Your Guide to Summer Festival Season in Lake County 2018

Pardon our French, but the summer festival season in Lake County is lit AF (of course we’re talking about atrial fibrillation because these box socials can make your heart get jumpy).

Get the fam and them together and achieve squad goals.

What’s so good about summer festivals in Lake County? The sun is out, the streets are over saturated with humans dancing to live Spotify, exploring their palate with enchanting eats and drinks, seeking thrills on carnival rides and so much more..

Go ahead and peruse through the encyclopedia to summer festival season in Lake County!


First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (June 1, July 6, August 3)

“Wake up, it’s the first (Friday) of the month!” Charming 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 shops that offer promotional sales. The Friday night, Route 21 celebration is a free admission event.

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park (June 1-September 16)

The internationally renowned outdoor venue and oldest music festival in North America open their doors for the season on June 1.  The Highland Park staple hosts 140 concerts and events throughout the summer. Get your search started now for the trendiest picnic basket.  Ravinia is also opening the BYOL (bring your own libations) to not just the lawn, but also under the pavilion. Ravinia is headlining names like Buddy Guy, Whoopi Goldberg, Roger Daltrey, Jason Mraz, the Beach Boys, Earth Wind & Fire, Anita Baker, Tony Bennett, 50 Cent, Evanescence, Diana Ross, Cake, Boy George, Ben Folds, Los Lobos and more.

Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival (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 96 brewers handing out cold ones, eats, live music and more. Lake County libationers at this event includes Tighthead Brewing Co of Mundelein, Mickey Finn’s of Libertyville and more. Don’t miss this wide variety of tasty suds Saturday afternoon. The Vine – Martini & Wine is hosting this downtown event.

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.

Libertyville Days (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.

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, three live-radio broadcasts, scrumptious eats and so much more.

ArtWauk (June 16, July 21, August 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.

Antioch’s Summer Arts & Crafts Faire/Wizard’s 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 whom most closely relates to you. Some of the events hosted in the downtown Antioch festival require advance registration.

Midwest Wine Festival in Waukegan (June 16-17)

“Why don’t you jump out of those wet clothes and jump into a dry”…glass of wine.” Fine wine enthusiasts should visit for a two-day sip fest along the shores of Lake Michigan. The event features exclusive Illinois-made wines, cheeses, breads, jams, jellies and bison meats. Explore your palate as the inaugural event features over 135 wines from 10 Land of Lincoln vinos.

Long Grove Strawberry Festival (June 22-24)

“And nothing to get hung about. Strawberry fields forever!” Experiencing summer in Historic Downtown Long Grove is always a treat. Long Grove Strawberry Fest is a ‘berry’ wonderful celebration that offers everything from chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry martinis and …well, more strawberry-fused foods. The festival features live music all day on three different stages, unique shopping, impressive fare and kid-tivities for the entire weekend. The fruit frenzy feature live music from Wedding Banned, High Infidelity, Mr. Blotto and the Grateful Dead tribute band.

Mundelein Community Days (June 28-July 1)

The event includes musical performances, food, drinks, arts and crafts, car show, carnival, a parade, activities for kids and adults and much more. There will also be a parade and much more fun. The Independence Day Fireworks Show is held on July 1 at 10:30 p.m. The Mundelein Community Days musical entertainment lineup includes Kasmir, 7th Heaven, Bella Cain and more.

Taste of Grayslake Family Picnic & Fireworks (June 30)

‘The rocket’s red glare’ and ‘the bombs bursting in air’ appears early in Grayslake. The Taste of Grayslake festivities includes live entertainment, a moonwalk, carnival rides, face painting, an obstacle course, wall climbing and so much more. The June 30 fireworks show begins at dusk.

Waukegan Harbor Fest (June 30-July 1)

Live tunes, Lake Michigan, libations and more, Harbor’s Edge throws their annual music festival before the holiday. The fest features bands like Moonlight Pickers, D-Flo, the Eddie Van Zant Band and more. This is a free admission event that offers adult drinks for purchase.

July 4th Fest at SFGA (June 30-July 4)

Celebrate Independence Day at the Gurnee amusement park. Besides the exciting 16-roller coasters, the splashtastic slides at Hurricane Harbor and other fantastic thrills at Six Flags Great America, the five-day fest will feature a Coca-Cola® July 4th Zone with a live DJ, delicious eats, dance contests, live performances and a fireworks display each night before the park closes.

Red White & Boom in Lincolnshire (July 3-4)

Yankee Doodle went to Lincolnshire riding on a pony. His adventure to the Lake County village ended when he arrived at the Red, White and Boom Fest (sans the cap, feather and macaroni). This annual celebration’s Sunday festivities include live entertainment, food & beer tent, a carnival, games and a classic car show. The Monday schedule is highlighted by a pancake feast, 5K, the annual parade, the cardboard regatta, more live music and more fun. The festivities end with a stunning fireworks extravaganza.

