Winter Festivals in Lake County 2019

Don’t sit waisting your winter with chestnuts roasting by an open fire. When the temperature drops, a winter festival in Lake County will cure your cabin fever.

Just when you thought you had an open day in your schedule, Lake County returns for the win with a ton of festivities celebrating our coldest months of the year.

From exploring a Lake County winter wonderland to playdates with cold-blooded creatures to escaping reality in beautiful snowy murals to hunting underwater dwellers and so many other events, Lake County is the place to indulge in frosty festivities.

Here are your top winter festivals in Lake County 2019.


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It’s an art revolution party in Waukegan, and everyone’s invited. It’s a little bit of art, it’s a little bit of music and plenty of delightful dishes as you walk down Genesee Street at ArtWauk. Local artists will be in attendance at this monthly downtown event displaying their many different art mediums that range from portraits, sculptures, digital, photography, film, comedy and so much more. Hop on and off the fun, free Greentown Trolley when going from gallery to shop to restaurant.

The third Saturday of each month.


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Lincolnshire Skate Night (***NEW DATE***)

Show off your spirals, twizzles and jumps at Lincolnshire Skate Night. Gather the family, grab your skates and head to the North Park Ice Rink. Food Trucks are on hand to serve delicious eats, and the ice rink also will provide winter treats like hot chocolate, s’mores and free coffee. After showcasing your skating skills, escape into the night sky for a magnificent firework display. Free skates are available while supplies last. This is the backup day of the event.

Friday, January 25 Saturday, February 2; 6-9 p.m. North Park, 1025 Riverwoods Rd., Lincolnshire.


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Find some ice & find some fish… #nilsusa #nilsmaster #aquavu #icefishing #frabill #cabelas #kahtoola #humminbird #fishon

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LVVA Annual Fishing Derby (***NEW DATE***)

Bundle up and pack your tackle bait and rod. Join your fellow anglers at the LVVA Annual Fishing Derby in Wauconda. Entry forms can be downloaded to streamline the registration process before arriving. Registration begins at 5 a.m., and the fishing starts at 7 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the fisher with the most abundant northern, bass crappie, bluegill and perch. There will also be side raffles for additional prizes. During the “Star Bangled Banner,” a special flyover by a North American T-6 will make a special flyover appearance. Smitty’s Bait & Tackle will have bait available.

Saturday, January 26 February 9; 7 a.m. Lake View Villa Park Association Beachfront, 803 Edgewater Pkwy., Wauconda.


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Earned the sweets with 11+ miles of running this morning!! @xbassbabex and friends outing to the Long Grove Cocoa Crawl! 1. @morkeschocolates Valentine’s day chocolates – how anatomical of you? 2. @theolivetap balsamic vinegar chocolate cookies – mouthful of flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness 3. @chatterboxoflonggrove amazing chocolate mousse with raspberries – 1 bite wonder 4. @coveredbridgecreamery Dopio with Kitty Kitty Bang Bang filled waffle cone – you need to try this goodness 5. @coveredbridgecreamery Superman in a cup – feeling super! #longgrovecocoacrawl #cocoacrawlhighlights #morkeslonggrove #theolivetaplonggrove #chatterboxoflonggrove #coveredbridgecreamery #chocolateshoppeicecream #11milesforchocolate #chocolateprotein #isarunners #mindsetmilesandmore #runningonnox #fasttrack4ever

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Long Grove Cocoa Crawl

You’ll feel like Charlie in a chocolate factory. Long Grove’s second installment of the cocoa crawl does not disappoint. Visit the cobblestone village for this free family-friendly chocolatey experience as multiple merchants will be serving samples of their cocoa treats. Buffalo Creek Brewing Co is serving their Chocolate Bacon Stout (known as Xerxes), Long Grove Confectionery is sampling their hot chocolate bark, Village Tavern is distributing their Tavern Toffee. There is a slew more divine cocoa treats to taste. Pamper your sweet tooth.

Saturday, February 2; Noon-4 p.m. Free admission. Historic Downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove.

Craft Beer Cocktails 101 at O’Tooles Libertyville

Top of the year to you all! The Libertyville suds haven partnered with a beer ambassador to create four by four deliciousness. For $30, O’Toole’s Libertyville’s head chef provides visitors with four craft beer cocktails and four small bites. Show and tell what you’ve learned at your own hosted party after O’Tooles gives individuals the 411 about cocktail 101.

