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Winter Festivals in Lake County 2022

Don’t sit wasting 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 gazing at stunning snowy murals to hunting underwater dwellers and a slew of celebrations, Lake County is the place to indulge in frosty festivities.

 

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While you peruse what to do this winter, take a look at some of the exceptional shots from the #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest, and where to go sledding and tubing in the land of lakes.

Here are your top winter festivals in Lake County 2022.

Alpine Biergarten at Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. (Through late March)


The Alpine Biergarten at Buffalo Creek Brewing offers a great way to taste handcrafted brews outdoors in a cozy, intimate setting. The Historic Downtown Long Grove, Lake County Libation Trail partner offers six stocked firepits, patio and barrel table heat lamps, sheepskin seat covers, twinkle lighting and over two acres of winter wonderland to explore and stay socially distanced from others. The award-winning brewery is known for its 42K Belgian Strong Ale, Marrvelous German-Style Kölsch, and Xerxes Chocolate Bacon Stout. The Alpine Biergarten is open in this setting through late March.

7th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition: Enriching Life at the Brushwood Center (through April 24)

 

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Join Heeyoung Kim, an internationally renowned artist, and Brushwood Center’s botanical artists for the opening of Enriching Life, a culminating exhibition of their stunning work throughout the year. With both an online exhibition and dozens of pieces gracing the Brushwood Center gallery, you won’t want to miss this extraordinary display of talent and celebration of nature and art. Heeyoung leads the Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy at Brushwood Center, and her work is known all over the world. The exhibit is open through April 24.

Snow Much Fun in Grayslake (January 22)

 

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Walk in a winter wonderland as the Grayslake Park District’s Pebble Beach Park offers ice skating, family ice fishing, ice painting, a snowman building contest, and other winter games. Admission is free, but participants are encouraged to bring winter accessories to build their Olafs. Fishing equipment is provided.

Winter Wine Walk in Antioch (January 22) 


“Wine is bottled poetry,” stated by “Treasure Island” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” author Robert Louis Stevenson. Take a stroll through beautiful downtown Antioch for their Winter Wine Walk. While sampling on different vino flavors, visit the unique stores and restaurants Antioch has to offer. The event admission includes a commemorative wine glass, event menu, divine eats, a bottle of wine and entry to a free raffle drawing.

LVVA Fishing Derby in Wauconda (Virtual) (January 28-30)


Get your ice fishing on Lake County. There are two angler events with a lot of longevity and history to fulfill your snow fishing expeditions. The first is the LVVA Ice Fishing Derby in Wauconda and the second is the Chain O’Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival (Feb. 14-16). Pack up your lines, hooks and spears, and go for the gold trying to nab some fresh pike, crappie, perch and bluegill that the Bangs Lake has to offer. With the pandemic going on, the Wauconda derby has moved to a virtual event. Cash and prizes will be rewarded to anglers in big and small fish catch category. Let’s take a look at our derby days.

Lake County Libation Trail Month/Check-in Challenge (February 1-28)

Let’s toast to the Lake County Libation Trail! “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” as suds aficionados, vino connoisseurs and spirit enthusiasts will be elated with these glasses of “liquid courage.” The Lake County Libation Trail is highlighted by 30 of the most delectable flavors from locally-sourced ingredients. Whether your adult beverage is an ice-cold frothy lager, a dry red merlot or an old-fashioned on the rocks, Lake County has precisely what you need to make your taste buds dance. This Check-in Challenge runs all of February. When craft drinkers arrive at a participating location, they check in using their mobile pass to show they’re in attendance. If libation-ers check in to five or more participants of the Lake County Libation Trail by February 28, they are entered into a sweepstakes to win a prize. Get Trail Hoppin’!

5th Annual Cocoa Crawl in Long Grove (February 5)

 

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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.

All Things Beautiful Artist’s Reception: The Art of Aruna Sarode at Volo Bog State Natural Area (February 5)


Aruna Sarode is an award-winning artist that is a member of the Grayslake Art Alliance. Her “All Things Beautiful” exhibit is a mixture of oil, acrylic and watercolor pieces that celebrate wild animals, plants and landscapes as well as cultural beauty. Sarode’s artwork is for sale as well. Have a meet and greet with Aruna in the flesh on February 5. The exhibit will be showcased through February 27 on Wednesdays through Sundays.

Frozen Tundra 5K and Post Race Beach Party in Lincolnshire (February 5)


Lace up your running shoes and sprint to Half Day Brewing Company for the inaugural Frozen Tundra 5K. The out-and-back run along the Des Plaines River Trail begins and ends at the Lincolnshire Brewery and is followed by a post-race beach party with music from DJ Lou, craft brews, delicious bites, awards and more. 5K participants will receive a T-shirt, lei, sunglasses, gift cards, a finisher’s medal and more while supplies last. Not partaking in the run? Attendees may purchase tickets for the beach party separately. Be sure to sip on the Lincolnshire brewhub’s Frozen Tundra IPA during the after party.

Cool Cluster Dog Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (February 9-13)

 

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Get ready for a “paw” some time at the Cool Cluster Dog Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Grayslake. The Little Fort Kennel Club sponsored Cool Cluster Dog Show. Thousands of dogs will compete at the  event as the canines strut their stuff to take home best in show. Judges will deliberate over seven breed categories, including sporting, non-sporting hounds, terriers, working, toy and herding.

