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Guide to Spring Festivals in Lake County 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring is here.

It’s time to toss your galoshes and winter coats, and celebrate the finest box socials Illinois has to offer.

Spring festivals in Lake County feature the most delectable eats, eclectic live music,  radiant works of art and of course, libations.

Presenting… Ravinia’s 2018 Season! 🎶

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That lying groundhog told us that it would be six more weeks of winter, not 12!

Whether or not we base our meteorology off of a ground-dwelling mammal that can locate his or her shadow and predict the weather is moot now.

Experience the fanfare of our warming season as we provide you with the guide to spring festivals in Lake County.

April Spring Festivals in Lake County

Annual Fear No Art Fest at the James Lumber Center (April 27-28)


Every year the James Lumber Center gives us a slew of eye-opening performances from the Fear No Art Festival. This year is no different as the Grayslake Art Festival reaches its 19th year at the College of Lake County. This lively festival features a variety of artists performing music, dance and poetry. Also, there will be a stunning display of other art mediums including paintings, photography and sculptures by CLC students and community artists.

Italian Fest at Viking Park Dance Hall (April 27)

Eats, songs and the Italian experience: what could be better? The Viking Park Dance Hall event features a performance by the Viking Park Singers and delicious pasta dinner. Enjoy this family-friendly affair with serenades and spaghetti.

Long Grove Craft Beer Fest (April 28)


Our hop and barley-loving friends over the age of 21 will not want to miss yet another craft festival, this time at the Long Grove Craft Beer Festival. (We’re pretty spoiled here, you know.) This sudsy event’s ticket includes a commemorative glass and unlimited three-ounce samples. Lake County Libation Trail participants for the fest include Buffalo Creek Brewing, Half Day Brewing Co., Side Lot Brewery and Tighthead Brewery. The beer sipping affair also features live tunes from Jake Mack and the Lesser Stags and the Bellwether Blues.  Don’t forget to peruse the niche stores of beautiful Historic Downtown Long Grove.

May Spring Festivals in Lake County

First Fridays (May 4 & June 1)

MainStreet Libertyville invites one and all to their monthly celebration of First Fridays on Milwaukee Avenue. 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.

Cinco De Mayo in Lake County (May 5-7)

There is a misconception. Many people believe that Cinco De Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day, which in fact it actually falls on September 16 –  also known as Grito de Dolores. Cinco de Mayo is the day observed when the Mexican Army pulled an underdog victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. So as you can imagine, between the American Civil War and this French invasion, there was a ridiculous amount of wars in the Western hemisphere. Let’s take a look at all of the celebrations Lake County has to offer for Mexico’s most important holiday.

Antioch 885 Civic Club Carnival

When spring arrives in Lake County, so does the annual Antioch Civic Club Spring Carnival. This affair is a nostalgic and old-fashioned event where all of our favorite foods and rides are at our disposal. Unlimited daily wristbands are available for all of the thrilling festivities for $25 in this downtown Antioch party. The carnival is held in the municipal lot located off Toft Avenue.

Lake Zurich Craft Beer Festival (May 11-12)


Treat mom out to the two-day brew third annual Lake Zurich Craft Beer Fest in Paulus Park. Attendees will be able to sample more than 40-craft beers by prestigious local and regional breweries. The fest also features live music and plenty of eats for purchase. The band line up includes JT James ACoustic and 97Nine on Friday and Erik Donner and Gina Gonzalez and the Wingmen on Saturday. All attendees will receive a souvenir three-ounce tasting glass. This is a 21 and older event.

Extreme Block Party Expo & Taste of the Towns at DoubleTree Mundelein (May 19)

Take the family out for a day of fun as DoubleTree Mundelein hosts the eighth annual Multi-Chamber Extreme Block Party Family Expo & Taste. This event will feature 100-plus local vendors, live entertainment, raffle prizes, a live reptile show featuring Dave DiNaso, face painting, food samples from local eateries and so much more. This festive event is for all ages and free of admission.

Long Grove Chocolate Fest (May 18-20)


Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate. The annual Long Grove Chocolate Festival kicks off this weekend as we celebrate the slow change to spring. Be in a chocolate lover’s paradise as Long Grove Confectionery will be in attendance as well as a plethora of other vendors, live entertainment and of course your chocolatey vices. Fan favorite bands include Mellencougar, Boy Band Review, 16 Candles, Run Forrest Run, 7th Heaven and more.

