Winter Festivals in Lake County 2024

By: Stephanie Wylie 01/11/2024

Escape the winter monotony—don't let chestnuts roast without purpose! Lake County's winter festival is your cure for cabin fever. With a plethora of festivities, Lake County beckons you to embrace the chill, from exploring snowy wonderlands to encountering cold-blooded creatures and immersing yourself in stunning snowy murals. Unleash your winter spirit with underwater adventures and a myriad of celebrations. Lake County is your destination for frosty fun! 





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Don't forget to check out where to go sledding and tubing in the land of lakes!

Here are your top winter festivals in Lake County 2024.

ArtWauk in Waukegan (January 20 February 17 & March 16)

Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of creativity during ArtWauk, where Waukegan comes alive with a fusion of sculptures, film, theatre, comedy, music, performance art and delectable cuisine. This free Saturday art extravaganza unveils the treasures within all art galleries across Downtown Waukegan. Let the monthly ArtWauk be your artistic haven, showcasing portraits, sculptures and a myriad of creative expressions. Explore downtown's culinary delights or groove to live tunes while indulging in craft brews and spirits from Lake County Libation Trail partners like Nightshade, Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing and Zumbier Brewery.

Winter Wine Walk in Antioch (January 20-21)

Savor the enchanting Winter Wine Walk in Downtown Antioch. This event promises not only a delightful tasting experience with 30+ wines but also the chance to explore Antioch's downtown gems. Each participant receives a commemorative wine glass, a shopping tote and a bottle of wine, making this an unmissable affair. Secure your spot and immerse yourself in the flavors of this exquisite wine exploration! 

Cool Cluster Dog Show at Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (January 24-28)

Prepare for a tail-wagging good time at the Cool Cluster Dog Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center. This all-breed dog show showcases competitions in various categories, bringing together canine enthusiasts for a lively event. Explore a range of products and accessories from vendors on-site – a perfect opportunity to find something special for your furry friends. Experience a paw-some experience filled with canine charm and camaraderie! 

Alpine Fest at Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. (January 26-27)

Embrace the winter wonder at Buffalo Creek Brewing's Alpine Fest. This free event invites beer enthusiasts to revel in the season, with the Alpine Biergarten offering a cozy escape complete with heat lamps and fire pits. From winter games to live music and indulgent comfort food from a food truck, Alpine Fest promises a weekend of warmth and merriment. Step into the Alpine Lodge concept for a German winter lodge experience indoors, complete with Alpine games and a welcoming atmosphere at Buffalo Creek Brewing!





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LVVA Ice Fishing Derby in Wauconda (January 26-28)

Gear up for an unforgettable weekend at Bangs Lake in Wauconda, as the LVVA Ice Fishing Derby returns for its 15th year! Recognized as one of Northern Illinois' largest and most successful ice fishing events, this derby boasts generous sponsors, thrilling contests and prizes. Your participation contributes to Veterans Path to Hope Outdoors, offering veterans a therapeutic and revitalizing outdoor experience. Don't miss the chance to reel in big catches and make a difference!

Lake County February Flavor Festival (February 1-29)





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From February 1-29, Visit Lake County has combined the renowned Lake County Restaurant Weeks and Libation Trail initiatives into one taste-tempting month-long event: February Flavor Festival. Restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries provide exclusive dining offers, fare and drink pairings, chef demonstrations, innovative libation concoctions, live entertainment and more promotions. The focus is encouraging residents to generate foot traffic to the cuisine makers in their hometowns and across the land of lakes. Foodies participating in Lake County Restaurant Month can check in at five or more eateries at any participating location and could receive an overnight stay and show at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort and Marriott Theatre, a cooking class at The Joyful Gourmet in Libertyville or a gift card. Cocktail conneissours can visit five more locations during Lake County Libation Trail Month and receive a long-sleeved T-shirt. Stay tuned for the website. 

Soul Food with Sylvia at the Jane Addams Center (February 3)

Warm your soul with Sylvia's Southern flavors! Join Sylvia England, founder and Executive Director of the African American Museum at the England Manor, for a delectable journey into the heart of soul food at the Jane Addams Center. Witness Sylvia's culinary magic firsthand as she demonstrates the preparation of a traditional soul food dish. Immerse yourself in the rich aromas and vibrant spices that define this iconic cuisine and learn the secrets to recreating these heartwarming flavors in your own kitchen.

