The festival season is not only a great excuse to venture outside our air-conditioned caves, but also to eat a lot of great food. Check out our guide to July festivals in Chicago and the suburbs for days packed with live music, carnival rides, eats and fun for the kids.
Taste of Lombard, July 1-5
Taste of Lombard not only offers food, but music throughout the festival, including rock band Filter on the final day, as well as Fourth of July fireworks. The grounds also have a carnival with rides and a haunted house and a craft fair. $3; free for children ages 9 and under. Madison Street and Ahrens Avenue, Lombard.
Arlington Heights Frontier Days, July 2-6
Enjoy a wide variety of family fun and entertainment including carnival rides, live music, sports contests, kid’s activities and even a rib eating contest. Events and attractions vary day to day. Music performers include Chicago Six, Sister Hazel, Gin Blossoms, The Bacon Brothers, American English and others. A bracelet for carnival rides costs $23. Other attractions are free or vary in price.
Lakeside Festival, July 3-6
This annual event is Lakeside’s largest fundraiser and it is put on by the talents of generous volunteers and sponsors. Volunteers receive free admission. Lakeside fest includes food from local businesses like KaleidoScoops, Georgios, Culver’s, Joseph’s Market, Two Tails Market & Eatery, Buena Vista and many others. $5 gate donation. Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.
Naperville Exchange Club’s Ribfest, July 3-6
The four-day fest includes family-friendly entertainment, fireworks, live music, food and beverage vendors, a rib competition and more. Proceeds go to the elimination of child abuse and domestic violence. The fest is from noon to 10 p.m. each day. $10-$15; free for children 11 and younger. Knoch Park, S. West St., Naperville.
Northwest Fourth Fest, July 3-6
This four-day patriotic celebration packs in music and a host of local attractions such as a carnival, bingo and a pie eating contest. Headlining acts include Heartache Tonight, Smash Mouth and Modern Day Romeos. The last day of the festival is purely dedicated to a craft show. Sears Centre, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates.
Celebrate Fox Lake, 10 a.m. July 5
The family-friendly event features activities like face painting, live music, a craft show and a train ride. Food and adult beverages are served. Lakefront Park, 71 Nippersink Blvd., Fox Lake.
Art Festival, 10 a.m. July 6
Stroll and shop among 100 juried artists on the Esplanade. Free. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe.
NOLA Fest, noon July 6
Join the Louisiana-style brasserie for a night of food and drinks in the spirit of New Orleans. Musicians Leadfoot and Glen David Andrews perform. $20. Maple Tree Inn, 13301 S. Old Western Ave., Blue Island.
27th Annual ‘Tennisfest,’ 9 a.m. July 9
All ages are welcome. Includes free USA 1-2-3 tennis lessons for juniors and adults, free clinics, Little Mo Regionals, 54-event tournament, Chicago District Junior Team Tennis Championships, a pet contest and more. H-F Racquet & Fitness Club, 2920 W. 183rd St., Homewood.
Taste of Westmont, July 10-13
Enjoy a variety of summer fair staples like booths with food and beer, headlining music acts, a craft show and kids activities. Downtown Westmont, 1 S. Cass Ave.
Taste of Park Ridge, July 10-12
Join area residents for three days of family events while snacking on local cuisine. Food vendors include Mrs. A’s Cupcakes, Creme of the Crepe, Lisa’s Italian Ice, Chicago Prime, All on the Road Catering, Rocky Mountain Chocolate, St. John Chrysostomos Monastery, Dairy Queen, Spuntino’s Pizza, Sunrise Grill, Houlihans, Affresco, Bangkok Belly, Rex Italian Foods, Hay Caramba, Boston Fish Market, Maki Sushi, Cafe Zalute, Himalayan, Panino’s Pizza, Wine Styles, Subway and JD Kadd’s Pizza. Music headliners are Evolution, Your Villain My Hero and 7th Heaven. The Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony also conducts its regular concert at Hodges Park on Friday night, beginning at 8 p.m. Visit the website for more detailed information. $5 for 8 food tickets. Near the Park Ridge Metra, 100 S. Summit Ave., Park Ridge.
Windmill City Festival, July 10-12
Entertainment at this annual festival runs the gamut. In addition to a carnival and food, there is a 5K run, craft show and flea market, pet parade, beer garden, home run derby and each night features a headlining music performer. Event locations and times vary. Visit the website for the full schedule.
2014 Chicago Duo Piano Festival, July 11-20
Student participants receive daily coaching on a selected repertoire. All have the opportunity to perform in the final recitals and certain students may be selected to perform in the guest master class. Students are placed in appropriate age divisions. $520 for participants, $260 for auditors and includes attendance at master classes, group lessons and concerts. Music Institute of Chicago, Evanston East Campus, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.
