Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival, Jun 3, 4Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr (chicagoicecreamfestival.com). 7–9:30pm; $25, Jun 2 opening-night party $75. Sample artisan ice cream and gelato from micro-creameries and then watch celeb chefs like Jimmy Bannos whip up special desserts. Scream for ice-cream makers to scoop up first prize during the Great Chicago Brain Freeze contest. Come to the opening-night party on Jun 2 at Café Brauer (2021 N Stockton Dr) and rub elbows with the foodie community.
* FREEMayfest Chicago, Jun 3–64700 N Lincoln Ave (mayfestchicago.com). Thu 5–9:30pm, Fri 5–11pm; Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10pm. Good food, dancing and traditional keg-tapping ensure a good time at this annual German fest.
*Beer Hoptacular, Jun 4, 5The Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W Lawrence Ave (beerhoptacular.com). Fri 6:30–10:30pm, Sat 1–5pm and 6:30–10:30pm; $55 per session, advance $45 per session. Learn the art of home brewing during three sample sessions that feature more than 200 small-batch beers. Vote for your favorite during the "Beer Hoptacular Beer of the Year" contest.
FREEChicago Eastside Millennium Art Festival, Jun 4–6Lake St at Michigan Ave (amdurproductions.com). Fri noon–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm. See works from 150 artisans, including ceramics, glass, jewelry, sculpture and paintings.
Great Wisconsin Cheese Fest, Jun 4–6Doyle Park 100 Van Buren St, Little Chute, WI (wi-littlechute.civicplus.com). Fri 5pm–midnight, Sat 10:30am–midnight, Sun 11am–5pm; $5, kids under 12 $3, kids under 3 free, Sundays free. For the lactose-intolerant, this would be a bummer. Everyone else, enter in the cheese-curd-eating contest, join the big cheese breakfast and check out cheese-carving demos.
*Verge Music Festival, Jun 4, 5Summerfest Grounds, 200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI (vergemusicfestival.com). Fri 5pm–midnight, Sat 2pm–midnight; $35, advance $25, advance two-day pass $40. Milwaukee gets a young, relevant addition to its long-running Summerfest. For its inaugural year, the fest welcomes Weezer, Three Days Grace and She & Him.
FREEChicago Gospel Music Festival, Jun 5, 6Millennium Park, N Michigan Ave at Randolph St (explorechicago.org). 11am–9pm. This inspirational fest features more than 50 performances, plus family activities and a gospel art fair. Dr. Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Chorale return this year and kick off Saturday night’s lineup.
* FREECuervo Games, Jun 5Southport Ave at Addison St (facebook.com/cuervo). Noon–10pm. Go head-to-head with other teams in tequila-themed games like the Waterfall Climb and Agave Airwalk. A marketing shtick, yes, but it sounds like a blast—plus, teams vie for a chance to go to the national finals in Las Vegas. Form a team on Facebook or walk on as a team at 1pm the day of the games.
*Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale, Jun 5, 6Division St between Leavitt and Ashland Aves (do-divisionstreetfest.com). Noon–10pm, $5. Highlighting the border that splits hipster havens West Town and Wicker Park, this fest runs ten city blocks along Division Street. Sip on PBR and shop the street’s many boutiques at a massive sidewalk sale. This year, the crowded evening concerts get an extra stage. Headliners include Ponys, YACHT, Pelican and Hood Internet.
FREE57th Street Art Fair, Jun 5, 6Kenwood Ave at 57th St (57thstreetartfair.org). Sat 11am–6pm, Sun 10am–5pm. Around for more than 60 years, this fest can boast that it’s the oldest juried craft fair in Chicago. Snag paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics and more.
June Jam, Jun 5, 6Wolcott Ave, 3500 N. Hoyne (starevents.com). Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–9pm; $5. Jam over to Roscoe Village for a weekend of music, food and games.
Taste of Bryn Mawr, Jun 10Bryn Mawr Ave at Broadway (edgewaterdev.org). 6–9pm, $35. Pay one price and try food from dozens of restaurants. The admission price will also get you live entertainment and special discounts from participating businesses.
FREEChicago Blues Festival, Jun 11–13Grant Park, Jackson Blvd and Columbus Dr (explorechicago.org). 11am–9:30pm. Get the blues all weekend long, and feel good about it. This year, the purported largest free blues festival in the world celebrates Howlin’ Wolf’s centennial birthday with a set by TK Soul. Also see East of Edens Soul Express, Bobby Parker, Guitar Shorty and others.
