Pardon our French, but the summer festival season in Lake County is lit AF (of course, we’re talking about atrial fibrillation) because these box socials can make your heart get jumpy).
Get the fam and them together to achieve squad goals.
What’s so good about summer festivals in Lake County? The sun is out, the streets are over-saturated with humans dancing to live Spotify, exploring their palate with enchanting eats and drinks, seeking thrills on carnival rides and so much more.
Go ahead and peruse through the summer festival season guide and see what the land of lakes offers.
Food trucks line the downtown Antioch streets the first Sunday of each month. A diverse array of food trucks will serve hungry visitors, from Mexican cuisine to Filipino delicacies to American eats and more. The FEASTival also is highlighted by live performances from School of Rock Libertyville (June 11), Jason Kollum (July 9) and Priscilla Arianna (August 13).
"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.
Visit Jewet Park every third Wednesday, featuring a slew of area food trucks like Fork N Fry, Poutinerie, Mario's Cart, The Fat Shallot, Happy Lobster and more.
This event delights the famished of Lake and Cook County at this scrumptious spectacle. Journey to Highland Park’s Food Truck Thursday for fun in the sun with inspired dishes. Ravinia Brewing Co. provides the libations for the event. The city along the Great Lake hosts a food truck lineup that includes myriad food trucks from around the suburbs and Chicago. Visitors can also enjoy live music, family arts & crafts, kiddie activities bags and more. Swish a fadeaway cornhole in the second session of the Thursday Night Bags League running alongside the food frenzy.
Visit Lake Zurich's Main Street across from the Promenade for delectable weekly eats. The selection rotates with two new food trucks every week for your culinary enjoyment.
"Food, glorious food! What is there more handsome." Lincolnshire's Food Truck Lunch is located in the Corporate Center Parking Lot and offers various choices in the gourmet eats department. The foodie frenzy includes local trucks providing barbecue, innovative sandwiches, seafood options, international eats and so much more. Take in the aromas that waft through the air, while a delectable dish is prepared right ibefore you. There will also be kiddie entertainment and live music on select dates. The event runs every other Thursday through September 28.
The Bitter Jester Music Festival is highlighted by some of the most talented, rising-star, high school and college-aged musicians from Illinois, Wisconsin and other neighboring Midwest states. The Bitter Jester Foundation celebrates its 18th 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.
Who can create the most debonair sand castle this side of the Mississippi? The Mundelein Park District the Beach Bash of box socials all day on June 10. The event includes Zumba, a live DJ, swimming, free boat rentals, family-friendly beach games and more. Explore all of the water activities and family challenges the Mundelein event offers. For lunch and dinner, food trucks will be in attendance serving fare for purchase.
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.
Fine wine and fine arts are just what the doctor ordered. The Grayslake Arts Festival and Wine Tasting features the work of over 60 juried artists. Live music, festival fare and vino from surrounding wineries offer art enthusiasts to peruse and sip from a talented group of makers. Admission to the event includes a keepsake glass and five tasting tickets. There will also be fare vendors offering hot dogs and burgers.
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.
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 various genres. Some marquee performers from the past include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Woody Nelson, Tony Bennett, Pitbull, Dolly Parton, Sting, Earth Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis, Lady Gaga and so many other legendary names. This year, the lineup is just as star-studded with acts like Ms. Lauryn Hill, Carrie Underwood, Chicago, Counting Crows, Charlie Puth, Santana, John Legend, Brandi Carlile and more.
Fall in love at first bite in July as the Gurnee theme park's Flavors of the World Festival opens. Formally called the Taste of Six Flags, this foodie joyride provides visitors with a culinary trip around the globe. The foodie celebration offers delicious fare inspired by both the East and West Coasts, the Midwest, Texas, Jamaica and other 10 other international eats. So, work up your appetite and take a ride on any of the park’s 17 coasters and then return to the street markets to savor the flavor. Reservations for park access must be made in advance online at SixFlags.com/GreatAmerica. The festival also showcases pyrotechnics on June 17, 24, July 8, 15 and 22. The Great America fare fest runs on Saturdays and Saturdays through May 23.