St. Sophia Greek Festival, July 11-13
The long-running festival features live music, dancing, Grecian food, rides, an indoor marketplace and tours of the church where it’s held. $2; children are free with paying adult. St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, 525 Church Road, Elgin.
Uncork Barrington, July 11
Enjoy 48 quality wines from eight regions, complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 10 restaurants and caterers, a souvenir wine glass and live music. $50. Downtown Barrington, South Cook and East Station streets.
Annual Lemont Heritage Fest, 4 p.m. July 12
The event features live music, food and family-fun activities. Most activities are free. Historic Downtown Lemont, State Street and New Avenue.
Barrington Brew Fest, 3 p.m. July 12
The 11th annual Brew Fest features craft beers from over 48 brewers and food from local vendors such as McGonigal’s, Big Iron Horse BBQ, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. Classic rock band Second Time Around also plays. Tickets at the gate must be purchased with cash. All proceeds benefit the Barrington Area Council on Aging.
Chicago Hungarian Gulyas Festival, noon July 12
Highlights of this seventh annual festival include a team gulyas cook-off, live Hungarian folk music, kids games and activities, a Hungarian marketplace and a wine and beer bar. All proceeds benefit Hungarian United Church of Christ and Community Center.$20-$30; $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Norridge United Church of Christ, 8260 W. Foster Ave., Norridge.
Frankfort Bluegrass Festival, July 12-13
Performers at this fourth annual festival include Special Consensus, Hillbenders, Twon Mountain, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, Dog1, Bluegrass Escape and Illinois Rail. Workshops, jam sessions and food are also available. Breidert Green, Oak and Kansas streets, Frankfort.
Block Party at the Pool, noon July 13
Stop by for music, fun and games, including a bags tournament. Burgers and hot dogs are available for purchase. Free with season pass or pool entry fee. Devonshire Aquatic Center, 4400 Greenwood St., Skokie.
Naperville’s Woman’s Club Art Fair, 10 a.m. July 13
Celebrate the 55th annual fair which celebrates over 100 artists and a medley of fine art. Free. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville.
Science Fest, 1:30 p.m. July 13
The science fest starts with a kickoff experiment outside and follows with exhibits of different science projects entered by local groups. Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook.
Buffalo Grove Art Festival, July 13-14
The festival hosts more than 150 juried artists from around the globe offering fine art of all mediums. Art demos and booth chats, as well as live music performances, art activities for kids and much more will be available as well. Free. Buffalo Grove Town Center, Lake Cook Road and Route 83 (McHenry Road), Buffalo Grove.
Girls’ Night Out, 5 p.m. July 17
Held at different businesses throughout Downtown Highwood, participants move from one location to the next, indulging in spa treatments, shopping specials, food, drinks and more. Participants receive a passport punch card, with the goal of visiting all businesses and receiving a punch at each one. Downtown Highwood, 17 Highwood Ave.
Antioch Taste of Summer, July 17-20
The popular festival returns for its 24th incarnation with offerings of local food, sidewalk sales, entertainment and carnival attractions. The sidewalk sale is city-wide. No public parking is offered. Attendees are encouraged to find parking throughout the town and walk to the festival downtown.
The Big Greek Food Festival of Niles, July 18-20
A three-day festival of all things Greek. Food options include souvlaki, Athenian chicken, homemade pastitso, mousaka, tyropita and spanakopita, as well as pastries and much more. Professional dance groups are scheduled to perform and there is a special kids section with a magic show, face painting, games and more. $2 adults, $1 seniors, free for children under 12. Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 7373 N. Caldwell Ave., Niles.
Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, July 19-20
Find visual art from more than 100 countries as well as live music, dance, craft activities and worldly cuisine. Free. Centennial Park, 1821 Sheridan Road.
First Church of the Nazarene’s Block Party, 10 a.m. July 19
Celebration the community with a special event that includes inflatables, games, free food and music. Families are invited inside to one of the four awards ceremonies for the summer recreation leagues. First Church of Nazarene, 12725 Bell Road, Lemont.
Let Loose on Lincoln Block Party, 2 p.m. July 19
Join the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber for an evening of food, music and libations. Dick Holliday and the Bamboo Gang play a concert and food trucks are on hand. Free. Station Park, 754 Elm St., Winnetka.
Naperville Ale Fest, 1 p.m. July 19
The Naperville Ale Fest showcases more than 200 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. The fest features live music and food from some of Naperville’s favorite restaurants. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society. $45; $15 for designated drivers. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville.
