Belize Day in the Park, Aug 1 Southwest side of Washington Park, 5700 S Russell Dr (chicagobelizedayinthepark.org). 10:30am–10pm; $3, kids free. Experience the food, crafts, music and culture of this Central American country.
* Wisconsin State Fair, Aug 5–15 Wisconsin State Fair Park, 640 S 84th St West Allis, WI (wistatefair.com). Mon–Thu 8am–11pm; Fri, Sat, Sun 8, 8am–midnight; Sun 15, 8am–9pm. $9, seniors $6, kids ages 7–11 $4, kids 6 and under free. This is your classic state fair with a few unique extras, like wine-making contests, a live birthing tent and the fair’s famous dairy-filled cream puffs. Check out live performances, including from Three Dog Night, the Steve Miller Band, Jordin Sparks and the Michael Jackson Laser Show. Some live entertainment requires separate tickets. Friday is two for $10 admission for Illinois residents with IDs.
Chicago West Suburban Festa Italiana, Aug 6–8 Centennial Park, Lake St at Rohlwing Rd, Addison (oshows.com). Fri 5–11pm, Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10pm; $7, seniors $5, kids under 10 $3. Take a trip to Italy via Addison. Consume Italian food and wine amid live entertainment, Italian vendors and more. Don’t forget to say grazie.
Lake County Fair, Aug 6–15 Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S Court St, Crown Point, IN (lake-county-fair.com). 9am–10pm; $4, kids ages 9–12 $2, kids 8 and under free, admission before 3pm Mon–Thu free. Started in the mid-19th century to celebrate the agriculture of Lake County, this fair continues today as a bash with carnival rides, truck pulls, demo derbies and live music. Plant passions still run deep: Check out the Zucchini Zoo and Crop Creations contests.
* Lollapalooza, Aug 6–8 Grant Park from Lake Shore Dr to Michigan Ave (lollapalooza.com). 11am–10pm; ticket prices vary, see website. The behemoth that is Lolla is upon us and boasts another amazing lineup of acts from all walks of music. This year, Lolla welcomes Lady Gaga, Green Day, Soundgarden and many more.
Taylor Street Italian Festival, Aug 5–8 Taylor St from Loomis St to Ashland Ave (oshows.com). Thu 5–11pm, Fri 11:30am–11pm, Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10pm; $3–$7. Put away some pasta and wine during this Italian bash. Festivities include live music, activities for kids and, of course, Italian food.
FREE Evanston Lakeshore Arts Festival, Aug 7, 8 Dawes Park, Sheridan Rd at Church St, Evanston (cityofevanston.org). 11am–6pm. For more than three decades, our neighbor to the north has brought art, jazz, classical music and family activities to Dawes Park for this annual event.
* Northalsted Market Days, Aug 7, 8 Halsted St between Belmont Ave and Addison St (chicagoevents.com). 11am–10pm, $7. Dubbed the Midwest’s largest two-day street festival, this year’s gay event has a theme of “Carnival." We’re thinking this means you can finally break out that outfit of…well, you’ve always been able to wear pretty much whatever you want. Experience hundreds of vendors and thousands of opportunities to people-watch. Taking the stage this year are Joan Jett and Jon Secada.
Retro on Roscoe, Aug 7, 8 2000 W Roscoe St at Damen Ave (starevents.com). Noon–10pm, $5. This neighborhood event mixes food and live music with vintage vendors and an antique car show. Chili mavens: Test those skills at the Windy City Chili Cook-off.
FREE Veggie Fest, Aug 7, 8 Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Rd, Naperville (veggiefestchicago.org). 11am–7pm. You won’t find any ribs smoking at this meat-lovers’ nightmare. But you will find some of the city’s hottest vegetarian restaurants and vendors offering cooking demos and meat-free samples.
The World of Faeries Festival, Aug 7, 8 Vasa Park, 35 W 217 Rte 31, South Elgin (theworldoffaeries.com). Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 10am–5pm; $10, seniors $8, kids 12 and under free. Grab your wings and fairy dust and fly over to the land of Fae. While you make friends with other fantastical beings, listen to live acoustic music and check out the fairy art and handcrafts.
* Tug Fest, Aug 12–14 Port Byron Business District, Main St from Walnut St to Quarry St, Port Byron; Front St from Wisconsin St to Ewing St, LeClaire, IA (tugfest.org). Thu 6–11pm, Fri 4pm–midnight, Sat 7am–midnight. Illinois side: donations accepted. Iowa side: Aug 12 free, Fri and Sat $3, two-day wristband $5. Port Byron, Illinois, and LeClaire, Iowa, play a giant game of tug-of-war using a 2,400-foot rope draped across the Mississippi River. Witness the big tug Sunday at 1pm. Beyond the rope war, each city has live music, carnival rides and fireworks.
* FREE Mendota Sweet Corn Festival, Aug 12–15 Illinois Ave at Jefferson St, Mendota (sweetcornfestival.com). Thu 6pm–midnight, Fri 11am–midnight, Sat 9am–midnight, Sun 9am–6pm. This fest has ears as far as the eye can see. The bash boasts a flea market, live music, carnival rides, a parade and—oh yes—50 tons of free hot corn cooked to golden perfection in a vintage steam engine.
Ginza Holiday Festival, Aug 13–15 Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W Menomonee St (ginzachicago.com). Fri 5:30–9pm, Sat 11:30am–9:30pm, Sun 11:30am–6pm; $5, seniors and students $4, kids under 12 free. This fest gets physical with Japanese classical and folk dance and martial arts. Wind down with Japanese cuisine like sushi or cold udon. Craftsmen from Tokyo demonstrate generations-old skills.