"Oh, bay 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, while a certain Jake and Elwood's faux police car will make an appearance. This particular Blues Fest is a part one installment. The sequel is TBA.
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.
Are you craving some memories? Watch your past return 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.
This fan favorite at The Lot showcases a variety of delicious cuisines and beverages. In addition, a fantastic weekend lineup of live music will include nationally recognized headliners and on-site fun for the entire family!
Wizards, witches and muggles alike will gather in downtown Antioch for their annual Wizards Weekend Day. Celebrate all things of a magical nature; bring your owl (just kidding), your wand and dress as the character you most closely relate to from the "Harry Potter" films. Be ready for magical fun all day long.
‘The rocket’s red glare’ and ‘the bombs bursting in air’ appears early in Grayslake. The Taste of Grayslake festivities includes live entertainment, a moonwalk, carnival rides, face painting, an obstacle course, wall climbing and so much more. The June 24 fireworks show begins at dusk.
“And nothing to get hung about. Strawberry fields forever!” Experiencing summer in Historic Downtown Long Grove is always a treat. Long Grove Strawberry Fest is a "berry" wonderful celebration offering everything from chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry martinis and …well, more strawberry-fused foods. The festival features live music all day on three different stages, unique shopping, impressive fare and kid-tivities for the entire weekend. The fruit frenzy features live performances from Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute, Burning Red, 7th Heaven, KennyLive, Kashmir: The Led Zeppelin Show, Petty Kings and more.
The "Heart of the Chain O' Lakes" will party American style with their red, white and blues at Celebrate Fox Lake located in at Lakefront Park. The Independence Day party will feature a parade at 4 p.m., a watermelon eating contest, live performances by Chicago Blues Hall of Famer Michael Carles and His Band and fireworks at dusk. The Fox Lake event serves fare and drinks for purchase.
Experience fireworks, live music from Fast Times and Six Speed Tranny, children's entertainment, eats and drinks and more. Check back for the full entertainment schedule at RLBCivicCenter.com.
Celebrate Independence Day at the Gurnee amusement park. Besides the exciting 17-roller coasters, the splashtastic slides at Hurricane Harbor Chicago and other fantastic thrills at Six Flags Great America, the four-day fest will feature a Coca-Cola® July 4th Zone with a live DJ, delicious eats, dance contests, live performances and a fireworks display each night before the park closes.
The Village Plaza Circle fest includes musical performances, food, drinks, arts and crafts, a car show, a carnival, a "Through the Decades" parade, activities for kids and adults and much more. There will also be a parade. The Independence Day Fireworks Show is held on July 4 at 9:30 p.m, while the parade steps off at 2 p.m on July 2. The Mundelein Community Days musical entertainment lineup includes
Yankee Doodle went to Lincolnshire riding on a pony. His adventure to the Lake County village ended when he arrived at the Red, White and Boom Fest (sans the cap, feather and macaroni). This annual celebration’s Sunday festivities include live entertainment, food & beer tent, a carnival, games and a classic car show. The Monday schedule is highlighted by a pancake feast, 5K, the annual parade, the cardboard regatta, more live music and more fun. The festivities end with a stunning fireworks extravaganza. The Lincolnshire fest is highlighted by live entertainment TBA.
Deerfield hosts its annual Family Days at Jewett, Maplewood and Brickyard Parks. The two-day celebration includes fireworks, a parade, arts and crafts tents, a 10K Race/5K Walk, rides, a petting zoo, the bike parade and a slew of other family fun-tivities. This Fourth of July, visit Deerfield to mingle, share, reacquaint and relish in the festivities.
The tradition returns to Downtown Waukegan as the hot rod holiday; Scoop kicks off July 7. Save the date and experience your favorite rides at the Car Show & VIP Scoop, Lake County eats and beers, a carnival and plenty of live entertainment that includes performances by Big Brother's Vinyl, Ivy Ford and more. Be sure to get your suds and bites from La Casa de Samuel, Green Town Tavern, Honey Bay's BBQ and Lake County Libation Trail partner Nightshade and Dark's Pandemonium Brewing Co.