Naval Station Great Lakes Fourth of July Celebration (July 3-4)

The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department would like to extend an invitation to all families, friends, Veterans and the general public to the Naval Station Great Lakes to be a part of the 2018 4th of July Celebration on historic Ross Field from 3-11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 and 3-10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. All are invited to come out and celebrate our Nation’s independence in a spectacular way with two full days of ‘fire-cracking’ festival fun at one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the area. On July 3, a full music line up on the Rock, White & Blue (RWB) main stage will feature this year’s headliner Theory of a Deadman, treating concert-goers to their masterful performance and riveting music. An RWB VIP package is available that includes exclusive access to the front row section of the Main Stage. On both days, there is the main stage with national, regional and local bands performing and thrilling carnival rides and games; as well as an abundance of delicious festival food and refreshing beverages (from local area vendors). Children of all ages will have plenty to do in the award-winning Kids Zone, featuring tons of exciting “hands-on” activities including SeaPerch/Stem building, a petting zoo, an indoor rock wall, as well as a full line-up of live entertainment acts. Festival-goers will also enjoy bingo for prizes, pro wrestling, a paintball arena, military exhibits; plus roving performers and costumed characters that will be on site working the crowds! Both nights conclude with spectacular fireworks that will be choreographed to music. On July 3rd, the ‘Rock, White and Blue’ fireworks display will begin at 10:45 p.m., and on July 4th, visitors are promised a “must see” fireworks extravaganza that will begin at 9:30 p.m. The Naval Station Great Lakes is located off of Sheridan Rd. The festival offers free parking and no admission charge. Join in and celebrate our freedom and patriotism at this free, fun-for-all-ages, open to the public, celebration on July 3 and 4. For details, go to or visit the Naval Station Great Lakes 4th of July Facebook page.

Deerfield Family Days (July 3-4)

Deerfield hosts its 55th Annual Family Days at Jewett and Brickyard Parks. The two-day celebration includes fireworks, a parade, arts and crafts tents, a 10K Race/5K Walk, rides, a petting zoo, the bike parade and a slew of other family fun-tivities. This Fourth of July, visit Deerfield to mingle, share, reacquaint and relish in the festivities.

Bristol Renaissance Faire (July 7-September 3)

Even if you don’t own a DeLorean, you can take a trip back to the past to experience the 16th-century English Elizabethan era just over the Wisconsin border. The renowned Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha features sword fighters, maidens, minstrels and jesters. There are many photo opportunities for having the chance to meet and greet with legendary celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth and Robin Hood. The Faire also offers games, rides, arts and crafts, eats, live music and one-of-a-kind encounters with a spectacular cast of characters.

Scoop Waukegan (July 13-14)

The tradition returns to Downtown Waukegan as the hot rod holiday; Scoop 2017 kicks off July13. Save the date to experience your favorite rides at the Car Show & VIP Scoop, Lake County eats and beers, a carnival, the Taste of the Caribbean and plenty of live entertainment that includes performances by the Humboldt Park Orchestra, Impacto Boricua, DJ Spontaneous and more.

Beach Fest at RLBCCC (July 12-15)

This free admission event features live sounds including the battle of the bands and Hispanic bands, a carnival, a petting zoo, a cultural entertainment stage, a hot dog eating contest and of course a comfortable family-fun setting by the beach.

Vernon Hills Summer Celebration (July 19-21)

Fall in love with your favorite season all over again during the Vernon Hills Summer Celebration 2018. Have a bite to eat, take a ride on a carnival ride and enjoy an abundance of live entertainment from the celebration headliner David Nail with James Barker Band also Modern Day Romeos, Henneberry, Mike & Joe and a plethora of other great musicians. Gaze upon nostalgic vehicles at the car show on Saturday and Compete in the bags tournament on Sunday.

Antioch’s Taste of Summer, Carnival & Sidewalk Sales SUPERSIZED (July 19-22)

How about a little fun in the sun in Antioch? The Taste of Summer Festival in Antioch features carnivals rides for the family, deliciously prepared eats from the village’s top restaurants, splendid merchandise from the area’s sidewalk sale and exceptional live acts in the Brook Bandshell. Some of the bands gracing the bandshell stage include the Neverly Brothers, Hi Infidelity, Modern Day Romeos and more.

Alpine Fest in Lake Zurich (July 20-22)

Alpine Fest is nostalgic bliss wrapped in a neat little package. The annual Lake Zurich event began initially to celebrate victories of World War II in 1942. The festival continues its history this weekend as the Lions Club sponsored event features a parade, carnival rides, games, delicious eats, family events, the Fire Fighters Water Fights, live entertainment and more. Some of the live music acts include Mike Zabrin’s Funktastic, ARRA Classic Rock, Royal Bliss, Semple, Gia Gonzalez and the Wingmen and Veilside.

