Right click here and select "Save As..." to download an iCal calendar file of all of the summer festivals.
Click here to download a PDF of all the summer festival listings.
Eyes to the Skies, Jul 2–4 Lisle Community Park, Rte 53 at Short St, Lisle. Thu 3–11pm; Fri, Sat 11am–11pm.Fireworks daily at dusk; balloon glow daily 8:15pm. $3, kids 4 and under free. Hot-air balloons in all shapes, sizes and colors take flight.
* Naperville Ribfest, Jul 2–5 Knoch Park, West St and Martin Ave, Naperville (ribfest.net). Noon–10pm; $10, kids 11 and under free. This suburban rib fest is bigger than your run-of-the-mill cook-off. Thousands roll in annually to gnaw on a national selection of ribs and watch acts like Blue Oyster Cult, Heart and Huey Lewis and the News.
* Rothbury Festival, Jul 2–5 Double JJ Ranch, 5900 Water Rd, Rothbury, MI (rothburyfestival.com). Thu 8am–Mon 6pm; weekend ticket $249.50 plus ticket fees, VIP weekend ticket $490, RV passes $100. Ready your hemp necklace: This four-day ecofriendly camping festival managed to bring in every big-name living hippy act, including Bob Dylan, the Dead, Damian Marley, Willie Nelson, String Cheese Incident and more.
International Festival of Life, Jul 3–5 Washington Park, 55th St and Cottage Grove Ave (martinsinterculture.com). 10am–10pm; $15, $10 advance, seniors and kids ages 7–12 $5, kids 6 and under free, festival pass $30. Groove to the sounds of reggae, calypso, gospel and other world music at this family-oriented fest. This year’s theme is health and awareness.
FREE Wheeling Freedom Fest, Jul 3–5 Park District field on Dundee Rd between the Community Recreation Center and Village Hall, Wheeling (chicagoevents.com). Fri 5–midnight; Sat, Sun 3–midnight. Food booths, a Fifth of July Parade and classic-rock acts create a classic suburban Independence Day.
FREE Cherry Pit Spitting Championship, Jul 4 9351 Eureka Rd, Eau Claire, MI (treemendus-fruit.com). Contest starts at 10am. Known as the Summer Olym-pits, this may be the only time it’s okay to play with your food.
* FREE Itasca’s Fantastic Fireworks, Jul 4 Hamilton Lakes Office Campus, I-290 and Thorndale Ave, Itasca (jamfests.com). 6–10pm. Itasca’s fireworks show holds the bragging rights for being the second largest in Illinois.
FREE Lake Forest Festival & Fireworks, July 4 Deerpath Park, 400 Hastings Rd, Lake Forest (chicagoevents.com). 5–10pm. The North Shore ’burb celebrates Independence Day with a beer garden, live music and children’s entertainment.
Bastille Day 5K Run, Walk & Block Party, Jul 9 Jackson Blvd at Aberdeen Ave (chicagoevents.com). Run 7:30pm, block party 8:30–10pm; run $27–$30, block party $5. This run benefits the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. A block party and wine tasting follow the race.
BenFest, Jul 10, 11 St. Benedict’s, 2215 W Irving Park Rd. Fri 5–11pm, Sat 3–11pm; $5, after 8pm $10. You’ll help support the schools and parish of St. Benedict when you stop by this outdoor music event.
FREE Great Performers of Illinois, Jul 10–13 Millennium Park, Michigan Ave between Monroe and Randolph Sts (greatperformersofillinois.com). Fri 6:30–10pm; Sat 7am–10pm; Sun 10am–10pm; Mon noon–8pm. Statewide performers, regional food and wine, children’s entertainment and an 8,000-square-foot corn maze descend on Millennium Park.