Visit the full-service Gurnee hotel for a Gala and dinner you will remember.
Turn back time and travel just north of Lake County to the 16th-century at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. The festival’s opening weekend is highlighted by delectable food, a marketplace with unique handcrafted wares, an interactive theatrical gaming experience and slew of other 1500s festivities. There is plenty of excitement for youngsters as the Bristol Renaissance Faire has been voted as the top 10 family-friendly festivals for nearly a decade. However, adult shenanigans can commence if you’re visiting without kiddies as adults 21 and older can take a tour on the Kenosha, WI facility that hosts their legendary pub crawl. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Renaissance-era attire while enjoying the sights and sounds of Medieval Europe. The Olde English fest will run on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend.
From vintage to classic, to sport, to custom, the Cruisin' Lake Zurich Car Show has it all, complemented by food and raffles every second Thursday of the summer through September 14.
How about a little fun in the sun in Antioch? The Taste of Summer Festival in Antioch features carnival rides for the family, deliciously prepared eats from the village’s top restaurants, a patriotic light show, splendid merchandise from the area’s sidewalk sale and exceptional live acts in the Brook Bandshell. Some of the bands gracing the bandshell stage include 7th Heaven, Think Floyd, Hi-Infedility, Johnny Russel & The Beach Bum Band and more.
Fall in love with your favorite season all over again during Vernon Hills Days. Have a bite to eat, take a ride on a carnival ride and enjoy an abundance of live entertainment from the celebration's headliner (a well-known band to be named at a later date) and a plethora of other great musicians. Gaze upon nostalgic vehicles at the car and bike show on Saturday and compete in the bags tournament on Sunday.
Harborpalooza returns to Lake County Libation Trail partner Harbor Brewing Company’s Lakefront Biergarten in Winthrop Harbor this weekend. The North Point Marina festival features an eclectic mix of musical acts on Friday through Sunday. The Winthrop Harbor biergarten has a large selection of Harbor Brewing Co. craft beers and myriad libations on tap from other local Lake County suds factories. The Lake Michigan shoreline Biergarten is open through late October.
"Here's a chance to make it, If we focus on our goals. If you dish it we can take it. Just remember you've been told It's a different world, than where you come!" Diversify your music palette with the tunes from around the world at Highland Park's World Music and Food Fest. International cuisine, from sweets to snacks to appetizers to entrées, will be at your disposal while the sounds of Indian, Mexican, Irish and other countries' songs play throughout the day.
Travel back to yesteryear with AlpineFest nostalgic bliss. The annual Lake Zurich event initially began to celebrate World War II victories in 1942.The festival continues its history this weekend as the Lions Club-sponsored event features a parade, carnival rides, games, delicious eats, family events, the Fire Fighters Water Fights, live entertainment and more.
For nearly a century, the Lake County Fair has provided a great family experience for members, young and old, spanning generations. The annual six-day event in Grayslake turns 94 years old this year. This Lake County staple will include entertainment, food vendors, live farm animals, carnival rides, games, motor crossing, a demolition derby, a flower show, the Miss Lake County Pageant and so much more. Learn more about the fair at lcfair.com.
There’s nothing like a day of nostalgia. Long Grove’s Vintage Days have that neatly wrapped in a neat little bow as the fest features antique, reclaimed, repurposed, upcycled and handmade products from an array of vendors. The annual festival also includes live entertainment, elegant eats, tasty treats and delicious drinks. Long Grove Vintage Days are also highlighted by free tractor rides for the youngsters, a penny carnival located on the Long Grove Historical Society’s Farmhouse.
Before or after filling your artistic appetite at the Adler Arts Center Festival of the Arts occurring the same weekend, pamper your sweet tooth with a stroll down the MainSweet Dessert Walk. The dessert makers participating in this saccharine event will be announced closer to the event. To kick off your weekend, head to First Fridays on MainStreet for a wine tasting, live tunes, exceptional deals, a book signing, fortune-telling and eats from award-winning restaurants.