Party at St. Mike’s, Jun 11–13St. Michael’s Church, 1633 N Cleveland Ave (st-mikes.org). Fri 5–10pm, Sat 3–10pm, Sun 3–9pm; Fri, Sun $5; Sat $10; advance three-day pass $12. The peaceful streets around this 150-year-old church are transformed into a neighborhood festival of food, music and bags. Better Than Ezra performs Saturday.
FREEPride of the Fox RiverFest, Jun 11–13Along the banks of Fox River on Illinois Route 64, St. Charles (prideofthefox.com). 11am–10pm. Watch dragon-boat races, duck races and water-skiing shows during this annual river-centric shindig. Watch professionals dig through 40 tons of the stuff in a sand-sculpture contest.
*Ribfest Chicago, Jun 11–13Lincoln Ave at Irving Park Rd (ribfest-chicago.com). Fri 5–10pm; Sat, Sun noon–10pm. $5. Cheer on grill masters at the Best Ribs contest while you listen to live music. For those with a big appetite, sample ribs from vendors. Extreme rib lovers should pack extra wet wipes for Rib Mania, which touts itself as the Midwest’s first professional rib-eating contest.
Andersonville Midsommarfest, Jun 12, 135200 N Clark St (starevents.com). 11am–10pm, $5. This fest’s a Swede deal: Andersonville celebrates its Swedish heritage (and its gay and lesbian residents with two days of Nordic food and performers).
Chicago Botanic Garden Wine Festival, Jun 12, 13Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe (chicagobotanicgardenwinefestival.com). Noon–6pm, $35, advance $25, designated-driver ticket $10, under 21 with paid adult free. Throw around terms like herbaceous and meaty as you sip from 200 varieties of wine at the beautiful botanic gardens. This fete also features wine-tasting seminars, cooking demonstrations, food and live music.
FREEChicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair, Jun 12, 13Dearborn St between Congress Pkwy and Polk St (chicagotribune.com/entertainment/events/printersrow). 10am–6pm, ticketed Lit After Dark event Sat 6–10pm. Book it to this fest, with its usual full gamut of titles for book seekers. Festivalgoers get the chance to hear poetry readings, author discussions and debates.
FREECity Wilds Festival, Jun 12, 13North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N Pulaski Rd (chicagoparkdistrict.com). 10am–3pm. Learn about our botanic and wildlife friends through guided tours of this 46-acre preserve. This nature fest also features workshops, nature crafts and children’s storytelling.
*The Metronome Celebration, Jun 12, 13Milwaukee Ave from Armitage Ave to Rockwell Ave (metronomechicago.com). Noon–10pm, $5. Dance (or bob your head in true festival-style) to more than 20 bands at the Latin, indie, punk and folk stages, including headliners Akron/Family, Alejandro Marcovich and Pegboy. Kids can party like a rocker at the expanded "School’s Out Forever Zone."
Old Town Art Fair, Jun 12, 13Between Menomonee and Wisconsin Sts, from Lincoln Park W to Sedgwick St (oldtownartfair.org). 10am–6pm; $7, kids under 12 free. This craft extravaganza has been taking over Old Town for more than six decades. A garden walk and self-guided historical tour of the Old Town Triangle District give this weekend event additional arty flair.
Wells Street Art Festival, Jun 12, 131500 N Wells St (chicagoevents.com). 10am–10pm; before 5pm $7, after 5pm $10. More than 300 artisans display their wares at this fest, which also features live music.
Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, Jun 13St. Paul Woods, Oakton St and Austin Ave, Morton Grove (jewishfestival.org). 11am–6pm, $5. Say shalom to the 30th anniversary of this fest. This year, the fete hosts primarily Chicago-based musicians and artists. After performances, stock up on kosher treats.
FREEFiesta Puertorriqueñas, Jun 15–20Division St between Western Ave and Rockwell St (prparadechicago.org). Tue–Fri, Sun 4–10pm; Sat noon–10pm. Come summer, the party in Humboldt Park never seems to end. The neighborhood’s fiesta season begins with one of the largest and lengthiest fests in Chicago. Originating in 1964, this Puerto Rican heritage celebration includes performances by Latin entertainers, carnival rides, food vendors, and arts-and-crafts vendors.
*Just for Laughs, Jun 15–19Various locations throughout Chicagoland (justforlaughschicago.com). Hours and prices vary. Back in Chicago for a second year, this side-splitting TBS-sponsored fest ropes in comedy powerhouses like Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric the Entertainer and Denis Leary. Check the fest’s website for exact show times and locations.