Wednesday, January 30; 7-9 p.m. Admission: $30. O’Toole’s Libertyville, 412, N. Milwaukee Ave.

Enchanted Princess Ball & Daddy-Daughter Date Night

The two daddy-daughter dances of the year. Daddy-Daughter Date Night is a luau party featuring music, dancing, a photo for the ladies, refreshments, prizes and ice cream sundaes at the Antioch Upper-Grade School. The Enchanted Princess Ball is a night of fun games, dancing, entertainment and refreshments at the Dunbar Rec Center in Mundelein. Dad should get his dancing shoes ready as a trophy for the best juker gets a prize. Both dance dates are on February 2.

Enchanted Princess Ball: Saturday, February 2; 6-8 p.m. Admission: $40-$44 per couple. Dunbar Recreation Center, 888 Dunbar Rd., Mundelein. Daddy-Daughter Date Night: Saturday, February 2; 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission: $12-$15 per person. Antioch Upper Grade School, 800 Highview Dr., Antioch.

Street Scenes: Lost Around the World

Carmel Catholic High School’s Street Scenes celebrates its 45th year in existence. This year’s theme is “Lost Around the World.” The school is transformed into a party town atmosphere with more than 50-live bands, a huge casino, drinks and eats from Lake County restaurants, comedy clubs and the famous student show in the Carmel auditorium. Carmel’s gym is converted into a Las Vegas-style casino with Blackjack, poker, roulette, Wheel of Fortune and other favorite games. Attendees must be 21 and older. February 7 is the student celebration.

Friday-Sunday, February 7-9. Tickets: $10-$49. Caramel Catholic High School, 1 Carmel Pkwy., Mundelein.

Annual Chain O’ Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival

The Antioch event is one of the oldest continuous winter festivals in Illinois. The derby and festival are headquartered on Channel Lake of the chain. Visitors can enter for hourly prizes for smallest and biggest fish in 10 different categories. The most common fishes caught in the derby are catfish, long northern pike or chubby bass. There is also an ice shanty contest as well as an auction for children and adults.

Saturday-Sunday, February 9-10; Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Thirsty Beach, 42273 N. Woodbine Ave., Antioch.

Drinking Thru the Decades – An Infused Series

The Gorton Center in Lake Forest and North Shore Distillery team up to explore, discuss, create and taste cocktails over the last 150 years. Sonja Kassebaum, one of the founders of the Green Oaks drinkery will be at the Gorton on four separate days to drop some cocktail knowledge on you. This occurs on every second Tuesday of the month until May.

February 12, March 12, April 9 and May 14; 7 p.m. $30-$120. Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest.

The 80s and 90s Valentine’s Day Adult Prom

Everybody’s dressed in Generation X royalty. Prom is back and you can legally drink at this one (if you’re 21 and older). The Ravinia Brewing Co. event includes a prom photo shoot, assorted prom paraphernalia, a DJ and of course the delicious suds made by the Highland Park brewery. Don’t forget the corsages and the fancy dresses. It’s also a way for you to spruce up your Valentine’s Day celebration.

Thursday, February 14; 7 p.m.-midnight. Tickets: $50 per couple. Ravinia Brewing Company, 582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park.

The King & Princess Royal Ball 

The royal ball is an evening of enchantment, dancing, and memories. Special guest hostess Princess Tiana (of “The Princess and the Frog”) and Rapunzel (from the fairy tale “Rapunzel) will be present at the Zion affair. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in whatever attire makes you most comfortable.

Friday, February 15; 7-8:30 p.m. Admission: $15-$20. Shiloh Center, 2600 Emmaus Ave., Zion.

Let’s Wine About Winter

Stroll through historic downtown Libertyville as MainStreet merchants open their doors to warm visitors from head to toe with tasty wines at each stop along the way. Refreshments also provided. A limited number of glasses will be sold. Each $30 ticket includes a tasting glass, unlimited tastings, and a $10 merchant coupon redeemable at participating stores. Tickets go on sale on January 30 at noon.

Saturday, February 16; 1-4 p.m. MainStreet Libertyville, Libertyville.

