Chicago Local Life

The Chicago Suburbs' 8 Best Summer Festivals and Fairs

Chicago summers are for music festivals, markets, and street fests, and that’s not exclusive to the city itself. The Chicago suburbs are teeming with weekend activities for the entire family, without the hassle of getting to the city. Festivals highlighting music, beer, food, culture, and crafts happen nearly every weekend all over the suburbs.

May 24-26: Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest — Oak Forest

Photo courtesy of Chicago Gaelic Park

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest has been a tradition in Oak Forest for 32 years at Gaelic Park. The four-day festival is a culmination of Irish food, music, and drinks, including hot Irish tea, Guinness beer, and more. The festival is a Memorial Day weekend staple for southside residents, and it’s great for the whole family. The Irish horse exhibition, petting zoo, and carnival rides will keep the kids busy while adults enjoy live music and entertainment.

June 14-15: The Scottish Festival & Highland Games — Itasca

Scottish Festival photo by Shutterstock

The Scottish Festival & Highland Games in Itasca is in its 33rd year of bringing Scottish culture, games, and entertainment to the Chicago suburbs. Festival-goers can partake in a game of Caber toss or various competitions involving haggis. There will also be a whiskey and spirit tasting. The family-friendly event has a kid’s entertainment tent, food vendors, and Celtic dog breeds. All proceeds from the fest go to Chicago Scots.

June 13-16: Old Canal Days Craft and Art Fair — Lockport

Old Canal Days Craft and Art Fair photo courtesy of Craft Productions

There are more than 100 vendors and booths of handmade crafts at the Old Canal Days Craft and Art Fair in downtown Lockport. The art fair and four-day festival features live music, a beer garden, wine tent, and a carnival.

July 3-7: Frontier Days Festival — Arlington Heights

Photo courtesy of Frontier Days Festival

Frontier Days Festival in Arlington Heights is a five-day festival at Recreation Park. There are three stages of entertainment, an adult and teen volleyball tournament, a Fourth of July parade, soccer tournament, and marketplace of one-of-a-kind arts and crafts. The weekend marketplace has been a staple in the community for 43 years. The Frontier Days Stampede takes place on Sunday with a 5K and 10K run, 5K walk, and quarter-mile kids dash. 

July 3-6: Naperville Ribfest — Naperville

Photo courtesy of Naperville Ribfest

Naperville Ribfest is one of the summer’s biggest festivals in Chicagoland. This year, Ribfest is featuring big-name artists Billy Idol, Flo Rida, and Brantley Gilbert. There's also a family fun area with a petting zoo and carnival. But the main attractions, of course, are the barbecue ribs, pulled pork, barbeque chicken, and delicious sauces. Food vendors bring their A-game here, as there's also a nationally recognized barbecue contest. Ribfest takes place in Knoch Park off South West Street.

July 17-21: Kane County Fair — St. Charles

Photo courtesy of Kane County Fair

Kane County Fair in St. Charles is a 150-year-old tradition in the far western suburbs. Taking place from Wednesday through Sunday, Kane County Fair features professional championship bull riders, a demolition derby, a kiddy land, pig races, a petting zoo, car show, and Brunon Blaszak’s Royal Bengal Tigers show. Admission is free on Wednesday and pricing ranges throughout the weekend.

July 27-28: Glencoe Festival of Art — Glencoe

Glencoe Festival of Art photo courtesy of Chicagoland Art Festivals

The Glencoe Festival of Art in downtown Glencoe is an art-lovers dream. There are more than 110 juried artists displaying their work and conducting live painting and interactive demos. A wide array of medium-spanning art works are available for purchase at the family-friendly event. Admission is free, so feel free to buy a new piece or just to admire the exhibitions. 

Aug 17: Oak Park Micro Brew Review — Oak Park

Photo courtesy of Oak Park Micro Brew Review

The 12th annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review is not only a hub for craft beer fanatics, but it bills itself as the largest zero-waste craft beer fest in the Midwest (meaning the festival aims to divert more than 80% of waste from landfills). Held on Marion Street in Oak Park, the microbrew fest will feature more than 200 beers, live music throughout the day, and plenty of food to keep patrons going. Tickets to the fest cost $55, and there will be a limited number of tickets available at the gate.

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