* Illinois State Fair, Aug 13–22 Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Ave, Springfield (217-782-6661). 7am–midnight; $5, seniors and kids ages 5–12 $2, kids under 5 free. Watch tractor pulls, horse races and high-dive acts, or get in on the action with rides and wine tastings. The fair welcomes live music from Lady Antebellum, Cheap Trick and Darius Rucker. Scope out the Butter Cow, the fair’s unofficial icon, a life-size cow sculpted out of 500 pounds of butter.
FREE Wood Dale Prairie Fest, Aug 13–15 Wood Dale Rd at Commercial St, Wood Dale (chicagoevents.com). Fri 6–11pm, Sat 3–11pm, Sun 1–6pm. Take it easy at this suburban fest of food and musical acts, including Foghat.
* FREE Chicago Air & Water Show, Aug 14, 15 North Avenue Beach, 1600 N Lake Shore Dr (chicagoairandwatershow.us). 11am–4pm. Don’t be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event. Join throngs of people at North Avenue Beach and surrounding areas to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
FREE Chicago Korean Festival, Aug 14, 15 3200–3400 W Bryn Mawr Ave (ckacc.org). Sat 11am–10pm, Sun 11am–9pm. Take a trip to Korea without worrying about that pesky passport. Experience the traditional dances, food and culture of Korea during this festival.
Oktoberfest in August, Aug 14 Schwaben Center, 301 Weiland Rd, Buffalo Grove (schwabenverein.org). 3pm–midnight, $5. Patterned after the Cannstatter Volksfest in Germany, this fest overflows with beer and food. Live German music and folk dancing put some extra oompah in the weekend.
FREE USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship, Aug 14 Hazel and Vernon Aves, Glencoe (dgcycling.com). 8am. Get in gear for this biking championship and festival. The amateur races start at 8am and take place until the pro race begins at 4:50pm. Head over to the beer tent for some post-pedaling food, brews and cycling stories.
Wrigleyville Summerfest, Aug 14, 15 3350 N Seminary Ave between School and Roscoe Sts (starevents.com). Sat noon–10pm, Sun 10am–9pm; $5. Summer fun in Wrigleyville doesn’t just mean rooting for the Cubs. Head here for food, live music and kid zones.
FREE South Elgin Riverfest Express, Aug 19–22 Panton Mill Park, 10 N Water St, South Elgin (riverfestexpress.net). Thu 5–10pm, Fri 5–11pm, Sat noon–11:30pm, Sun noon–10pm. This bash features a carnival, crafts and a car show. Check out the live music each night. On Saturday, the Neverly Brothers play.
FREE Edison Park Fest, Aug 20–22 Edison Park, 6730 N Olmsted Ave (edisonpark.com). Fri 5–11pm, Sat 9am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm. Live music, food and bingo reign. Parade your pooch during the annual dog show.
FREE Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, Aug 20–22 6900–7000 N Glenwood Ave (glenwoodave.org). Fri 6–10pm; Sat, Sun 11am–9pm. Art, theater and music combine at this art fair. On Friday, the kickoff party takes place with performances only, no exhibits.
FREE Gold Coast Art Fair, Aug 20–22 Butler Field, Grant Park, Monroe St and Lake Shore Dr (amdurproductions.com). Fri noon–7pm; Sat 10am–3pm, Sun 10am–5pm. This giant craft happening is in its 53rd year. Kids’ activities and music accompany the crafts.
North Side Summerfest, Aug 20–22 4050 N Lincoln Ave (starevents.com). Fri 5–10pm, Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–9pm; $5. Celebrate summer with arts and crafts, plenty of food and bands.
FREE Ukrainian Heritage Festival, Aug 21, 22 Smith Park, 2526 W Grand Ave (uccaillinois.org). Noon–10pm. This fest has celebrated Ukrainian arts and crafts, music, dance and food for 27 years.
* FREE Chicago Dancing Festival, Aug 26–28 Various locations throughout Chicagoland (chicagodancingfestival.com). Thu 7:30–9:30pm, Fri 6–8pm, Sat 7:30–9:30pm. Even though this terrific festival of international dance companies is free, tickets sell out faster than Lar Lubovitch can plié. Check out Thursday’s dance performances at the Harris Theater (205 Upper Randolph St). The Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E Chicago Ave) hosts Friday’s lecture and demonstration. The moves continue on Saturday at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion (201 E Randolph St). Keep an eye on the website for ticket-release dates.
FREE Bucktown Arts Fest, Aug 28, 29 Senior Citizens Park, 2300 N Oakley Ave (bucktownartsfest.com). 11am–7pm. Bringing crowds of shoppers together for more than 20 years, this fest sells handmade goods and features free poetry, dance and theatrical performances.
Lake View Music Fest, Aug 28, 29 Sheffield Ave at Addison St (chicagoevents.com). Noon–10pm; before 5pm $5, after 5pm $7. Stand in the shadow of Wrigley Field and hear live music. Food and drink from neighborhood restaurants and bars round out this bash.
FREE Taste of Greece, Aug 28, 29 Greek Town, 100 S Halsted St (greektownchicago.org). Noon–11pm. Practice your best “Opa!" and head down to this celebration of Greek food, music and dancing.
Taste of Romania, Aug 28, 29 California Ave at Addison St (tasteofromania.net). 11am–10pm, $12. Take it back to the Old Country at this street fest featuring grape stomping, traditional dance, folk music and a spit roast of pig, lamb and ox.
Ferraris in the Loop, Aug 29 Italian Village, 71 W Monroe St (italianvillage-chicago.com). 11am–2pm, $30. Check out some sporty cars and fill your stomach during this annual event. The admission price gets you an Italian buffet, wine, music and the chance to check out more than 50 Ferraris.