Top 10 Things To Do in September 2021 in Lake County

“But now in September, the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head … The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.” – said author Robert Finch.

This installment of the top 10 things to do in September is a brief hello to the upcoming autumn season. Fall doesn’t technically start until September 22, but Lake County is the place to be when the season begins.

There’s never really a top 10 things to do in September in Lake County 2021 because there are hundreds of happenings in the land of lakes during our cooling time of year.

Take advantage and celebrate as much as you can in this transition period where the weather is virtually perfect in Lake County (except for people with severe allergies that include yours truly).

From Labor Day weekend to Ravinia, from fall fests to flyboys (and fly girls), from the world’s largest corn maze to pumpkin fests, from cinema watching to Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest by Snickers, your weekend digest is here in Lake County, IL.

1. Ravinia Festival in Highland Park (September 3-24)


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Ravinia Festival, the eldest outdoor festival in the United States, kicks off its season with an all-star cast. The showcase is a staple of Lake County. Since 1905, the Highland Park fest has featured the top musicians in a variety of genres. Here’s the schedule for the final month of the century-old staple.

  • Lady A: What a Song Can Do Tour (9/3) INFO»
  • The Roots (9/4) INFO»
  • John Legend and The War and Treaty (9/56)
  • Lara Downes “Rising Sun: Migration and Renaissance” (9/7) INFO»
  • Chicago Sinfonietta: “Water Music Suite” (9/8) INFO»
  • NEXUS Chamber Music (9/9) INFO»
  • Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco (9/10) INFO»
  • Black Violin and the Blind Boys of Alabam (9/11) INFO»
  • Ana Bárbara and Las Cafeteras: Fiesta Ravinia – Celebration of Mexican Culture (9/12) INFO»
  • Miro Quartet (9/14) INFO»
  • Joffrey Ballet (9/17) INFO»
  • Ben Folds (9/18) INFO»
  • Max Weinberg’s Jukebox (9/19) INFO»
  • Lincoln Trio (9/21) INFO»
  • Frank Orrall (DJ Set) 9/23) INFO»
  • Andrew Bird (9/24) INFO»
  • Ms. Lauryn Hill (9/25) INFO»

2. September Festivals in Lake County (All Monthlong)


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A little bit of summer fun and a little bit of autumn chill. There’s a fantastic collection of festivals going on this September. Stay tuned to the Fall Festivals Guide coming soon.

  • Ravinia Festival (9/3-24) INFO»
  • Long Grove Irish Days (9/4-6) INFO»
  • Bitter Jester Music Festival (9/5) INFO»
  • Red, White & Blue Dock Party (through 9/6) INFO»
  • Bristol Renaissance Faire (through 9/6) INFO»
  • First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (9/3) INFO»
  • Puktoberfest/Brunchtoberfest at Light the Lamp Brewery (9/4) INFO»
  • Second Anniversary Party at Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing (9/11) INFO»
  • Rock the Block in Lake Zurich (9/11) INFO»
  • Mundelein Arts Festival (9/11-12) INFO»
  • Grayslake Craft Beer Festival (9/18) INFO»
  • ArtWauk in Waukegan (9/18) INFO»
  • Hawthorn Mall 2.0 Fall Kickoff (9/18) INFO»
  • Deerfield’s Harvest Fest (9/18-19) INFO»
  • 60th Anniversary on the Farm at Lambs Farm (9/18-19) INFO»
  • Didier Farms Pumpkinfest (9/18-10/31) INFO»
  • Fright Fest Presented by Snickers at Six Flags Great America (9/18-10/31) INFO»
  • Long Grove Apple Fest (9/24-26) INFO»
  • Let’s Vino in the ‘Ville Wine Walk in Libertyville (9/25) INFO»
  • Hoptoberfest at Tighthead Brewing Co. (9/25) INFO»
  • Oktoberfest at Black Lung Brewing Co. (9/25) INFO»

3. #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest (September 7-October 31)

Alright, Mr. or Mrs. Shutterbug, the land of lakes is ready for its close-up. Visit Lake County invites you to submit your phenomenal pictures in the #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest. There is an abundance of beautiful, scenic, historical, adventurous, heritage, character and just downright “#InstaGood” shots of Lake County. Visit Lake County would like to showcase where you live, work, eat, play or shop by sharing your best pictures of the county. VLC will accept submissions for five categories: Outdoors, Family/People, Events, Dining/Libations and Other Travel Culture. There will be a grand prize winner, as well as five other category winners. Individuals may submit up to five photos. The #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest winners will win an exclusive prize and photo credit in future tourism marketing materials. The contest will reveal winners in multiple categories. Participants can submit entries through October 31 at