Street Scenes Student Show at Carmel High School (February 10-12)


Take a line out of Miley Cyrus’s library because “We Can’t Stop the Party! The Mundelein school’s celebration is a 60-year old spectacular as they celebrate six decades running this show full of talent, casinos, libations and more. The student show will occur in February featuring more than 50 bands, activities improv, theater, a cabaret-style student show, local eats and beverage vendors. The full party will happen this summer on July 16 and 17.

Enchanted Evening: Hawaiian Luau in Gurnee (February 12)

Mothers and fathers will treat their tropical youngsters to an evening of dancing, fun and laughter at the Enchanted Evening: Hawaiian Luau. Grab your leis and hula and cut a rug at Viking Park Community Center Dance Hall for a beach-themed evening of music, dancing, refreshments, sweets and more. Admission also includes dinner of chicken fingers, pulled pork, mack and cheese, aloha salad and a dessert followed by dance lessons taught by Hawaiian dancers. Aloha! in Antioch.

95 WIIL Rock Valentine’s Dinner and Comedy Show at the Holiday Inn Gurnee (February 12)

 

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Make it a “you two” evening of dinner, comedy and romance by Holiday Inn Convention Center’s Valentine’s Day celebration. The event also features radio personalities from 95 WIIL Rock. Chuckle till your sides ache with the stand-up stylings of Nathan “Tricky” Allen, Kevin Kellum and 95 WIIL Rock’s own Tom Kief. Hotel rooms are available starting at $119.

Chain O’Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival in Antioch (February 12-13)


Get your ice fishing on Lake County. The dual angler event and winter party have a ton of longevity and history to fulfill your snow fishing expeditions. Pack up your lines, hooks and spears, and go for the gold trying to nab some fresh pike, crappie, perch and bluegill at the Land of Lincoln state park. With the pandemic going on, there won’t be a bucket raffle or live auction.

Untamed: The Orchid Show at Chicago Botanic Garden (February 12-March 27)


Roses are red; violets are blue. Orchids range from gray, purple, pink and red, and the Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting a show of it, too. The Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show, a one-of-a-kind display in the Chicago area, features a forest full of wild orchids. More than 10,000 brilliantly beautiful and unusual orchids from around the world will extend throughout the Regenstein Center, including lush presentations within the greenhouses. There are several unique events during the show including a preview, Orchids After Dark, live music and more.

ArtWauk in Waukegan (February 19 and March 19)

 

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The city’s famed ArtWauk “paints” the town with sculptures, film, theatre, comedy, music, performance art, food and more. The free admission Saturday art event opens the doors to all art galleries throughout Waukegan. So fill your artistic void with the ever-extravagant monthly ArtWauk in Downtown Waukegan. In addition to the portraits, sculptures and other creative vibes, munch on some delicious dining options downtown or feel the flow of the tunes from the live entertainment.

Lake County Craft Beer Festival at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (February 26)


Visit the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Grayslake to the annual Lake County Craft Beer Fest. 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 games. Lake County Libation Trail partners in attendance at this event include Black Lung Brewing Company in Round Lake Beach, Bosacki’s Brewery in Mundelein, Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake, Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing Company in Waukegan, Harbor Brewing Co. in Winthrop Harbor and Lake Villa, Ravinia Brewing Co in Highland Park and more.

32nd Annual Black History Program in Zion (February 27)

Black History Month is not only celebrated in the United States, but it’s also an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. However, just the two aforementioned Western Hemisphere countries celebrate it in February. Historian Carter G. Woodson created the monthlong holiday in 1926 as it also is the same month that hosts notable Civil Rights figures February born days like Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Zion-Benton High School and the Zion Park District host a program that includes a diaspora of singing, dancing, guest speakers and poets. The family-friendly celebration also provides a delicious dinner following the program.

Winterfest at Volo Bog State Natural Area (February 27)

 

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In the wintertime, some are prone to be indoors as couch potatoes, while others are more adventurous in the fluffy snow. The Volo Bog Winterfest provides family-friendly experience for all parties as this Sunday event features live music, storytelling, photo contest awards, sing-alongs, arts and crafts, hikes, snow sculpting, cross-country skiing and a slew of other pleasant winter-themed festivities. This event was rescheduled from early January

First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (March 4)


Invest your fest feels on a festive festival-infested Friday through Sunday in Libertyville. The weekend kicks off with its normal First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville highlighted by various delectable drinks, mouth-watering eats, live entertainment and more as visitors peruse through local mom and pop shops offering promotional sales.

GLMV Extreme Block Party EXPO & Taste (March 12)

 

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Take the family out for a day of adventure as DoubleTree Mundelein returns as hosts of its annual Multi-Chamber Extreme Block Party Family Expo & Taste. This event will feature 100-plus local vendors, live entertainment, 50+ raffle prizes, face painting, food samples, product demonstrations from local eateries and so much more. This festive event is for all ages and free of admission.

Lake County RV Outlet Show at Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (March 25-27)

 

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Yearning for a vacation like the Griswold family’s cross-country excursion? Join the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center for the RV Outlet Show this weekend. New models including class A-C gas motorhomes, diesel pusher motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, toy haulers, fold downs, hybrids and more will line the floors of the massive 65,000 square foot facility in Grayslake. Hit the road for the Lake County Fairgrounds!


Mark your calendars and stay tuned for Lake County Restaurant Week: Ten Days to Savor running April 1-10! For more information about winter festivals in Lake County, continue here.

 

 

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