Summer Festival Season in Lake County 2024

By: Stephanie Wylie 05/31/2024

Excuse our language, but the summer festival season in Lake County is incredibly exciting (and we’re not just talking about atrial fibrillation; these events really get your heart racing).

Gather your family and friends to hit those squad goals.

Why are summer festivals in Lake County so amazing? The sun is shining, the streets are filled with people dancing to live music, indulging in delicious food and drinks, enjoying thrilling carnival rides, and much more.

Take a look at the summer festival season guide to discover all that the land of lakes has to offer.

Food Truck Events in Lake County (Select Days Through Summer) 

In case you've missed the trend over the past decade, food trucks have become a nationwide sensation. Surprisingly, the Chicagoland area was slower to embrace this movement. While food trucks did exist here, they were initially required to prepare their dishes in a commercial kitchen. According to the Chicago Tribune, it wasn't until 2012 that these mobile chefs were permitted to cook directly on their trucks. Consequently, Lake County now hosts four outstanding food events throughout the summer:

Car Shows in Lake County 

Lake County hosts various car shows throughout the year, offering a diverse range of classic, vintage, and custom vehicles for enthusiasts to admire and enjoy. From classic car exhibitions to specialty showcases, there's something for every car enthusiast in Lake County.

Bitter Jester Fester Music Festival in Highland Park (Jun. 7,8,14-15, 29)

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.

Juneteenth Lake County 2024 at Foss Park (June 14-16)

Step into the vibrancy of Juneteenth at Foss Park! Participants will experience the richness of African clothing, captivating art and have the opportunity to support black-owned businesses in a day filled with flavor, fashion, and empowerment. Guests can come together to honor Juneteenth with unity and creativity in a family-friendly atmosphere. The event features live performances by local artists, showcasing musical genres from jazz to hip-hop, celebrating the rich heritage of the African American community.

Beach Bash at Mundelein's Diamond Lake Beach (June 15)

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.

Wauconda Fest (June 27-30)

Get ready for Wauconda Fest 2024, an exciting event featuring delicious food, beer and wine, live entertainment and carnival rides. The festivities will include a Craft Show and Car Show. For just $5, you can purchase a fest button that grants you admission for all four days. Don't miss out on this fun-filled community celebration!

Lake County PrideFest in Round Lake Beach (June 8)

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.

10th Annual Mundelein Craft Beer Festival (June 8)

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.

Grayslake Authorfest 2024 (June 22)

The second annual Grayslake AuthorFest invites authors, readers and aspiring writers to come together for a day of literary celebration. Founded by local writers from Lake and McHenry counties and supported by the Grayslake community, this event offers a unique opportunity to connect with literary enthusiasts.

Libertyville Days Festival (Jun. 13-16)

It’s the party of the year in Libertyville! Libertyville Days is a staple in the community and this year's theme is "Going for the Gold in 2024." 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 (June 7-Oct. 26)

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 upcoming performers include:

For the full schedule click below. 

Flavors of the World Food Festival at Six Flags Great America (June 8-June 30)

Fall in love at first bite 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. Delight your taste buds and sample up to 12 items from eight different countries around the globe. Sip, stroll and enjoy the Flavors of the World!

 

First Friday on MainStreet Libertyville (June 7, July 5 and August 2)

Experience the charm of Downtown Libertyville at the First Friday. Enjoy a delightful evening featuring wine tastings, special discounts, live music and refreshments while you shop. Downtown shop owners are eager to help you find that perfect, unique gift. You can dine at one of the many award-winning restaurants or opt for a delicious takeout meal. Parking is free and ample, with covered parking available at the Lake St/Brainerd Ave garage and the Church Street parking garage behind Mickey Finn’s and St. Lawrence Episcopal Church.

ArtWauk in Waukegan (June 15, July 20 and August 17)

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.

Nostalgia Days in Zion (June 15)

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.

Taste of Highland Park (June 21-22)

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 Weekend Day in Antioch (June 15)

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.

Taste of Grayslake (June 29) 

Join the Taste of Grayslake Family Picnic and Fireworks at Central Park. This exciting event promises a day filled with delicious food, live entertainment, carnival rides and local businesses showcasing their offerings. A highlight of the event is the performance by Wild Daisy from 5-7 p.m. Wild Daisy is renowned as the most energetic and dynamic female-fronted country band in the Chicagoland area. Don't miss this fun-filled community event that offers entertainment and enjoyment for the whole family! Free admission ensures that everyone can partake in the festivities.

