“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile,” said by poet William Cullen Bryant.
From the beautiful foliage on the trees in Lake County Forest Preserves, to the spooks and spirits to Oktoberfests to pumpkin patches, to Halloween and watching football at the sports bars, Lake County is the place to be during fall.
The weather is comfortable, and we get to celebrate the season’s changes with Lake County’s fall festivals.
As much as we love the summer, we must wave farewell for now. This is your Lake County fall festival guide 2017.
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.
Fridays, September 1, October 6 and November 3; 6-9 p.m. Downtown Libertyville, Route 21, Libertyville.
Even if you don’t own a DeLorean, you can take a trip back to the past to experience the 16th-century Elizabethan era located just over the Wisconsin border. The renowned Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha features sword fighters, maidens, minstrels and jesters. There are many photo opportunities like having the chance to meet and greet with legendary celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth and Robin Hood. The Faire also offers games, rides, arts & crafts, eats, live music and one-of-a-kind encounters with a spectacular cast of characters. This is the final weekend of the summer-long event.
Friday-Monday, September 1-4; 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Bristol Renaissance Faire, 12550 120th Ave., Kenosha.
Lake County’s summer marquee event is Ravinia Festival and it comes to a close in September. This festival is the oldest outdoor music event in North America. The Highland Park concert series 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 your experience in Highland Park complemented by excellent tunes. These are the final shows of another glorious Ravinia Festival:
- Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight (September 1)
- UB40 (September 2)
- Aretha Franklin (September 3)
- Laurie Berkner (September 4)
- Bryan Wallick plays Brahms and Liszt (September 5)
- Concert Dance Inc. (September 7-8)
- Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons (September 8)
- Stevie Nicks (September 9-10)
- Smokey Robinson (September 15)
- Love the 90’s: The Party Continues featuring TLC, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, Biz Markie, All-4-One, O-Town and Snap! (September 16)
- The Performers School presents ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (September 16-17)
- Los Tigres del Norte and Natalia Jimenez (September 17)
September 1-September 17. Ravinia Festival, 200 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park.
All Labor Day weekend, Zion throws their Annual Jubilee Days Festival. The festivities kick off with the annual 5K run Saturday morning, and the fun continues until Monday night. This event includes a Miss Zion pageant, ice cream social, arts & crafts festival, live music, delectable eats, the Mayors Breakfast, the largest Labor Day parade in Lake County – the Jubilee Parade and fireworks.
Saturday-Monday, September 2-4; Sat 8 a.m., Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Mon 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Shiloh Park, 25th Street and Emmaus Avenue, Zion.
Ready to celebrate Long Grove’s Irish Days, American style? Join Long Grove as they celebrate heritage by featuring authentic Irish cuisine, traditional Irish brews, live entertainment that features musicians and dancers, a best-dressed dog competition, kiddie festivities and more. Everyone loves St. Paddy’s Day in September.
Saturday-Monday, September 2-4. Historic Downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove.
Are you ready to fight for your right to party? Lake Zurich hosts their Fifth Annual Rock the Block Party between Church Street and Old Rand Road. Enjoy the live music, the adult beverages and delicious dishes from the food trucks. The kids will be immersed in the giant slide, face painting and balloon art. Admission is free but the donations of three unopened, non-perishable food products encouraged. Donors will receive a raffle ticket. Drinking wristbands are available for $1 for individuals 21 and over. The block party features live music from Rockstar Radio, Boy Band Review and 7th Heaven.
Saturday, September 9; 5-11 p.m. Downtown Lake Zurich, East Main Street, Lake Zurich.
The weekend long juried event will showcase the talents of exceptional artists and craftspeople in a variety of media. Student artwork from Mundelein and Carmel Catholic High Schools will also be highlighted. Bring the family! Come share a magical day in the park enjoying original artwork, live music and a tasty assortment of food from local eateries.
Saturday-Sunday, September 9-10; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Kracklauer Park, 100 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein.
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.
Saturdays, September 16 & November 18. Downtown Waukegan, Genesee Street, Waukegan.
Searching for a suds-filled Saturday? Gurnee’s Third Annual Legions of Craft Beer Festival will cure what “ales” you. A plethora of over 50+ beer vendors will be featured at this event. The Gurnee Mills event also features live entertainment and food trucks. The Gurnee fest offers a shuttle service from the Metra train stations in Libertyville and Waukegan.
Saturday, September 16; 2-7 p.m. Gurnee Mills Parking Lot E (by Bass Pro Shops), 6170 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee.