Irish American Heritage Festival, Jul 10–12 4626 N Knox Ave (irishfestchicago.com). Fri 6pm–midnight; Sat noon–midnight; Sun noon–11pm; $14, advance $8, seniors $7, kids under 12 free. Something for everyone here: Kids can compete in a singing competition, Sham-ROCK stars; gluttons vie for prizes in a mashed-potato-eating tourney; lads and lassies looking to hook up are encouraged to attend the hooley. Irish food and trad music round out the offerings.
Jeff Fest, Jul 10, 11 Milwaukee Ave at Higgins Rd (chicagoevents.com). Fri 6–10pm; Sat noon–10pm; $5. Food vendors, artists and merchants fill the streets of this Northwest Side community.
Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party, Jul 10, 11 Madison St at Des Plaines Ave. 5:30–10:30pm. $40, $35 advance, two-night pass $65. This summer singles fest boasts that it has brought together more than 70 sets of spouses over the years. Quench your summertime thirst with five free drinks, included in the admission.
AleFest, Jul 11 Soldier Field Stadium Green, 1410 S Museum Campus Dr (alefest.com). 2–6pm. $40. Craft beer enthusiasts can sampling from 150 select ales and lagers. The fest takes place on Soldier Field's Green.
Chicago Folk & Roots Festival, Jul 11, 12 Welles Park, 4440 N Lincoln Ave (oldtownschool.org). Noon–10pm; $8, seniors and kids $4. The Old Town School of Folk Music is one school that you want to be in session for the summer. At its annual fest, hit up sing-alongs, open jams, a dance tent and multicultural musical acts.
Bristol Renaissance Faire, Jul 11–Sept 7 I-94 and State Line Rd, Kenosha, WI. Sat, Sun, Labor Day Mon 10am–7pm; $18.95, advance $15.95, kids ages 5–12 $9.50, advance kids $8, kids under 5 free. Eat, drink and be merry with the medieval mix of entertainment, food and shopping. A wine tasting, costume contest and ceremonious tea with the 476-year-old queen are a few of the highlights.
FREE I Have A Vision Gospel Music Fest, Jul 11 Grand Crossing Park, 7655 S Ingleside Ave. Noon–6pm. Bring on the inspirational family fun: Gospel acts meet horseback riding, a water slide, games and food.
Rock Around the Block, Jul 11, 12 Lincoln Ave at Addison St (starevents.com). Sat noon–10pm; Sun noon–9pm; $5 About 30 local bands will perform nonstop on three stages, covering a four-block stretch. Street performers, vendors and a story bus for kids are added highlights. Proceeds benefit the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
* Wauconda Rodeo, Jul 11, 12 Wauconda Rodeo Grounds, Hwy 12 and Case Rd, Wauconda. Sat 5–10pm, Sun 1–6pm; $15, kids ages 5–10 $6, kids 4 and under free, parking $6. Wrangle up a good time with clowns, cowboys and calf-roping at this family event.
West Fest, Jul 11, 12 Chicago Ave between Wood St and Damen Ave (westfestchicago.com). Noon–10pm, $5. At this neighborhood music fest, headliners include Local H, Red Red Meat, Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s With Brian Deck.
FREE Volleywood Beach Bash, Jul 11 North Avenue Beach, 1600 N Lake Shore Dr (chicagosportandsocialclub.com/events). Noon–7pm. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Chicago Sport and Social Club hosts the annual volleyball tournie and party along the lakefront. If you're not inclined to play, linger with beverages or watch 90s rapper, MC Hammer, perform live. Tickets are free, but you must hit Sport & Social's website to get yours.
Halsted Tastes Better, Jul 13 Halsted St between Belmont and Addison Sts. 6–10pm; $30, advance $25. Try food from area Halsted eateries, or join a waitperson’s race. Mixing and mingling by both gays and straights top off the day.
* FREE Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, Jul 14–Aug 25 Grant Park, Jackson Blvd at Columbus Dr (chicagooutdoorfilmfestival.us). Tuesdays at dusk. Classic films are projected on the big screen over Butler Field. This summer’s lineup includes Sunset Boulevard (Jul 14), Duck Soup (Jul 21), Psycho (Aug 11) and Tootsie (Aug 25).