Half Day Brewing Frozen Tundra 5K and Post Race Beach Party in Lincolnshire (February 3)

Lace up for an exhilarating experience at the Frozen Tundra IPA 5K hosted by Half Day Brewing Company. Run along the scenic Des Plaines River Trail, then dive into the warmth of the post-race party at HDB. Participants will snag a long sleeve shirt, finisher medal and entry to the lively after party filled with music, beer and the chance to win gift cards. Don't miss this fantastic blend of fitness and fun – join the race and celebrate at Half Day Brewing! 

Wauconda Winterfest Weekend (February 3-4)

Get ready for a weekend of frosty fun at Wauconda Winterfest hosted at Lindy's Landing Restaurant & Marina. This celebration promises winter wonders for the entire family, but details are still under wraps. Stay tuned for updates on the exciting events that await you. Mark your calendars for a delightful winter escape in Wauconda's enchanting wonderland!

Illinois Vintage Fest at Lake County Fairgrounds (February 3-4)

Get ready for a blast from the past at the Illinois Vintage Fest at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center in Grayslake. Experience the charm of Illinois Vintage Fest, a FREE indoor event hosting 200+ vendors offering a treasure trove of vintage delights, including clothing, artisans, antiques, home goods, collectibles and more. The doors swing open at 11 am sharp, so be there early to catch the best finds and enjoy a nostalgic journey through the decades. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore and shop a curated selection of timeless treasures! 


41st Annual Profiles in Excellence: Music Roots at Greenbelt Cultural Center (February 4)

Join Lake County Forest Preserves celebrating the 41st annual Profiles in Excellence event at the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. This year's theme, "Music Roots," will celebrate the power of music to connect us to our past and inspire us for the future. The event will feature a special performance by Diamana Diya, an all-female drumming ensemble from Guinea, West Africa. In addition to the performance, the Profiles in Excellence event will feature inspiring presentations from local African American leaders who share their stories and contributions to the community. So mark your calendars and plan to attend the 41st annual Profiles in Excellence event. It's an event you won't want to miss!

Lunar New Year Celebration at Park District of Highland Park (February 4)

Welcome the Year of the Dragon with a flourish of fans and ribbons! Join the Park District of Highland Park for an immersive Lunar New Year celebration. The event features an introduction to traditional Chinese dance, crafting and send blessings to loved ones with red envelopes filled with auspicious wishes.Dress up in your best red and gold attire to fully immerse yourself in the celebratory spirit! Tickets are $30 for residents and $35 for non-residents. Take advantage of this chance to experience the beauty and joy of Lunar New Year traditions. Reserve your spot and get ready to dance, craft and celebrate!





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O'Toole's Wing Fest (February 4)

Get ready to rumble at O'Toole's Libertyville's Wing Fest! Brace yourself for an epic Sunday Funday and dive into a battlefield of all-you-can-eat wings coated in 12 sauces, ranging from fiery to sweet and everything in between. ️Live music will keep the energy pumping while you conquer mountains of wings. Enter raffles, vote on your favorite sauces and bask in the glory of wing-tastic victory. Mark your calendars, gather your wing-loving squad, and prepare to conquer O'Toole's Libertyville's Wing Fest! It's a battle you won't want to miss. 

Lake County Rising 2024: We All Have the Power to End Violence Against Women at College of Lake County (February 6)

Join the powerful community movement at Lake County Rising 2024: We All Have the Power to End Violence Against Women. Taking place at the College of Lake County, this event echoes the global One Billion Rising movement, demanding an end to violence against women. Sponsored by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office and in collaboration with various organizations, including Nicasa Behavioral Health Services and A Safe Place, with the goal of creating a safer, more empowered future for all. 

Street Scenes Student Show at Carmel Catholic High School (February 9-10)

Join the celebration of 50 years of Street Scenes at Carmel Catholic High School. Experience two evenings filled with over 40 live bands, casino games, theatrical performances, a mesmerizing magic show, a cabaret-style student show and delicious offerings from local food and beverage vendors. Your presence supports Carmel Catholic High School, and a suggested donation ensures you're part of this milestone event!

In The Dead Of Winter Craft and Art Market at Nightshade and Dark's Pandemonium Brewing Company (February 13)

Embrace the winter vibes at Nightshade and Dark's Pandemonium Brewing Company for the "In The Dead Of Winter" Craft and Art Market. Organized by Pints and Purls, this event invites artists and crafters to showcase and sell their creations with no fees involved. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a cozy atmosphere while appreciating the talent of local artisans. 