The thrills and chills are at Six Flags Great America as the legendary Fright Fest makes its return to the Gurnee Amusement Park. Fright Fest presented by Snickers is when the park is totally transformed for six weeks in ghoulish fashion featuring live shows, street entertainment, haunted houses and of course riding the all of the 15 roller coasters and thrill rides at night. As Halloween approaches, the kids can embark on a unique trick-or-treat trail. Fright Fest is open on weekends until October 31.
Weekends from September 16-Halloween. Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee.
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.
Friday-Sunday, September 22-24; Fri 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Historic Downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove.
Mark Your Calendars to Join Us for the Lake County Farm Heritage Association Farm Heritage & Harvest Festival the 4th Weekend in September! Stay Tuned to Our Facebook Page & Website for More Details Coming Soon!!! www.lcfair.com #lcfair #lcfairil #letsgolakecounty #fall #harvest #harvestfest #fallfest #farm #lakecountyfair #lakecounty #grayslake #chicago #illinois #wisconsin
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.
Saturday-Sunday, September 23-24. Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake.
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.
September 23-October 31; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Didier Farms, Aptakisic Rd., Prairie View.
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.
Saturday, September 23; 3-10 p.m. Vernon Hills Metra Station, 75 Route 45, Vernon Hills.
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. Bring a memento home with you as the Downtown Antioch event provides visitors with a commemorative wine glass and a complimentary bottle of wine.
Saturday, September 30; noon-4:30 p.m. Downtown Antioch, Main Street, Antioch.
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.
Friday-Sunday, October 6-8; Fri 4-10 p.m. Sat 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Highwood Metra Station, 317 Green Bay Rd., Highwood.
Antioch’s Fall Arts & Crafts Faire with Monster Bash, Treat the Streets and Weiner Races (October 21-22)
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!
Saturday-Sunday, October 21-22; Sat 10-4, Sun 10-3. Downtown Antioch, Antioch Bandshell, Antioch.
ZombieWauk in Waukegan MainStreet (October 21)
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.
Saturday, October 21. Downtown Waukegan, Genesee Street, Waukegan.
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 story teller, craft vendors, food and refreshments.
Sunday, October 22; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wildlife Discovery Center, 1401 Middlefork Dr., Lake Forest.
This spooky, four-day fest features a Halloween carnival, costume contests, a pumpkin totem pole contest and so much more.
Thursday-Sunday, October 26-29. William E. Brook Entertainment Center, 902 Skidmore Dr., Antioch.
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.
Saturday, October 28; noon-4 p.m. Downtown Antioch, 884 Main St., Antioch.
Olde England comes alive in Historic Downtown Antioch with lifelike figures representing scenes from the Dickens Era. Experience this public art exhibit while strolling among the charming streets of Antioch. Enjoy the charm of Dickens from the many boutiques, gift shops and eateries. Also, enjoy special Saturday Dickens activities.
November 4-December 25. Downtown Antioch, Lake Street and Main Street, Antioch.
Other Fall Festivals in Lake County
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- MuckFest MS – Chicago at the Lake County Fairgrounds (September 16)
- Savor Libertyville: A Chef Fest at David Adler Music and Arts Center (September 30)
- Fall Bulb Fest at Chicago Botanic Garden (October 6-8)
- Harbor-Que Festival KCBS State Championship BBQ Competition (October 6-8)
- Long Grove Craft Beer Fest (October 7)
- Grandwood Park’s Oktoberfest (October 7)
- Oktoberfest in Lake Villa (October 7)
- Island Lake’s Fall Festival (October 7)
- Epic Fall Fest at Wilmot Mountain (October 8)
- Zion’s Fall Festival (October 14)
- Long Grove’s Scarecrow Day (October 14)
- Libertyville’s Pumpkin Fest (October 14)
- Lindenhurst Park District’s Haunted Trail & Bonfire (October 14)
- 10th Annual Pumpkin Fest – Grayslake (October 19)
- Zion Park District’s Halloween Fest (October 27)
- Lincolnshire’s Annual Boo Bash (October 27)
- Mundelein’s Boo Bash (October 28)
- Fall Fest & Trick or Treat at the Deer Park Town Center (October 28)
- Halloween Fest at Libertyville Sports Complex (October 30)
- Santa’s Arrival & Fireworks Extravaganza at Deer Park Town Center (November 10)
- Last Call Fall Festival at Six Flags Great America (November 5-6, 11-12, 18-19)
For other fall festivals in Lake County, Click Here.