Invest your fest feels on a festive festival-infested Friday through Sunday in Libertyville. The Adler Arts Center has showcased some of the most exceptional work from artists nationwide. A ton of talented individuals will have their work on display. This event hosted by the 100+-year-old facility will also feature a youth art division to celebrate childrens' talent. Besides the unique artwork on display, attendees will experience live music, divine fare and plenty more at the Libertyville festival in Cook Park.
The Gurnee amusement park kicks off its inaugural ¡Viva La Fiesta! Six Flags Great America will celebrate traditions across Latin and North America. The streets will resonate with musical performances, authentic cuisine and of course roller coasters. The ¡Vamos de Fiesta! runs for two weeks in August.
Art enthusiasts will flock to Route 22 this weekend for the annual Lincolnshire Arts Festival. Over 100 juried artists from across the country will display and sell extraordinary examples of fine art and crafts mediums at different price-points. Bring the kids along too, as there will be special activities for children including an art scavenger hunt and spin art. Once you’ve perused through all of the vendors works, enjoy live tunes from musicians performing on the Village Green stage. Attendees are encouraged to contribute to the on-site mural.
“Summer days drifting away, to, oh, oh the summer nights,” sang Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the classic flick “Grease.” Since 1972, Gurnee Days has been a featured social and regarded as one of the county’s premier summer festivals. The Gurnee Park District party is highlighted by a 5K run, a parade, a ribfest, a fireworks display, live entertainment, delectable eats, a car show, a petting zoo and much more. Gracing the stage at the Gurnee show includes The GooRoos, School of Rock Libertyville, a live DJ and more.
Summertime and ribs have an excellent relationship together. Taste what’s cooking at the Little Bear Ribfest held at Vernon Hill’s Century Park. Besides Lake County’s “best ribs in show,” explore the live entertainment, kid’s events, firework show and various other exciting activities at the 10th installment of the barbecue event. Boogie to the fantastic tunes from Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hell Raisers, Mississippi Heat, Rocky Athas and Kevin Purcell & The Night Burners. Attendees can purchase libation tickets at the foodie fest until 10:30 p.m. Bon appétit, Lake County!
Grayslake Summer Days is one of the last festivals of the season in Lake County. This family-fun festival features live entertainment, carnival games, bingo, beer tents, arts & crafts, delectable eats, a bags tournament, a business booth area and go-cart races. Don’t forget to find a good spot on Whitney Street for the Bike and Pet Parade at noon on Saturday and the Summer Days Parade at 6:30 p.m. that night. The music lineup includes Hillbilly Rockstarz, Two Hype Crew, Boy Band Review and more.
Experience a hoedown at Brothers' Fields as the historic downtown hosts Country Fest. The boot-scootin' party features a mechanical bull, eats from CHatterbox of Long Grove, country dance lessons and of course all the live music you can ask for.
For nearly two decades, Waukegan has celebrated a festival named for the mastermind behind Fahrenheit 451 and Martian Chronicles. The annual Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine and Arts Arts Festival features art, music, dance and the Drum Circle, “As Waukegan Grows.” Visit and experience this Bowen Park festival as it coincides with ArtWauk.
Receive a taste of Native American heritage to heighten awareness of their history at the annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow. Join the celebration as you listen and witness the history, traditions and customers of the storied tribe. Other festivities at this Zion fiesta include live demonstrations, music and dance presentations, educational sessions and a trade area. The Grand Entry is a must-see experience where members of the Potawatomi nation will present their flag as well as perform traditional dances.
Ready to celebrate Long Grove’s Irish Days, American-style? Join Long Grove as they celebrate heritage by featuring authentic Irish cuisine, traditional Irish brews, live entertainment that features musicians and dancers, the men’s kilt contest, bagpipers, a best-dressed dog competition, kiddie festivities and more. Of course, everyone’s a little bit Irish in September, too. The Historic Downtown Long Grove event is free of admission.
For more information about summer festival season, continue here. Stay tuned for Lake County Road Trips in late June.