* FREEChicago SummerDance, Jun 17–Aug 29Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S Michigan Ave (explorechicago.org). Thu–Sat 6–9:30pm; Sun 4–7pm. Kick up your heels at this annual series of couples dances on Thursday–Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. For the first hour of each event, a professional instructor conducts dance lessons. After that, let the world (or, at least, Chicago) see your skills during live music and dancing sessions.
FREEChicago Peace Fest, Jun 18–20Lincoln Park, Stockton and LaSalle Drs (myspace.com/peacefreedomfest). Noon–9pm. Take a deep breath (of air or another substance) and slowly let it out. This free music fest celebrates peace, diversity and positive attitudes, dude.
Festa Pasta Vino, Jun 18–20Oakley Ave between 24th and 25th Sts (oshows.com). Fri 5–11pm, Sat noon–11, Sun noon–10pm; $3–$7. If all you know about Italian culture comes from The Godfather, head down to Chicago’s Little Tuscany area for an education. While you feast on food and sip vino, you can buy some Italian merchandise or, on Sunday, head to a special Mass.
FREEFiesta Back of the Yards, Jun 18–2047th St at Damen Ave (bync.org). Fri 4–10pm, Sat 10am–10pm, Sun noon–10pm. Dancing, 37 live bands, a carnival and cultural performances give this fest a distinctive Latino flavor.
MidSummer Festival, Jun 18–202500 W Bryn Mawr Ave (chicagoevents.com). Fri 6–10pm, Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–8pm. $5. Celebrate the Summer Solstice and say farewell to ever-longer, sunnier days. This bash brings together the Scandinavian culture of Andersonville and the German culture of Lincoln Square with live music and lots of food.
The Raven, Jun 18–20Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland Ave (starevents.com). Fri 6–10pm, Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–9pm; $5. Fly on over for a weekend full of music, food and goodies from vendors. Proceeds benefit the park and its playground restoration.
*Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Jun 18, 19Oak Brook Polo Grounds, 31st St at York Rd, Oak Brook (chicagoscots.org). Fri 4–10pm, Sat 8am–9pm. Fri: $12, kids 12 and under free; Sat: $17, kids 12 and under free; VIP weekend pass $75. The athletes at these games have some serious Scottish skills. Events include piping and drumming contests, a haggis-hurling contest for women and a knobby-knees contest for men. Celtic music performances and Scotch tastings also take place.
Taste of Randolph Street, Jun 18–20900 W Randolph St (starevents.com). Fri 5–11pm, Sat 2–11pm, Sun 2–10pm; $10. This culinary festival boasts a colorful mix of neighborhood vendors, music and restos, including La Sardine and Veerasway.
* FREETakin’ It to the Streets, Jun 19Marquette Park, 6734 S Kedzie Ave (streets2010.com). 9am–9pm. This community festival organized by IMAN (Inner city Muslim Action Network) offers wellness workshops and health screenings for families. But, for us, the real draw is the lineup of hip-hop and world music: Performers include Mos Def, Tinariwen and Brother Ali.
FREECantigny Art Festival, Jun 19, 20Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Rd, Wheaton (amdurproductions.com). 10am–5pm. Check out artwork, a kids’ mural-making station, live music and more. Explore the First Division Museum for free.
Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts, Jun 19, 20Chicago Ave at Main St, Evanston (custerfair.com). 10am–9pm, $1. Don’t worry—this fest isn’t violent. Named after the street where it started (Custer Avenue), the event boasts 350 artists, plenty of food and entertainment.
Bloomington Gold Corvette Show, Jun 24–27Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E Main St, St. Charles (bloomingtongold.com). 7am–5pm; $20, advance $15. Check out the sweet rides at the “Granddaddy of Corvette Shows." The show also features a contest for best classic Vette and a collector car show, which features a variety of shiny autos.
FREEChicago Arabesque, Jun 24–26Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Sts (chicagoarabesque.com). Thu, Fri 10am–6pm; Sat 11am–7pm. In the middle of downtown Chicago, explore the dance, food and music of the Arab world. To get active after you indulge in Middle Eastern cuisine, take part in the debkeh (a traditional Arab line dance) competition.
