit tiny to jump aboard. That noise isn’t the approaching Metra; it’s the engine from Train Day at Lambs Farm. Youngsters can make their best Casey Jones impression wearing the conductor hat while operating the digital command control system of the model trains. All aboard, as the Valley Model Railroad Club hosts this family-fun, free-admission event at the Libertyville/Green Oaks-area farm.
Our hop and barley-loving friends over the age of 21 will not want to miss yet another craft festival, this time at the Long Grove Craft Beer Festival. (We’re pretty spoiled here, you know.) This sudsy event’s ticket includes a commemorative glass and unlimited three-ounce samples. Lake County Libation Trail participants include Liquid Love Brewing of Buffalo Grove, Half Day Brewing Co. of Lincolnshire, Tighthead Brewing Co. of Mundelein, hometown brewhub Buffalo Creek Brewing and more. The beer sipping affair also features live tunes. Don’t forget to peruse the niche stores of beautiful Historic Downtown Long Grove.
"Riding around in my automobile. My baby beside me at the wheel." - Chuck Berry. Classic cars pre-1977, live entertainment and delicious eats round out this Mundelein staple, make for a fantastic summer weekday treat. The long-running event attracts over 400 vehicles and more than 1,000 car junkies. Park on Park Cruise Night occurs the second Wednesday of each month throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.
“Get your kicks on Route 21.” While many will be hitting the roads to travel, people may be singing “Car Fun on 21, where are you?” (in the stylings of the 1961 theme song of "Car 54, where are you?" – that reference is much too old for this blogger, but, here we are). Much like its Park on Park Cruise Night neighbor to the west, Car Fun in MainStreet Libertyville is for the vintage car aficionado and those looking for a fun weeknight out. The classic whip showcase is highlighted by cars, trucks and motorcycles aged 23 years or older.
Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate. The annual Long Grove Chocolate Festival kicks off this weekend as we celebrate the change of seasons with our sweet tooth. Be in a chocolate lover’s paradise as Long Grove Confectionery will be in attendance as well as a plethora of other vendors, live entertainment and of course your chocolatey vices.
The magic at Highland Park's Heller Nature Center. Enter a FAIRY different world as you step foot into the land of pixies and gnomes. The Park District of Highland Park's Enchanted Forest event features dancing in a fairy circle, gnome games, live entertainment, magic wand crafting, a quest to roam through and pony rides.
Attention craft beer geeks of Lake County: Vernon Hills hosts their ninth annual Craft Beer Tasting at the Century Park Arboretum. The Vernon Hills Park District event features local craft suds, live music by Kovacs and Company, eats from Real Urban BBQ and more. Visitors ages 21 and older receive a complimentary tasting glass with admission. The Lake County Libation Trail partners pouring microbrews include Liquid Love Brewing, Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville, Ravinia Brewing Co. in Highland Park and Roaring Table Brewery in Lake Zurich.
Fare fanatics will go on a Food Truck Frenzy as the event returns to the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center after a few years the College of Lake County. Whether you are considering hiring a food truck for your wedding, office, party at home or you just want to make your taste buds dance; this Grayslake family-friendly event is for you. The foodie festival features food trucks serving, wood-fire pizza, seafood, sliders, confections and more.
The Bitter Jester Music Festival is highlighted by some of the most talented, rising-star, high school and college-aged musicians from across Illinois, Wisconsin and other neighboring Midwest states. The Bitter Jester Foundation celebrates its 16th anniversary in this year’s edition. This ongoing concert series, will entertain crowds at Port Clinton Square. Local Lake County Libation Trail™ favorite, Ravinia Brewing Company, will provide suds for purchase. The festival’s grand finale features the winner of the “battle of the bands”-esque competition and performs at the Taste of Highland Park. Interested musicians must apply by April 30
Figure eight your way on over to the Centennial Ice Arena as the venue celebrates its half-centennial born day. The event will feature a splendid live show and more. More details to come.
Lake County PrideFest’s festivities include various musical performances, a parade beer tents, food trucks, children activities and more at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center. Stay tuned for more information.
Mundelein Community Connections and Tighthead Brewing Company join forces to host the Mundelein Craft Beer Festival. Admission for this event includes a souvenir tasting glass and brew samples from over 40 local breweries. The Mundelein brew fest also features live music and food trucks with serving fare for purchase. Designated driver tickets are available.
It’s the party of the year in Libertyville! Libertyville Days is a staple in the community and this year's theme is "MVPs of 2023." For three memorable days, beautiful downtown Libertyville provides a weekend full of activities, including a parade, pageant, carnival rides, Church Street eats, beer garden, an arts and craft fair, eating competitions, a car show, live entertainment and so much more at this sports themed fest summer kickoff.
Are you craving some memories? Watch your past come back to life as Zion hosts Nostalgia Days at Shiloh Park. Experience live music, Lake County’s largest longest-running car, truck & motorcycle show, outdoor movies, a carnival, scrumptious eats and so much more.
Unhitch that belt buckle because it’s time to party for Fat Tuesday New Orleans style in Lake County. Sure you can’t experience Bourbon Street in the Big Easy. As they say in the NOLA: “Laissez les bon temps rouler”… let the good times roll. This new festival at Six Flags Great America features tunes, tastes and traditions of the holiday. Expect exceptional Cajun-inspired eats, a crawfish eating contest, daily parades, jazzy joints and of course, coasters.
Ravinia Festival, the eldest outdoor festival in the United States, kicks off its season with an all-star cast. The showcase is a staple of Lake County. Since 1905, the Highland Park fest has featured the top musicians in a variety of genres. Some marquee performers from the past include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Woody Nelson, Tony Bennett, Pitbull, Dolly Parton, Sting, John Legend, Earth Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis, Lady Gaga and so many other legendary names. Stay tuned for the Ravinia Festival blog to come out March 24
For more festivals in the land of lakes, click here. To get into the spring spirit, continue here.