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Seventh Annual Cocoa Crawl in Long Grove (February 10)

Indulge in the warmth of winter delights at the 7th Annual Cocoa Crawl in Historic Downtown Long Grove! Immerse yourself in the cozy atmosphere as you explore the charming boutiques, shops and restaurants offering delightful hot cocoa creations to enjoy outdoors at no charge. It's a perfect day to stroll through the historic streets and savor the sweet essence of the season. Make lasting memories with friends and family as you embrace the cocoa-filled festivities and the charming ambiance of Historic Downtown Long Grove. 

Chain O'Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival (February 10)

Join the legacy at Turtle Beach Marina for the longest continuously run winter event in Illinois. Beyond the thrill of ice fishing, this festival is a celebration of family, with generations returning annually. Founded by William Brook and Dick Waters, the event promises raffles, games and more. Weather permitting, fish judging and food await inside the tent. Gather your loved ones for a timeless winter experience! 

Cocoa & Cookies Children's Valentine Party at Lambs Farm (February 11)

Whisk up some Valentine's Day fun for your little ones at Lambs Farm's Cookies & Cocoa party! This sweet celebration promises a cozy afternoon filled with warm and delightful cocoa, decorating cookies, crafts, story time and more. All this fun in the charming setting of Lambs Farm's Magnolia Cafe & Bakery for just $12 per child and $5 per adult.





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The Orchid Show of Wonders at the Chicago Botanic Garden (February 10 - March 24)

Prepare for a spectacular botanical carnival at The Orchid Show of Wonders, captivating visitors at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Wander through a whimsical world adorned with 10,000 vibrant blooms, where Ferris wheel seats, unicycles on tightropes and gravity-defying surprises under the big top will enchant your senses. Your Orchid Show ticket includes admission to the Garden, offering a delightful escape into this mesmerizing floral wonderland. Don't miss the chance to experience the magic!

Ultimate Girls Night Out at The Vine (February 13)

Calling all gals!  This Valentine's Day, gather your besties for the ultimate Girls' Night Out at The Vine Martini & Wine Bar! The Vine transforms into a shopping haven with all your favorite local vendors featuring boutiques with stylish clothing and accessories, jewelry, home decor and beauty products. The Vine's delectable menu and signature cocktails perfectly accompany your shopping spree. This is more than just a shopping excursion - it's a chance to connect with your girls, unwind after a long day and celebrate the power of female friendship!

Orchids After Hours at the Chicago Botanic Garden (February 14-March 22)

Embark on a romantic journey through a whimsical world of orchids at Orchids After Hours at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This exclusive after-hours event allows you to explore the Orchid Show of Wonders with 10,000 vibrant blooms, marveling at surprises under the big top. Indulge in a delightful evening with light bites and colorful cocktails available for purchase, creating a magical and memorable night out in the enchanting world of orchids. Secure your admission for this romantic escapade! 





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Black History Celebration at Jack Benny Center for the Arts (February 17)

Celebrate Black History at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts. The exhibit explores African American heroes who have left an indelible mark on our world. The event, hosted at the Dr. Lynn Schornick Theatre, will feature inspiring musical performances, spoken word, dramatic readings, dance and more. Admission is free, so bring your friends and family for an enriching experience.

Brick Fest at Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake (February 17-18) 

Get ready for a brick-tastic adventure with Brick Fest Live at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center for a weekend filled with imagination and creativity. Marvel at life-size models crafted from thousands of bricks, unlocking your imagination with every impressive creation. Dive into the Giant Brick Pit for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity surrounded by over 200,000 colorful bricks.

Join LEGO® Masters TV show contestants for exclusive meet-and-greet sessions and explore the Minecraft Zone to add your creations to a collaborative building layout. Experience the Glow Zone, where bricks shine under blacklight, and unleash your artistic side on the Graffiti Wall. Participate in derby races, build mosaic art for the gallery, and contribute to a giant floor mural that comes together piece by piece. This hands-on event promises maximum family fun and enjoy a weekend of brick-building excitement! 

Let's Wine About Winter in Libertyville (February 17) 

Indulge your senses in Libertyville's charming downtown. Stroll from shop to shop, savoring delicious wines and delightful bites from participating merchants. Afterward, lose yourself in the allure of unique boutiques, finding treasures while the afternoon unfolds. Enjoy all that Mainstreet Libertyville has to offer while eliminating the winter blues.

Fall in Love with Relish Events at Independence Grove (February 18)

Say "I Do" to exquisite events at Independence Grove with Relish Events. Relish Events, a renowned caterer in the Chicagoland area, is ready to sweep you off your feet with its exceptional culinary expertise and event planning prowess. This special event is your one-stop shop for all things wedding, offering the chance to meet and connect with a curated selection of local vendors who will make your dream wedding a reality. Don't miss this opportunity to elevate your wedding planning journey! RSVP today and prepare to be awed by the possibilities that await at "Fall in Love" with Relish Events.