Pub & Grub Crawl in Lake Zurich

Join the Lake Zurich Chamber of Commerce for a dine and drink event. The Pub & Grub Crawl starts at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites where attendees can pick up a pregame drink, T-shirt and network with other professionals. Crawlers will jump in a shuttle at the Lake Zurich headed to Zin Gastro Pub, BBQ’d Productions, Roaring Table Brewing Co., Lake Zurich Brewing and Copper Fiddle Distillery. Participants will need to sign a waiver.

Thursday, February 21; 4:15-10:15 p.m. Admission: $40. Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 197 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich.


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Lake County Craft Beer Festival

Make your way to Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake to the Fourth Annual Lake County Craft Beer Fest. With a Spring Break Beach Party theme, experience superior craft beers, tasty spirits, wine and delicious Lake County eats. Mingle with suds aficionados and hear some live tunes . Admission includes 25 beer/beverage sampling tickets and a souvenir glass. The event also features food, vendors and fun games.

Saturday, February 23; 5-10 p.m. Tickets: $50-$70. Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center, 1060 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake.


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Used Boat Display Area – High Quality, Low Prices! Can’t Miss This At The ‪#‎IllinoisBoatShow‬ March 3rd-6th.

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Northern Illinois Boat Show

You only witness the best vessels on the waters of Lake County. Embrace that taste of summer in Lake County at the Northern Illinois Boat Show. You and the family will see the latest in pontoons, family runabouts, ski boats, jet boats, fishing boats, bayliners, alumacrafts, sea ray boats and then some at this festive event at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Events Center in Grayslake. Many Lake County vendors will be exhibitors at the four-day event

Thursday-Sunday, February 28-March 3; Thurs: Noon-8 p.m., Fri: Noon-8 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $6-$8. Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center, 1060 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake.

First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville

MainStreet Libertyville invites one and all to their first of the year, 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.

Friday, March 1; 6-9 p.m. MainStreet Libertyville.

Lake County Restaurant Week

Take 10 days to savor Lake County Restaurant Week’s delicious glory on a slew of different dishes. Lake County Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to explore new eats and enjoy old favorites. Over 50 restaurants are participating and featuring either a prix fixe menu or special Restaurant Week offer. This 10-day event only happens once a year, so make your reservations now. The food frenzy runs through March 10. Your taste buds will never forgive you if you fail to indulge.

Friday-Sunday, March 1-10. Various Lake County locations.


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Beer tasting! #beer #vernonhillsbeertasting #dykadventures2016

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Vernon Hills Annual Craft Beer Festival

This Vernon Hills event is a must-do experience for beer connoisseurs. This is the fourth installment of the Vernon Hills Craft Beer Festival at the Sullivan Community Center. More than 15 area breweries will be pouring samples of their frothy creations. With admission, attendees receive a free tasting glass. Divine eats are available for purchase. The brew party will also provide live music. Attendees must be 21 to enter.

Saturday, March 2; 5-9 p.m. Admission: $30-$35. Sullivan Community Center, 635 N. Aspen Dr., Vernon Hills.

Reptile Rampage

Has the Geico Gecko made you yearn to see a real reptile up close and personal? Lake Forest’s Recreation Center has what you’re looking for and then some as they host Wildlife Discovery Center’s Reptile Rampage. Take the family to see 150 unique reptiles including the center’s rattlesnake collection, lizards, snakes of all shapes and sizes, turtles, tortoises, crocodiles, an assortment of frogs and more. In attendance will be the center’s renowned  American Alligator ‘Bubba.’ Besides Bubba, you will have a chance to receive all of the answers to your questions as some of the Midwest’s reptile aficionados from local zoos, universities, museums, nature centers and private collection experts will be on hand. Besides the plethora of reptiles, you must meet, there will be children’s arts and craft activities, face painting, a Scout patch challenge and an auction.

Sunday, March 10; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $10. Lake Forest Recreation Center, 400 Hastings Rd., Lake Forest.


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Working on a #tasting #bourbon #gin #rum #nofilter

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Copper Fiddle Distillery’s Fifth Birthday

Celebrate the born day of the Lake Zurich. The band 208 is performing for a short set with a collection of other musicians. It’s right around the time to place your bets for March Madness

Sunday, March 17; Noon-6 p.m. Copper Fiddle Distillery, 532 W. IL Route 22, Lake Zurich.

To view other winter festivals in Lake County, continue here.

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