Labor Day Weekend in Lake County 2021

By: Jonathan Jones 08/27/2021

Hooray for Labor Day weekend in Lake County: everyone’s favorite Monday of the year! Here’s a little bit of history behind the national “take it easy” day. 

The inception of the Labor Day idea was in 1885. The first state to introduce the bill was New York, but Oregon passed it first on February 21, 1887. The emphasis of this holiday was strongly insisted on by labor unions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Co-founder Peter J. McGuire is the father of the effort.


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To end the Pullman Strike in 1894 (which was a nationwide strike against the Pullman Palace railroad car manufacturers and a turning point in labor law that initially started in Chicago), President Grover Cleveland made it official and made designated Labor Day as everyone’s favorite Monday off of the year.

For providing us with a break, say cheers to Mr. McGuire by taking a walk down Lake County’s Libation Trail.

We’re in this rat race spinning and spinning, trying to grab that hunk of cheese. Let’s all kick back and relax on this extended time off and see what’s going on for Labor Day weekend in Lake County.

Thunder on the Chain at Blarney Island (September 2)


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The Chain O’Lakes is far from placid on Thursday nights during the summer. Take your own vessel out or take the ferry from Port of Blarney to Blarney Island. Thunder on the Chain features the unique world of drag boat racing from June-September hosted by Blarney Island on Grass Lake. If you have the need for speed on a “school night,” witness these fearless racers competing in nine different classes from the Northern Illinois Drag Boat Association as they sprint for the gold. Thunder on the Chain fields races through September 3. Blarney Island throws a party all weekend, starting with the boat races.

First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (September 3)


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Invest your fest feels on a festive festival-infested Friday through Sunday in Libertyville. The weekend kicks off with its normal 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.

Hurricane Harbor Chicago in Gurnee (through September 6)


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Take a dip in the drink, and experience the thrills at Hurricane Harbor before it’s too late. The H2O haven is equipped with over 25 rides, waterslides and attractions like waterslides, a main swimming area called Monsoon Lagoon, a kid zone play area that utterly soaks individuals, an interactive surf area and so much more. Joining the ranks at Hurricane Harbor Chicago and Six Flags Great America is Tsunami Surge. The aforementioned slide is the soon-to-be world’s tallest water coaster. Hurricane Harbor Chicago is open through September 6.

Beaches in Lake County (Various Close Dates)


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The land of lakes is home to over 200 lakes and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, which means the beaches are abundant. Searching for an adventure in one of the Great Lakes? Illinois Beach State Park in Zion or Waukegan Municipal Beach is your destination. Taking your little guppies for a more youngster-friendly environment? Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park Beach has lifeguards and a water playground. So take a dip and cool yourself off this summer along one of Lake County’s relaxing shores. So kick back and relax, and remember, life’s a beach!

Butterflies & Blooms Exhibit at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe (through September 6)


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Witness the majesty and beauty of the Swallowtail, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Skipperling and as many as 500 other colorful butterflies and blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden. The Butterflies & Blooms exhibition highlights species that are native to Africa, Asia, North America and South America. The butterflies are housed in a 2,800-square-foot mesh enclosure on the Regenstein Learning Campus. Visitors can view the cocooned caterpillars make their transformation into butterflies through a window located inside the pupa emergence room. The exhibit is open daily through September 6 (weather permitting).

Beer Garden at Independence Grove in Libertyville (Closes TBA)