Long Grove Strawberry Festival (June 21-23)

“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 Southwater, The 77 Solution, 7th Heaven, Southwater, Kashmir: The Led Zeppelin Show, Of Perception: A Doors Tribute and more.

Celebrate Fox Lake (June 29)

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 10 a.m., a watermelon eating contest, live performances. The Fox Lake event serves fare and drinks for purchase.

BeachFest and Fireworks at the Village of Round Lake Beach (July 6)

Beach Fest, presented by the Village of Round Lake Beach, promises an exciting day filled with live entertainment, magic shows, bands, food trucks, and vendors offering delicious food and beverages.The festivities will feature performances by The Blooze Brothers and Six Speed Tranny. The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks show presented by the Round Lake Area Park District, launching at dusk.The event offers free entry and is family-friendly, so bring your own chairs and blankets for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Stay tuned for more updates!

July 4th Fireworks at Six Flags Great America (July 4-6)

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.

Mundelein Community Days (July 4-7)

Experience Mundelein Community Days 2024 festival, at its new location, Courtland Commons.This four-day, family-oriented event has something for everyone. Enjoy a carnival, fireworks, parade, delicious food, live music, games, contests, demonstrations, displays and a variety of kids' activities. Each year, thousands of Mundelein residents and visitors gather to celebrate, making it one of the best festivals in Lake County. Don't miss out on this vibrant summer celebration!

Red, White & BOOM! 4th of July Celebration (July 3-4)

The largest event of the year, the 2024 Red, White, & BOOM! celebration, will take place over two exciting days. Attendees can enjoy attractions, entertainment, delicious food, beverages and more. The festivities continue on July 4 at Spring Lake Park with a full day of activities, including a 5K race, parade, cardboard boat regatta and a spectacular fireworks display. This event promises to be a fantastic community celebration not to be missed!

61st Annual Deerfield Family Days (July 3-4)

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.

Scoop Waukegan (July 12-13)

The tradition returns to Downtown Waukegan as the hot rod holiday; Scoop kicks off July 12. 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. 

Bristol Renaissance Faire (July 6-Sept. 2)

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. 

15th Annual Dog Days of Summer in Libertyville (July 5-7)

Experience the excitement of the 15th Annual Dog Days of Summer in Libertyville. This event features the renowned Dockdogs National Canine Aquatic Competition. Attendees can witness thrilling competitions and activities, from Big Air Waves to Extreme Vertical Competitions, there's something for every dog enthusiast. Admission to the Dog Days of Summer is free, offering a fantastic opportunity for families and dog lovers to enjoy a fun-filled weekend. Don't miss out on this exciting event celebrating our furry friends!

MainStreet Libertyville Sidewalk Sales (July 19-20)

MainStreet Libertyville for a delightful day of sidewalk sales! Explore the charming streets of downtown Libertyville and discover fantastic bargains at participating stores. Before or after your shopping spree, treat yourself to lunch or dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants in the area. Sales may be held indoors if not on the sidewalk, so be sure to check back for updates on participating businesses. Get ready for a day of great deals and delicious dining experiences in the heart of Libertyville!

Taste of Summer and Sidewalk Sales in Antioch (July 18-21)

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 RICCO, 90's Pop Nation, Hi Infidelity and more. 

Vernon Hills Days (July 18-21)

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.

Gospelfest at Greenbelt Cultural Center (July 28)

Experience the uplifting melodies of GospelFest at the Greenbelt Cultural Center. Attendees will enjoy performances by gospel group Nate Martin & SIGN, alongside other talented local choirs and soloists. This free event invites families and friends to come together for an afternoon of soul-stirring music and community celebration. Whether you pack a picnic or choose to indulge in offerings from local vendors, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Remember to bring along an umbrella, chair, or blanket for added comfort as you immerse yourself in the sounds of GospelFest amid the picturesque setting of the Lake County Forest Preserves.