4. Northern Illinois Air Show: Wings Over Waukegan (September 11)


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Viewers will witness an unbelievable flight performance by the world-renowned aerobatic pilots at the Waukegan Regional Airport. The Northern Illinois Airshow: Wings Over Waukegan features vintage military crafts like the F-86 Sabre, delicious eats, tasty drinks, photo-ops with the brave pilots and more. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture the best snapshots and get there early to find the most optimal seating. The gates open at 9:30 a.m. As these captains of flight have said in the past and what pilots will exclaim in the future, “Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win.”


5. Richardson Adventure Farm Corn Maze in Spring Grove (September 11-November 7 and Didier Farms Pumpkinfest in Lincolnshire Open (September 18-October 31)


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So why does Fall Farm Fun in Lake County seem so inviting? Well, maybe it’s because it’s the mellow time of year, and nature is exploding with colors perfect for scenic shots and pumpkins! So, where can you find fall fun in Lake County? There are many different farms in the area that have brain-teasing corn mazes, petting zoos, homemade cider, pumpkins, gourds, squash, hayrides, zip lines and the list goes on and on. So visit a farm for fall fun in Lake County to discover, meditate, learn and play! Here are a few of the land of lakes spots you can sing E-I-E-I-O at.

  • Richardson Adventure Farm and Corn Maze in Spring Grove (open through 11/7) INFO»
  • Didier Farms in Lincolnshire (Open Through 10/31) INFO»

6. The World Goes Round at Marriott Theatre (September 15-November 7)

Kander and Ebb are the music genius tandem wrote an array of show tunes for “Cabaret,” “Funny Lady,” “New York, New York,” “Chicago” and many more, including, of course, “And the World Goes ‘Round.’” The two gentlemen have shelved numerous Tony Awards. This production showcases a revue of the two taking the musical’s title from a song they wrote for Liza Minnelli in “New York, New York.”

7. Spooks & Spirits Autumn Celebration in Lake County (September 17-October 31)

Experience a “Boo”tiful weekend in Lake County during the annual Spooks and Spirits Autumn Celebration. There’s something for everyone: fall festivals,  costume parades, haunted houses, corn mazes and pumpkin patches, “supernatural” attractions and more. Don’t miss the land of lakes’ scary-good, locally-made brews, wines, and spirits for the adults.

8. Hawthorn 2.0 Fall Kick-Off in Vernon Hills (September 18)


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A lot of new construction is happening around Hawthorn Mall. Visit the Lake County mall as they celebrate the fall kickoff to the Hawthorn 2.0 redevelopment. The Vernon Hills event is highlighted by live music, food trucks like Flying Hawaiian, Lucky Burger, Mamma Mia Pizza and Stan’s Donuts, a kids-zone and more. The first 100 visitors will receive a free Hawthorn swag bag. The event is free, but Hawthorn Mall encourages guests to register ahead of time. Feel free to peruse all of the phenomenal stores at the mall while you’re there.

9. Lambs Farm’s 60th Anniversary in the Libertyville Area (September 18-19)


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The Libertyville farm celebrates its sixth-decade born day this year. On this milestone occasion, Lambs Farm will feature barrel train rides provided by the Lake County Farm Heritage Association, carts and games like painting Joseph the Camel (the most recognizable face at the yard), a bounce house, fare and libation tent, raffles, tractors, a live performance by a DJ and The Rockets (60s tribute band), shopping opportunities and so much more. Let’s not forget the cute puppies and kittens up for adoption. Lambs Farm Industries in Libertyville is a business that offers benefit programs for people with developmental disabilities.

10. Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee (September 18-October 31)

The thrills and chills are at Six Flags Great America as the legendary Fright Fest returns to the Gurnee Amusement Park. Fright Fest presented by SNICKERS is when the park is totally transformed for eight weekends in ghoulish fashion and features live shows, street entertainment, haunted houses and, of course, riding all of the coasters and thrill rides at night. Then, as Halloween approaches, the kids can embark on a unique trick-or-treat trail. Fright Fest is open on weekends until November 3.

For more than these top 10 things to do in September, continue here. Stay tuned for more information about the #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest and Spooks & Spirits: Lake County Autumn Celebration!

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