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Summer has a flavor like no other, and so do the local suds at the Beer Garden at Independence Grove Forest Preserve. Experience this Lake County Forest Preserve District’s beer flights for sippers ages 21 and older while viewing the area’s natural beauty. The beer garden’s Mile 15 Hazy & Lazy created by Waukegan Lake County Libation Trail partner ZümBier Brewery and the Lake County Forest Preserves is the featured adult beverage this summer in its inception year. The New England India Pale Ale dons its name from Independence Grove’s hiking and biking location along the Des Plaines River Trail. The Libertyville forest preserve encourages libationers to find marker 15 on the aforementioned Illinois-Wisconsin trail and snap a photo with the brew. Besides the Waukeganite “liquid courage,” the beer garden is also highlighted by Lake County Libation Trail partners Mickey Finn’s Brewery in LibertyvilleTighthead Brewery in MundeleinHalf Day Brewing in LincolnshireBuffalo Creek Brewing in Long GroveRavinia Brewing Co. in Highland ParkLight the Lamp Brewery in GrayslakeBlack Lung Brewing Co. in Round Lake Beach and Roaring Table Brewing Co. in Lake Zurich. The Beer Garden also offers non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. The Independence Grove Forest Preserve entity is open on weekends and Tuesday nights for its summer series called Concerts in the Plaza.

Summer Camp-in at Great Wolf Lodge Illinois in Gurnee


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Ahhhwooooo! The wolf has risen. Your little slip and sliders can have some summer fun in the Northwoods-themed park and accommodation. Whatever the temperature may be outside, it’s always a comfortable 84 degrees in the Gurnee resort. Your woodsy adventure starts and ends with the 80,000 square foot facility with water slides, a river to be lazy on, a wave pool, a kiddie area and so much more. Great Wolf Lodge is also highlighted by mini-golf, an arcade, a bowling alley, fun and games with Wolf characters and so much more. Venture to the Gurnee facility for a fam glamping experience. Mosquitos aren’t invited.

Mini Golf in Lake County 


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Hit the links in Lake County…on a far smaller course. It’s all in the hips. Make your tee times for some of the most unusual, scenic, difficult and competitive outings at two of Lake County’s best miniature golf courses. Before you hit the big boy golf courses, work on the short game at these two locations:

Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee


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Every time a bell rings, a prospective pilot gets their wings. Extreme Flight Simulations (figuratively) provides individuals with frequent flyer miles in the Gurnee facility’s airplane simulator. Take off, coast and land as this soaring simulator accurately reproduces the flight deck of the 737 NG. The aerodynamic attraction is open to the public, and no flight experience is needed. 

Hike or Bike in Lake County


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No matter the season, we enjoy the fruits of what Mother Nature gave us in Lake County: The tall trees, the winding trails, the serene bodies of waters, the creatures and critters and the picturesque plant life. Lake County provides outdoor escapes from the shelter in place with an up close and personal live-action Claude Monet portraits. Hey Lake County, take a hike (or bike).

Lambs Farm in Libertyville


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Old Lake County had a farm E-I-E-I-O. The Libertyville/Green Oaks farmyard is highlighted by a petting area with sheep, goats and a plethora of other livestock creatures to meet and greet, various attractions like miniature golf, an old-world carousel and more. Visit the homestead’s Dogwood Pet Shop, Magnolia Café & Bakery and the Sugar Maple Country Store for delectable treats, unique treasures, adorable puppies and kittens. The Libertyville grounds’ businesses benefit programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Lambs Farm is also celebrating its 60th born day in September.

Bee Gees Gold the Tribute at Genesee Theatre in Waukegan


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Find out "How Deep is Your Love" for Saturday Night Fever as Bee Gees Gold: The Tribute graces the Genesee Theatre stage in Waukegan. John Acosta as Barry Gibb has performed in Bee Gees Tributes all over the world. His portrayal of lead singer Barry Gibb is with a zest for detail, like no other. From the look to the falsetto you will close your eyes and say its Barry and his brothers as the group accompanied with Daryll Borges as Robin Gibb and Jeff Celentano as Maurice Gibb.

Ravinia Festival Shows in Highland Park

Summer’s marquee event is nearing its end. North America’s longest-running outdoor festival is featuring a plethora of humongous acts. Pack some snacks and sun hats and head out to Ravinia Festival. The Highland Park staple features an array of fantastic acts for “lazy day” weekend.

WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills (Open Year-round)


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