FREE Festival of the Lakes, Jul 14–19 Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2938 S Calumet Ave, Hammond, IN (festivalofthelakes.com). 7pm, $15 parking. Boyz II Men, Spin Doctors and the Black Crowes were all at their height of fame during the ’90s, which makes Hammond about ten years behind the times. We kid. Partake in classic carnival entertainment before the concerts.
* Kane County Fair, Jul 15–19 Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S Randall Rd, St. Charles (kanecountyfair.com). Wed, Thu, noon–11pm; Fri, Sat noon–midnight; Sun noon–10pm; $5, season ticket $20, Wed $1, kids under 5 free, Wed seniors free. This behemoth county fair features classic country entertainment: rides, racing pigs, magic shows, motocross, a rodeo and a demo derby.
* Pitchfork Music Festival, Jul 17–19 Union Park, 1501 W Randolph St (pitchforkmusicfestival.com). Fri 4–10pm; Sat, Sun noon–10pm; $35, two-day pass $60, three-day pass $75. After only a few years, the indie-music website has made its eponymous fest quite a Chicago tradition. Friday night’s “Write the Night: Set Lists by Requests” lets the audience hear tailormade playlists from the Jesus Lizard, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo and Tortoise. On Sunday, the Flaming Lips headline.
FREE Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, Jul 18, 19 Dawes Park, Church St at Sheridan Rd, Evanston (cityofevanston.org). Noon–7pm. The city of Evanston goes global by throwing this annual multiculti art festival.
* Sheffield Garden Walk, Jul 18, 19 Webster and Sheffield Aves (sheffieldgardenwalk.com). Noon–5pm (garden and kids’ area); food and music till 10pm; $6–$10. Neighborhood homeowners bring this fest to life by opening their yards for garden and architectural tours. Funkadesi, School of Rock and Poi Dog Pondering will keep the crowds moving.
Taste of River North, Jul 18, 19 Erie Park, 630 N Kingsbury St at Erie and Ontario Sts (rnrachicago.org). Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 11am–7pm. $5. Patrons are encouraged to have clean, green fun at this waterside fete. Leave your gas-guzzling SUVs behind and bike or hike to the riverfront for the delights of local restaurants, galleries and merchants. Alt rock band Cracker headlines.
FREE Chinatown Summer Fair, Jul 19 Wentworth Ave from Cermak Rd to 24th Pl (chicagoevents.com). 10am–8pm. The annual Asian cultural celebration includes food, arts and a dragon parade.
Dearborn Garden Walk & Heritage Festival, Jul 19 Dearborn and Goethe Sts (dearborngardenwalk.com). Noon–5pm; $35, advance $30. Sophisticated street fair is not an oxymoron here; stroll historic Dearborn Street on a narrated architectural tour, or visit select gardens for live jazz and classical music performances.
* DuPage County Fair, Jul 22–26 DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 W Manchester Rd, Wheaton (dupagecountyfair.org). 8am–10pm weekdays, 8am–11pm weekends; $10, kids ages 3–12 $3. Get your fix of crash and collision with the demo derby and the Illini State Pullers’ truck and tractor show. Los Lobos, the Wailers, the Cab and the Academy is… perform at free nightly concerts.
* FREE Newberry Library Book Fair and Bughouse Square Debates, Jul 23–26 Washington Square Park, 901 N Clark St (http://www.newberry.org). Thu, Fri noon–8pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm; debate Sat 25, noon–4pm. Choose from more than 100,000 donated books—from self-help and sci- fi to cookbooks and children’s stories. On Saturday at noon, get on your soapbox and dish out your commentary in traditional public debates.
* FREE Pierogi Fest, Jul 24–26 119th St at Indianapolis Blvd/U.S. 41, Whiting, IN (pierogifest.net). Fri–Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 11am–5pm. This weekend, Whiting revolves around the tasty Polish dumpling, displaying and selling it in all imaginable delicious forms. On the side, the fest serves up polka bands, rock groups, magicians and more.
