One of the best things about the summer farewell is fall festivals in Lake County. Pumpkin spice anyone?
Embark on the scenic vibrancy of autumn’s glows first hand while heading to an Oktoberfest, getting the living daylights scared out of you, picking out enormous orange fruits or just getting lost in a maze of maize.
Taste this fall’s harvest, breathe in the autumn feels and get to a fall festival in Lake County!
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Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest presented by SNICKERS® has returned. Crypts, ghouls, zombies and everything else Halloween takes over the Gurnee amusement park on select days from September 15-October 31. The transformation of Six Flags Great America features plenty of exciting thrills and chills including scare zones, live entertainment, haunted attractions and of course the coasters and rides that we love all-year round.
Ready to compare apples to apples? These succulent red and green treats are celebrated and placed in our pies, salads and doused in caramel (our personal favorites). The Long Grove Apple Fest also features other apple-inspired treats, live entertainment and family fun at beautiful, quaint Historic Downtown Long Grove. The annual fest was ranked no. 18 on Thrillist’s Illinois Cities Food & Drink list.
Deerfield’s Harvest Festival is a splendid autumn party for the entire family. The event features a farmers market, kids activities like touch-a-truck, face painting and more, the annual bags tournament (online preregistration required), live tunes from local band Not for profit and delectable eats from City Barbeque and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
Visit Vernon Hills as the festival features family fun for all. Attendees will enjoy arts & crafts, pumpkin painting, live entertainment, a petting zoo, raffles, inflatable activities and so much more, while adults can enjoy the seductive suds and gourmet food from a variety of vendors. Brats, burgers, hot dogs, taffy apples and delectable bites are available for purchase from a local not-for-profit organization.
Harvest Fest Presents: Farm Heritage Days & Oktoberfest at Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center (Sept. 22-23)
The Grayslake two-day event features Farm Heritage Tractors and displays, live entertainment, live animals, kid activities, sheep herding, a pumpkin carving demo, a beer garden for adults, delicious eats, fall plants & decor sale, an auction, tractor pulls and so much more.
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You haven’t lived unless you’ve been to Didier Farms Pumpkin Fest. The farm favorite features hayrides, pony rides, camel rides, kiddie rides, an exotic petting zoo, a parakeet exhibit, a corn maze and pig races (only on the weekend). A new addition to this event now features Buffalo Creek Mining Co. The Lincolnshire farm’s doors are open till Halloween night. Don’t forget to visit Grandma D’s Bake Shop for scrumptious pies, cookies, fudge, homemade apple cider, kettle corn and pumpkin donuts.
Lambs Farm Fall on the Farm is an excellent adventure for the entire family. The event features fall-themed crafts and activities, a pumpkin paint, sand art, face painting, cookie decorating, a bounce house and more. To complement the event the Lake County Farm Heritage Association will be hosting barrel train rides and touch-a-tractor at the Libertyville farm.
Stroll the quaint streets of downtown Antioch, stopping at unique boutiques and stores. Along the way, you can taste samples from 45 different wines and delicious dining options at each venue at the Antioch Fall Wine Walk. Bring a memento home with you as the Downtown Antioch event provides visitors with a commemorative wine glass and a complimentary bottle of wine. Purchase your tickets soon; the event sells out fast.
Voila! Behold a vintner’s vivid vino vision! The harvest festivities include a berry dance as visitors stomp on grapes, wine discounts, a gift basket raffle, live music, delectable eats and more.
MainStreet Libertyville invites one and all to their monthly celebration of First Fridays on MainStreet. A variety of fantastic drinks, mouth-watering eats and live entertainment surrounds the event as you peruse the Lake County local mom and pop stores offering promotional sales. Be there or be square! The Friday celebration is a free admission event.
This festival has pumpkins stacked to the sky. Get into the spirit with your friend Jack while holding a lantern and journey to Highwood for the Great Pumpkin Festival. Once again, the festival will be jam-packed with daily events, a variety of food and drink vendors, a carnival, live tunes, hay rides, pony rides, pumpkin carving, massive pumpkin displays, nightly pumpkin lightings, a parade, Superhero 5K/10K and so much more. Live performances include Mr. Blotto, Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners, 7th Heaven, Saturday June Band and many more.
Sip, cider, wine and/or brews while live entertainment resonates through the sound waves at Chicago Botanic Garden’s Fall Bulb Fest. The Glencoe party will sell gourmet eats and crafts. The youngsters can navigate through the straw bale maze, witness an amazing gourd display and drop in for a family arts and craft session.
Stop! It’s pumpkin time! This Grayslake Park District orange fruit holiday features games, a costume contest, a giant slide, hay rides, moonwalks and more. Preregistration is $8, while the walk-in/day of event admission is $13.
What’s all the hoopla in Deerfield? This pre-Halloween social at Jewett Park Community Center features inflatable rides, lucrative giveaways, a zombie apocalypse trail game, a pumpkin patch, carnival games, a haywagon trip, live entertainment and so much more.
Lincolnshire will make families have a scary good time. This ghostly event features a costume parade, a pumpkin bounce house,, a haunted trail/house, food trucks and more.
Find numerous treasures from some of the country’s finest artisans. The faire features over 85 booths with a beautiful array of arts and crafts, activities for children and delicious fare. Attendees can take home beautiful seasonal crafts for the upcoming holidays. Halloween lovers will enjoy the monster bash while the kids can fill their sweet tooth void during the treat the streets portion. You don’t want to miss the exciting wiener dog races!
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Every third Saturday of the year, you get a touch of culture with the different mediums you see from ArtWauk. However, downtown Waukegan is transformed into Halloween town as ArtWauk runs alongside their Annual ZombieWauk. The event will feature live entertainment, suds and eats vendors, face painters and flesh-eating abominations clutter the streets as they attempt to hunt you down. Beware of the walking dead.
CROCtoberfest at the Wildlife Discovery Center is a fun-filled event for all ages in a safe environment to meet live crocodiles. Jim Nesci, Illinois’s lone licensed gator owner, is in attendance and brings Bubba, the world-famous American Alligator. The expert staff and members of the Chicago Herpetological Society and the Madison Area Herpetological Society will speak on crocodiles and other cold-blooded critters. The event also features kid-friendly activities, face painting, a storyteller, craft vendors, food and refreshments.
Sample beer and BBQ while enjoying Antioch’s quaint Downtown. Besides indulging on the tastes of mouth-watering suds and fare, attendees also receive a keepsake beer mug, a coupon for a complimentary six-pack of beer and a bag to carry any extra munchies. The Antioch Chamber of Commerce also holds a raffle.
Twas the week after Halloween, and all through Antioch. Adults had dreams of bubbly and confections dancing in their heads. Admission to this event includes a keepsake champagne flue, a coupon for a complimentary bottle of champagne a bag for chocolate delights and the opportunity to win a raffle drawing of Antioch Chamber Gift Certificates.
Other Fall Celebrations
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Autumn Fest at Heller Nature Center (Sept. 21), Roaring Table’s One-Year Anniversary (Sept.22), Harbor-Que Festival/KCBS State Championship BBQ Competition (Oct. 5-8), Half Day Brewing Oktoberfest (Oct. 6), Epic Fall Fest at Wilmot Mountain (Oct. 13), Zion Fall Fest (TBH), Long Grove Scarecrow Day (Oct. 13), Mundelein Boo Bash, Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns at Chicago Bo.
For more fall festivals in Lake County, continue here.