Rotary GroveFest, July 19-22
The Rotary Club of Downers Grove hosts this festival with a midway and carnival, a showcase of local music, a festival of cars, a craft show and a food and business expo. Check the website or call for event times. $5 for a wristband. Fishel Park, 1036 Grove St., Downers Grove.
10th Annual Wiffle Fest, 8 a.m. July 19
Choose from either the Fast Pitch or Recreational divisions, along with a team of three to five players. The contest will be in round robin format, leading to single elimination. Players who register in advance receive lunch, T-shirt and HFPD discounts. The winning teams win special prizes. $125.
Van’s Warped Tour, 11 a.m. July 19
Visit the event website for the full line-up.
16th Annual Caribbean Block Party, noon July 20
Live music plays on two different stages while attendees browse a selection of Caribbean food. The event also features a car show. Oak Park Avenue is blocked off from 171st St. to Hickory St.
Festa Italiana, 11:30 a.m. July 20
The event begins with a traditional religious procession from St. Mary Cemetery, followed by Ecumenical religious service explanation of the “Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel” at noon and Italian food, drinks, dancing and activities for kids until 4 p.m. $6; $2 for children. Downtown Mokena, Mokena St. to Wolf Road.
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, 1 p.m. July 20
A wide variety of hard rock and metal bands play. Check the website for acts and times.
Seventh Annual National Hot Dog Day Picnic, 11 a.m. July 23
Enjoy 50-cent hot dogs along with live music by The Sag Valley Boys. Meal deals include a hot dog, chips and a drink. Richard D. Irwin Park & Marie Irwin Community Center, 18120 S. Highland Ave., Homewood.
Lincolnwood Fest 2014, July 24-27
Four days of music, carnival rides, food and more. Be sure to check out the car show and business expo on Sunday. Visit the website more the complete schedule and to purchase tickets. $25 per day; $60 four day pass. Proesel Park, 6900 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincolnwood.
Street Dance, 11 a.m. July 25
Join the community to celebrate the summer tradition the includes a car show, children’s entertainment, inflatables, a variety of food, two bands, a beer garden and more. Free. Downtown Franklin Park, Scott Street and Grand Avenue.
Irish Fest, July 25-26
Celebrate the 15th annual Irish Fest, which features two days of Irish dancing, heritage, fun and food. All proceeds from this festival go towards the Historical Museum and its programs. Arlington Heights Historical Museum, 110 W. Fremont St., Arlington Heights.
Physical Festival, July 25-Aug. 2
Physical is a nine-day festival celebrating contemporary physical theater. Offering a series of films, performances and workshops, “Physical” intends to bring Chicago-based performers and audiences together with physical theater practitioners from across the United States and create a platform for national and Chicago based performers to build their relationships with Chicago’s audiences. $35 pass; $12 adults; $10 students. Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago.
Rockin’ the Blocks, July 25-26
Join the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce for the two-day event with food, live entertainment, beer garden and family activities. The event is 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Palatine, 50 N. Brockway.
Chicago Heights Community Musical Festival, 1 p.m. July 26
The annual musical festival highlights local singers, choirs, groups and soloists. The event includes food, games and fellowship. Free. Sesto Park, Beacon Boulevard and Western Avenue, Chicago Heights.
Hot Diggity Dog Day, 10 a.m. July 26
Bring your dog for games, paw readings, geocaching, agility shows, K-9 demos and more. Join the dog parade that starts at 1:30 p.m. to the renovated Mayslake off-leash dog area for its grand re-opening. Free. Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook.
2014 Buddy Challenge & 5K Run/Walk, 9 a.m. July 27
This one-of-a-kind competition is based on the U.S. Army Major General Jimmie J. Wells Challenge, consisting of 100 upper body and 100 core exercises, with plenty of running in between. Participants are buddied up and put to the test doing push ups, calisthenics, the fireman carry, buddy drag, piggyback carry and more over a 5K course. $30. The Bent Fork, 333 Waukegan Ave., Highwood.
Bloody Mary Fest, 10 a.m. July 27
Festival-goers can sample a selection of the ever-popular Bloody Mary. Vendors from all over bring their best recipes to share and compete for the title of “Best Bloody Mary in the Midwest.” Mixologists from leading bars and restaurants have the chance to share their unique recipes with the public while competing to create the best bloody. Everts Park, 130 Highwood Ave., Highwood.
DuPage Township Family Fun Fest, noon July 27
The festival features a concert and a kid’s summer Olympics with events such as a tug-of-war, water balloon toss and potato sack race. Registration is required for the Olympics. Adult beverages are available for purchase. The concert has limited seating and guests should bring their own lawn chairs. Free. DuPage Township Offices, 241 Canterbury Lane, Bolingbrook.Tags: Events, Guide