Ghana Fest, Jul 25 Washington Park, 5600 S Russell Dr. 11am–11pm, $5. Ghanian culture is displayed through traditional African drumming, dance ensembles and cuisine.
FREE North Shore Arts Festival, Jul 25, 26 Old Orchard Shopping Center parking lot, Golf Rd and Skokie Blvd, Skokie (amdurproductions.com). 10am–5pm. Sift through sculptures, jewelry, photography, glassmaking and other crafts by 150 artists.
Taste of Lincoln Avenue, Jul 25, 26 Lincoln Ave between Wrightwood and Fullerton Aves (wrightwoodneighbors.com). Noon–10pm, $7. Sample food from North Side eateries. Headliners include Tonic, Hairbangers Ball and Mike & Joe.
FREE Venetian Night, Jul 25 Lake Michigan between Roosevelt Rd and Monroe St (cityofchicago.org). 7:45pm. Watch as 35 decorative boats sail along the lakefront between the Shedd Aquarium and the Chicago Yacht Club. After the boat parade, fireworks follow.
Wicker Park Fest, Jul 25, 26 Milwaukee Ave between North Ave and Wood St (wickerparkbucktown.com). Noon–10pm, $5. Grab your fedora and pug; now you’re set to hit the streets of this trendy ’hood. Indie music performances join food and drinks from local purveyors.
FREE Celebrate Clark Street, Jul 26 Clark St between Morse St and Estes Ave (rogers-park.com). 1–11pm. This festival traditionally fills Rogers Park streets with global beats.
* FREE Chicago Criterium Bike Race, Jul 26 Buckingham Fountain, Columbus Dr at Balbo Dr (chicagocriterium.us). 7am–5pm. This daylong series of closed-circuit bike races feature a mix of fast straightaways and 90-degree turns. Watch from the grandstands or browse the bike merch in Grant Park while catching the race on JumboTrons.
* EAA AirVenture Fly-In, Jul 27–Aug 2 Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W 20th Ave, Oshkosh, WI (airventure.org). 7am–5:30pm; $34, students $19, 5 and under free. In addition to dozens of airplane performances, this year’s show features the debut of the WhiteKnightTwo, a commercial carrier for space tourism, and live performance by the Doobie Brothers on Friday.
Lake County Fair, Jul 28–Aug 2 1060 E Peterson Rd, Grayslake (lakecountyfairassoc.com). Tue–Sat 8am–11:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm. $10, seniors and kids ages 5–12 $5, 4 and under free. From 4-H to carnival rides, classic county-fair entertainment is on tap here.
FREE Fiesta Del Sol, Jul 30–Aug 2 Cermak Rd between Throop and Morgan Sts (fiestadelsol.org). Thu 5–10pm; Fri, Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 11am–10pm. This family-friendly fest on the West Side eschews cigarettes and booze for children’s games, carnival rides, DJ battles and on-site graffiti artists.
FREE Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove, Jul 31–Aug 2 Elk Grove and Ridge Ave, Elk Grove Village (tourofelkgrove.com). Times vary. A weekend of professional and amateur cycling offers up to $200,000 in total cash prizes. On-site bike expos and kids’ activities keep spectators busy, while post-race block parties Friday and Saturday night keep the party going.
FREE Gold Coast Art Fair, Jul 31–Aug 2 Along LaSalle St at the intersections of Huron, Erie and Superior Sts (amdurproductions/gold-coast). Fri noon–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm. Crafters set up booths in the tony neighborhood.
The best spots at Chicago’s summer fests | Index fun | How to dress for this summer’s festivals | Chicago’s summer ethnic festivals | Cheap drinks at Chicago’s summer festivals | Festival treats cost plenty of cash, calories | Cheap summer thrills | What and where to buy at this summer’s festivals | Volunteering at music fests can get you in free | Money-saving tips!