Festival listings: July
EAA Airventure Fly In Mon 23–Sun 29, 7am–10pm. Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W 20th Ave (920-426-4800, airventure.org). $41, kids ages 6–18 $21, kids under 6 free, veterans $31. Keep your head in the clouds at this giant air show celebrating all things air travel. More than 2,500 planes—from warbirds and vintage aircraft to homebuilt planes—line what for one week will be the busiest airport grounds in the world. Daily and nightly air shows, workshops and plenty of kid-friendly events entertain all week.
* FREE Movies in the Park Mon 23–Sun 29. Various Chicago Park District locations; see website (312-742-7529, chicagoparkdistrict.com). Grant Park movies are long gone, but the Chicago Park District has since picked up the slack by beefing up its neighborhood outdoor movie series. More than 100 local parks get their own big screen for a night or two. All movies begin at dusk.
DuPage County Fair Wed 25–Sun 29, 8am–11pm. DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Rd, Wheaton (630-668-6636, dupagecountyfair.org). $8, kids ages 3–12 $3, kids 2 and under free. Demolition derbies, cook-offs, concerts and—most important—funnel cakes make up this annual county fair. Entertainment is ticketed separately.
* FREE Grant Park Music Festival Wed 25, Fri 27 at 6:30pm; Sat 28 at 7:30pm. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, 205 E Randolph St (312-742-7638, grantparkmusicfestival.com). Pack a picnic and stretch out on the Great Lawn or grab a chair in the Seating Bowl as you listen to the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus serenade packs of Chicagoans. Food and drink, including alcohol, are permitted. (Yes!)
Lake County Fair Wed 25, Thu 26, 8am–10pm; Fri 27, Sat 28, 8am–11pm; Sun 29, 8am–9pm. Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E Peterson Rd, Grayslake (847-680-7200, lcfair.com). $10, Wed–Fri $8, military and kids ages 5–12 $5, season pass $15–$35. Come celebrate the agriculture of Lake County by participating in classic fair activities like carnival rides, truck pulls, demo derbies and livestock competitions. This fair’s roots stretch to the mid-19th century.
FREE Chicago SummerDance Thu 26–Sat 28, 6–9:30pm; Sun 29, 4–7pm. Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S Michigan Ave (312-742-4007, chicagosummerdance.org). Cut a rug, or at least learn how to at this annual series of couples dances Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. A professional instructor conducts dance lessons for the first hour before you bust a move on the Grant Park pavement.
FREE Fiesta del Sol Thu 26, 5–11pm; Fri 27, Sat 28, 11am–11pm; Sun 29, 11am–10pm. 1400 W Cermak Rd (312-666-2663, fiestadelsol.org). Celebrate under the sun at one of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest. This Pilsen event features carnival rides, live music, local art and, of course, Mexican food.
* FREE Newberry Library Book Fair and Bughouse Square Debates Thu 26, Fri 27, noon–8pm; Sat 28, Sun 29, 10am–6pm. Newberry Library, 60 W Walton St (312-255-3556, www.newberry.org). More than 120,000 used paper Kindles will be up for sale at this popular book bonanza. Prices are low, and the selection is vast. The debates, a favorite of this city’s copious rabble-rousers, take place in Washington Square Park, across the street from the Newberry Library on Saturday. The Main Debate begins at 1:30pm.
* FREE Pierogi Fest Fri 27, Sat 28, 11am–10pm; Sun 29, 11am–5pm. 119th St at Indianapolis Blvd, Whiting, IN (219-659-0292, pierogifest.net). These starchy treats are honored by fans chowing down on the Eastern European dumplings and Whiting residents who don pierogi costumes. You can compete in the Pierogi Toss, enter an eating contest, participate in a parade or boogie down in the polka competition, all in honor of the little pierogi.
FREE Wrigleyville Block Party Fri 27–Sun 29 at 11am. East side of Clark St between Addison St and Waveland Aves (chicago.cubs.mlb.com). All that rooting for the Cubbies pays off with a series of gratis street bashes hosted by the team. Hopefully fans can bear loads of beer, live music, games, food and more.
Bristol Renaissance Faire Sat 28, Sun 29, 10am–7pm. 12550 120th Ave, Kenosha, WI (847-395-7773, renfair.com/bristol). $19.95, advance $17.95, kids $9.50, advance kids $7.50. Have a jolly olde time and butcher your favorite European accent as you engage in live-action fantasy play, enjoy interactive riddles, cheer on your favorite jousting knight or revel in period performances from 1574. The festival takes place Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day in July, August and early September.
Celebrate Clark Street Sat 28, 1–11pm; Sun 29, 1–10pm. Clark St between Morse and Touhy Aves (773-508-5885, celebrateclarkstreet.com). $5, family $10. Rogers Park celebrates diversity with two live world-music stages, food from ethnic restaurants and various vendors.
Ghana Fest Sat 28, 10am–11pm. Washington Park, 5600 Russell Dr (773-960-5416, ghananationalcouncil1.org). $10, under 13 free. Eat fufu and don a kente for a day of Ghanian culture, music and food.
Randolph Street Market Festival Sat 28, 10am–6pm; Sun 29, 10am–5pm. 1350 block of W Randolph St (312-666-1200, chicagoantiquemarket.com). $10, online $8, kids under 12 free. Holding both the Chicago Antique Market and Indie Designer Market, this fest is on the last weekend of every month through September. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and a global goods bazaar. Peruse antiques or bring your own for appraisal.
Taste of Lincoln Avenue Sat 28, Sun 29, noon–10pm. N Lincoln Ave between Fullerton and Wrightwood Aves (773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com). $10. The 29th annual fest in the heart of Lincoln Park features more than 250 vendors and almost 40 acts on five stages. A free standalone carnival entertains the kids while the Lill Street Craft Fair brings handmade goods to Lincoln Avenue. Florida alt-rockers Anberlin and Michael Allman, the son of Gregg Allman, headline.
* Wicker Park Fest Sat 28, Sun 29, noon–10pm. Milwaukee Ave between North Ave and Paulina St (773-384-2672, wickerparkfest.com). $5. The Crotch hosts this hipster-friendly fest that features three stages of Pitchfork-quality tunes on the cheap. This year’s larger fest blocks off more streets for additional arts, crafts, food and family fun.