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The 90th Annual Lake County Fair (July 25-29)

For nearly a century, the Lake County Fair has provided a great family experience for members young and old spanning generations. The annual six-day event in Grayslake turns 90 years old this year. This Lake County staple will include entertainment, food vendors, live farm animals, carnival rides, games, motor crossing, a demolition derby, a flower show, the Miss Lake County Pageant and so much more. Learn more about the fair at

David Adler Center Festival of the Arts (August 4-5)

The David Adler Festival of the Arts has showcased some of the finest work from artists across the country. As many as 70 talented individuals will have their work on display throughout the weekend. This event hosted by the 100-year-old facility will also feature a youth art division to celebrate the talent of children ages 18 and younger. Besides the unique artwork on display, attendees will experience live music, divine fare and plenty more at the Libertyville festival in Cook Park.

Jazz & Wine Festival at Deer Park Town Center (August 4)

‘At Last!’ If you are ‘In a Sentimental Mood,’ or feeling ‘Fine and Mellow,’ take your ‘Caravan,’ to the free of admission Jazz and Wine Festival in Deer Park. ‘They Say it’s Wonderful.’ The one-day jazz event features performances from James Sanders & Conjunto, Henry Johnson Quartet, Johnny Blas’ Afro Libre Orchestra, the Judy Roberts/Greg Fishman Quartet with vocalist Dan Ferris and the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Big Band. Face painting and balloon art will be available for the kids. Delicious eats, fine vino and craft brew will be available for purchase (cash only). Attendees are advised to bring chairs from home.

Gurnee Days Celebrate the Decades (August 9-12)

Since 1972, Gurnee Days has hosted this four-day premier festival. The party in Gurnee features an array of unique events including a bicycle rodeo, live entertainment, farmers market, Gurnee Idol, golf tournament, amusement rides, a 10K race, baby contest, rib fest and so much more.

Lincolnshire Art Festival (August 11-12)

The festival hosts 100 juried artists from around the U.S. in Lincolnshire’s Village Green. Formerly known as the Arts & Eats Fest, this Lincolnshire outdoor gallery offers extraordinary examples of fine art and fine craft in a variety of mediums and price points. The festival is the perfect family experience highlighted by live tunes, mouth-watering bites, fun activities for the kids and so much more. Art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to see the masters at work with interactive demos and have the opportunity to take part in a booth chat to discover their inspiration. Festival-goers of all ages have a chance to get into the “art-filled” action by contributing to an on-site mural at the festival.

Long Grove Vintage Days (August 18-19)

There’s nothing like a day of nostalgia. Long Grove’s Vintage Days has that neatly wrapped in a bow as they will feature antique, reclaimed, repurposed, upcycled and handmade products for attendees. The festival also includes live entertainment, elegant eats, tasty treats and delicious drinks. Also, peruse the local shops and restaurants in Historic Downtown Long Grove. The event also offers hayrides, an ice cream social, pie eating, penny carnival – run by kids, for kids and so much more.

Grayslake Summer Days (August 17-18)

Grayslake Summer Days is one of the last festivals of the season in Lake County. This family-fun festival features live entertainment, carnival games, bingo, beer tents, arts & crafts, food vendors, a business booth area and go-cart races. Don’t forget to find a good spot on Whitney Street for the Bike and Pet Parade at noon on Saturday and the Summer Days Parade at 6:30 p.m. that night.

Little Bear Ribfest (August 17-18)

Summertime and ribs just have an excellent relationship together. Taste what’s cooking at this at the Little Bear Rib Fest held at Vernon Hill’s Century Park. Besides Lake County’s best ribs in show, explore the live entertainment, kids events and a whole slew of exciting things to do with the entire family in this two-day fest.

Grayslake Color Aloft Balloon Fest (August 25)

Look in the sky – it’s a bird, it’s a plane. Is it a plethora of hot-air balloons? The Annual Grayslake Color Aloft Balloon Festival gives attendees the opportunity to witness the inflation and competition as aircraft experts contend in a ‘Fox and Hounds Contest.’ After the sun sets, the sky will light up with the burners of the balloons that illuminate the night. The event includes live music, family activities and different food and beverage vendors.

25th Annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow (August 25-26)

Receive a taste of the Native American heritage to heighten awareness of their history at the 24th Annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow. Join the celebration as you listen and witness the history, traditions and customs of the Native Americans. Other festivities occurring at this Zion fiesta include live demonstrations, music & dance presentations, educational sessions and a trader area.

70th Annual Jubilee Days Fest in Zion (September 1-3)

On Labor Day weekend, the City of Zion rejoices in unison as they host the Annual Jubilee Days Festival. The festivities kick off with the annual 5K run Saturday morning and the fun continues until Monday night. This event also 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.

Long Grove Irish Days (September 1-3)

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.

For more information on summer festival season in Lake County, click here.

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