Mardi Gras 2024 at Park District of Highland Park (February 22)

Laissez les bon temps rouler at the Park District of Highland Park's Mardi Gras Celebration! Get ready for a vibrant explosion of fun, family and New Orleans vibes. This festive event promises an unforgettable evening brimming with music, crafts, delicious treats and more. Come dressed in your most festive attire and be prepared to dance the night away. Registration is required. Grab your masks, beads and dancing shoes, and celebrate Mardi Gras like never before.

Northern Illinois Boat Show at The Lake County Fairground (February 24-March 3)

The Alpine Biergarten at Buffalo Creek Brewing offers a great way to taste handcrafted brews outdoors in a cozy, intimate setting. The Historic Downtown Long Grove, Lake County Libation Trail partner offers six stocked firepits, patio and barrel table heat lamps, sheepskin seat covers, twinkle lighting and over two acres of winter wonderland to explore and stay socially distanced from others. The award-winning brewery is known for its 42K Belgian Strong Ale, Marrvelous German-Style Kölsch, and Xerxes Chocolate Bacon Stout. The Alpine Biergarten is open in this setting through late March.

Black History Celebration at Zion Township High School (February 24)

Experience a vibrant Black History Celebration at Zion Township High School. The event promises family-friendly fun with singing, dancing, guest speakers, poetry and surprise entertainers. Lunch will be provided. Don't miss out on this engaging celebration of Black history and culture. 





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Lake County Craft Beer Festival at Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (February 24)

Embark on a flavor-filled journey at the Lake County Craft Beer Fest hosted at the picturesque Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Grayslake. Savor exquisite craft beers, delightful spirits, wine, and delectable Lake County cuisine. Immerse yourself in the roaring twenties with a speakeasy/prohibition theme, enhanced by live music, axe throwing, and an exhilarating escape room. Your admission guarantees 25 beer and beverage sampling tickets and a stylish souvenir glass. Indulge in culinary delights, explore vibrant vendors, and engage in exciting games. Join us for an unforgettable experience and meet acclaimed Lake County Libation Trail partners, including Liquid Love Brewing in Buffalo Grove, Tonality Brewing Co. Mundelein, Harbor Brewing Co. in Winthrop Harbor and Lake Villa and more. Take the chance to elevate your palate and celebrate the art of brewing in Lake County!  

First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (March 1)

Dive into a weekend of festivity in Libertyville! Commencing with the renowned First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville, enjoy a medley of delectable drinks, tantalizing eats, live entertainment and more. All set against the charming backdrop of local mom-and-pop shops offering enticing promotional sales. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, savoring the delights that Libertyville has to offer throughout this lively weekend extravaganza. 

Windy City Wedding Show at the Hyatt Deerfield (March 3)

Make your dream wedding a reality at the Windy City Wedding Show! Explore booths showcasing over 50 of the finest wedding professionals in the Chicago area. Whether you're searching for the perfect photographer, caterer, florist or DJ, you'll find everything you need to plan your dream celebration under one roof. Get a sneak peek at stunning bridal gowns, chat with experienced wedding vendors, enter to win prizes and attend workshops and presentations. Learn from the experts on wedding-related topics, from budgeting and timelines to choosing the perfect décor and music. Get inspired and spark your creativity. Discover unique ideas and trends to personalize your wedding and make it truly unforgettable.

Leaping Leprechauns at Grayslake Park District (March 15)

The Grayslake Park District invites you to join them for an evening of St. Patrick's Day fun at Leaping Leprechauns. Dress in your best green and gold attire for a night filled with pizza, crafting and a gold hunt. Learn an Irish jig to showcase to your family and friends, and end the evening by making Green River floats. Don't miss this leaping good time! Come join in for a little luck of the Irish. 

Lake County RV Outlet Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds (March 22-24)

Would you like to find a getaway reminiscent of the iconic Griswold family road trip? Look no further! Embark on a journey to the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center for the RV Outlet Show. Explore the latest models, from class A-C gas motorhomes to diesel pusher motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, toy haulers, fold-downs, hybrids, and more; all showcased in the expansive 65,000 square-foot facility in Grayslake. Get ready to hit the road with the Lake County Fairgrounds as your destination! 

For more winter festivals and other events going on, continue here. Click here to learn more about the Lake County Libation Trail.

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