Chicago Grit (July 19-28)

Get ready for the adrenaline-fueled excitement of Chicago Grit - formerly known as Intelligentsia Cup! This thrilling 10-day criterium race series is a highlight of the Chicagoland calendar, typically held in the middle to end of July. As the largest road racing series in America, Chicago Grit promises an unforgettable experience that keeps riders coming back for more of that big crit energy! Unlike typical parking lot criteriums, our races are full-day events set in the most incredible communities in and around Chicagoland. Each community fully embraces the cycling culture, working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure both riders and spectators have an unforgettable experience. Get ready to feel the grit and excitement of Chicago Grit!

AlpineFest in Lake Zurich (July 19-21)

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. 

95th Annual Lake County Fair (July 24-28)

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.

Long Grove Vintage Days (July 27-28)

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. 

MainSweet Libertyville Dessert Walk (Aug. 3)

Indulge your sweet tooth at the MainSweet Libertyville Dessert Walk in downtown Libertyville. Join in on the delightful stroll through the heart of the town, sampling generous tasting-size portions of delectable desserts offered by participating Main Street businesses. The adventure begins at Cook Park, where you'll find the MainStreet Libertyville tent. From there, embark on a light walking tour spanning three blocks of downtown Libertyville, enjoying a variety of sweet treats along the way. Don't miss out on this fun and festive way to spend a day in early August, exploring the flavors and delights of downtown Libertyville!

42nd Annual Festival of the Arts in Libertyville (Aug. 3-4)

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.

¡Viva La Fiesta! at Six Flags Great America (Aug. 17-18)

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. 

Lincolnshire Arts Festival (July 6-7)

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.

Gurnee Days at Viking Park (Aug. 10-11)

Mark your calendars for Gurnee Days at Viking Park! Presented by the Gurnee Park District and the Village of Gurnee, this weekend extravaganza promises to be filled with cherished traditions and exciting activities for all ages. Indulge in delicious food, explore sponsor and vendor booths, participate in the thrilling Gurnee Days Race and marvel at the spectacular parade. Cap off the festivities with one of the best fireworks shows in Lake County! Don't miss out on this unforgettable celebration of community spirit and fun at Viking Park during Gurnee Days weekend!

Grayslake Summer Days (Aug. 17)

Experience live music, indulge in delicious food, enjoy thrilling rides, and test your skills at games and contests including pie eating and Bingo! Whether you're seeking family-friendly entertainment or a day out with friends, Grayslake Summer Days has something for everyone. Stay tuned for more details as we finalize the lineup of activities and attractions. Don't miss out on this exciting event celebrating summer in Grayslake!

Dandelion Wine and Arts Music Festival (Aug. 17)

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.

Harbor Days and Venetian Nights at North Point Marina (Aug. 5)

Experience the magic of North Point Marina's Venetian Night! Watch a captivating lighted boat parade with a tropical luau theme. Watch as boats adorned with dazzling lights glide through the waters. Whether you're participating in the parade or cheering from the shore, Venetian Night promises an unforgettable evening of fun and excitement for all ages. Don't miss out on this enchanting celebration at North Point Marina!

Elote Festival in Round Lake Beach (Aug. 23-25)

Elote Festival at the Cultural & Civic Center Grounds for Spanish and English music, elote vendors and carnival rides. Enjoy performances by La Sonora Dinamita and other bands, with free admission and family-friendly activities like bouncy houses and a foam blaster. Don't miss the Northern Lights Drone Show on Sunday and bring blankets or chairs for seating. Free parking is available at the RLB Metra Station.

Port Clinton Art Festival in Highland Park (Aug. 24-25)

Don't miss the iconic Port Clinton Art Festival, celebrating over 40 years of creativity, in Downtown Highland Park. Featuring over 200 juried artists, this nationally renowned event showcases a diverse range of art forms, from paintings to sculptures, jewelry, fashion wearables and more. Enjoy free admission, ample nearby parking, and accessibility for all attendees. Plus, contribute to a meaningful cause by bringing gently used wall art to be donated to the Chicago Furniture Bank. 

Irish Days in Historic Downtown Long Grove (Aug. 31-Sept. 2)

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.

Upcoming Events (TBA)

For more summer festivals, be sure to check back for further details:


For more information about summer festival season, continue here. Stay tuned for Lake County Road Trips in late June. 

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