StarWauk (May 19)


The City of Waukegan is altering the ArtWauk; pray they don’t alter it any further. It’s not a trap because this edition of the Waukegan artsy celebration is transforming to StarWauk. This inaugural festival of the Star Wars saga and science-fiction genre during the monthly ArtWauk features free live entertainment, art exhibits, unique shops, costume contests, delicious eats and more. Have fun, you will.

Community Farmers Markets Open (Beginning May 10)

Got peaches? We do!

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Shopping for produce at a farmers market is not only a great way to support Lake County, but it’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy the beautiful summer weather with the family. Lake County farmers markets offer locally-grown produce, prepared eats, spices, meats, pastries, bread and so much more. Many begin in June and July, but here are a few that begin in May. Click the button below for a full list.

June Spring Festivals in Lake County

Ravinia Festival (Beginning June 1)

Summer’s marquee event is Ravinia in Highland Park. This festival is the oldest outdoor music event in North America. The Highland Park event has hosted everyone from Tony Bennett to Luciano to Miles Davis to B.B. King to Lauryn Hill to Dolly Parton to Bob Dylan and a host of other unbelievable acts. Ravinia also connects thousands of children in Lake County and the Chicagoland area with professional musicians to work as mentors. You also have the opportunity to see some of these child prodigies perform live. When you visit Ravinia, don’t forget your wine, picnic basket, blankets and lawn chairs so you can thoroughly enjoy a warm summer night in Highland Park with wonderful tunes. It’s conveniently located off of the Metra. Here is who’s performing in June:

Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Fest (June 2)


For nearly two decades, Waukegan has celebrated a festival named for the
mastermind behind Fahrenheit 451 and Martian Chronicles. The 16th annual Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival features art, music, dance and the Drum Circle, “As Waukegan Grows.” Come enjoy this Bowen Park Festival sponsored by the city of Waukegan and the Waukegan Park District.

 

Grayslake Craft Beer Festival (June 2)

Thirsty for an ice cold brew? Downtown Grayslake hosts the sixth Grayslake Craft Beer Festival featuring over 60 brewers handing out cold ones, eats, live music and more. Don’t miss this wide variety of tasty suds Saturday afternoon.

Mundelein Craft Beer Festival (June 9)


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.

Zion’s Nostalgia Days (June 15-16)

Are you craving some memories? Watch your past come back to life as Zion hosts Nostalgia Days at Shiloh Park. Enjoy live music, Lake County’s largest longest running car, truck & motorcycle show, outdoor movies, a carnival, laser tag, scrumptious eats and so much more.

ArtWauk (June 16)

Fill your artistic void with the ever-extravagant monthly ArtWauk in Downtown Waukegan. Enjoy a plethora of talented individuals showcasing their work in many different art mediums. In addition to the portraits, sculptures and other artistic vibes, munch on some delicious dining options downtown or feel the flow of the tunes from the live entertainment at this free event occurring every third Saturday of the month.

Libertyville Days Festival (June 14-17)


It’s the party of the year in Libertyville! For four 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, car show, live entertainment and so much more. Some of the live bands performing include Ivy Ford, Petty Kings, Modern Day Romeos, Betty Soul and more.

Antioch’s Summer Arts & Crafts Faire and Antioch’s Wizards Weekend (June 16-17)

This newly designed Antioch Summer Arts and Crafts Faire will feature artisans from around the country. Over 140 brilliant maestros will display their unique works of art. There will also be plenty of children’s activities including face painting, balloon art and more!

Is wizard chess your game or is it Quidditch? This magical weekend running alongside with Antioch’s Summer Arts & Craft Faire provides a slew of enchanting activities including costume contests, games, a scavenger hunt and other Harry Potter-themed happenings. Wizards and muggles of all ages will enjoy this free admission event! The Antioch Chamber urges attendees to dress as the character that most closely relates to you. Some of the events hosted in the downtown Antioch festival require advance registration.

Key West Fest at Blarney Island (June 21-24)


Don’t have the time to make it out to the Sunshine State this year? No worries. Blarney Island is bringing Key West to the Midwest for an entire weekend of festivities. Enjoy a weekend of good times, drinks, eats and a live performance lineup that includes John Solinski, Pirates over 40 and Tropixplosion.

For more spring festivals in Lake County and other events, continue here.

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