Chicago Salsa Festival, Jun 24–27Various locations around Chicago (laboriqua.com). Thu 9pm–4am, Fri–Sun 10am–4am. Nightly entertainment pass $25–$50, Fri–Sat workshops and entertainment day pass $95, Sun workshops and entertainment day pass $90, festival pass $250. Now’s your chance to become a sexy salsa dancer (or at least imagine yourself that way). Salsa workshops and entertainment take place Thursday at Excalibur (640 N Dearborn St), Friday at the Palmer House (17 E Monroe St) and Saturday at the Park West (322 W Armitage Ave). Sunday, the fete will groove at Cubby Bear (1059 W Addison St) and SummerDance (601 S Michigan Ave).
*Milwaukee Summerfest, Jun 24–Jul 4Summerfest Grounds, 200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI (summerfest.com). Noon–midnight. Weekends and weekdays after 4pm $15, weekdays noon–4pm $8, seniors and kids ages 3–10 $3, kids 2 and under free, advance $6–$13, three-day pass $33, additional fees for Marcus Amphitheater concerts. Jam to the songs of big musical acts or come early and see up-and-comers on the cheap. This year’s "World’s Largest Music Festival" features Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Carrie Underwood, Usher and Lady Antebellum.
*Cans Music Fest, Jun 25, 26Cans Bar & Canteen, 1640 N Damen Ave (cansbar.com/chicago). 4–11pm, $5. Everybody have fun tonight, because Wang Chung and Coolio are playing this annual throwback music fest.
*Chicago Pride Fest, Jun 25, 26Halsted St at Waveland Ave (chicagoevents.com). Fri 3–10pm, Sat 11am–10pm; $7. Nonstop energy pours into the streets during this gay festival. Enjoy food, art and music from the likes of ’80s teen queen Tiffany on Friday and Saturday. The fest continues Sunday, June 27, at noon with the annual Pride Parade.
FREELong Grove Strawberry Festival, Jun 25–27307 Old McHenry Rd, Long Grove (longgroveonline.com). 10am–6pm. Try strawberry-flavored and inspired treats like chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry doughnuts and strawberry martinis. This fruit-filled fete also features live music, shopping and children’s activities.
* FREETaste of Chicago, Jun 25–Jul 4Columbus Dr from Balbo Dr to Monroe Dr (tasteofchicago.us). Jun 25–Jul 2, 11am–9pm; Jul 3, 11am–7pm; Jul 4, 11am–6pm. Break out your pants with the elastic waistband, and make room for food from dozens of vendors. A strip of 12 tickets costs $8, and Taste portions—a decent-sized food sample—can be purchased with 2–4 tickets. If you need a break from chewing, check out music at various stages, including headliners Salt-n-Pepa (Jun 25), Gavin Rossdale (Jun 26), Rob Thomas (Jul 2) and Steve Miller Band (Jul 3).
Chicago Summerfest in Lincoln Park, Jun 26, 27Clark St between Armitage and Diversey Aves (starevents.com). Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–9pm; $5. In the heart of Lincoln Park, take in live music, tons of food and a family area.
FREEDyke March, Jun 267054 S Jeffery Blvd (chicagodykemarch.wordpress.com). 2:30pm. The girls get their chance to celebrate summer outside of dude-heavy Pride and Market Days. After a rally, walk north to Jackson Park (63rd St and Hayes Dr). Post-march festivities include live DJs and performances in the park.
Fountain Square Art Festival, Jun 26, 27Sherman Ave and Church St, Evanston (chicagoevents.com). Sat 10am–9pm, Sun 10am–6pm; $5. Now in its 31st year, this fest welcomes more than 250 artisans for the weekend of juried outdoor crafts.
*Green Music Fest, Jun 26, 27Chicago Ave between Noble St and Ashland Ave (greenmusicfestchicago.com). Noon–10pm, $5. Grab your reusable tote and hit this ecofriendly fest. It offers environmentally conscious bands and green vendors powered by alternative-energy sources, so you can listen to some tunes, shop and feel as if you helped the planet. This year, the Wailers and Maps and Atlases headline.
Girl Blast, Jun 27Ann Sather, 909 W Belmont Ave (773-348-2378). 2–10pm, $10. After the Pride Parade, go party with the ladies. This annual lesbian party features food, drinks and some celeb DJs.
Cornerstone Festival, Jun 28–Jul 3N County Highway 15 at 23325 N Cornerstone Rd, Marietta (cornerstonefestival.com). 10am–midnight. Festival pass around $126, kids 12 and under free. Bands and those down with JC gather together for this giant Christian music fest that packs in tens of thousands for camping, prayer and rock & roll.