Summer festivals in McHenry County pack in the fun with thrill rides, midway games, live entertainment, kids' activities, good eats, contests and more!
Harvard Milk Days.
May 22-25: Rotary Spring Fling Carnival – Rides, food and fun takes place at
May 28-30: McHenry Lions Carnival – Rides by Skinner Amuseuments at Petersen Park, McHenry, mchenrytownship.com.
June 4-7: Harvard Milk Days – The 74th Annual Harvard Milk Days festival, one of the longest-running festivals in Illinois, celebrates is dairy heritage this year with the theme:“Looking to the Past to Create a Bright Future." Enjoy a two-plus-hour parade, carnival, food, fireworks, petting zoo and other contest and entertainment, milkdays.com.
June 6: Taste of Downtown McHenry – Enjoy food from 18 downtown McHenry restaurants on Riverside Drive, Green Street and Main Street. Each will offer a taste of some of their favorite food or beverages for a very nominal cost. Many shops will be offering discounts and specials that day, mchenrydowntown.biz.
June 6: Rock the Routes – Car and motorcycle show, live music, local food vendors, fun for kids, free admission, free souvenir cups to the first 250 people, free shuttle from the Fox River Grove Metra station, Stone Hill Center, routes 14 and 22, Fox River Grove, foxrivergrove.org.
June 21-22: Art on the Fox – This fine arts show at Riverfront Park in downtown Algonquin attracts artists and attendees from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Artists and visitors will enjoy the beautiful park setting located on the Fox River, artonthefox.artcall.org.
June 28: A Day at Petersen Farm – Enjoy live music, a magician, cow milking, coloring contest, petting zoo, hayrides, historic farmhouse and barn tours, garden, kids' activities, food vendors, McHenry County Farm Bureau and 4-H Club, 4112 McCullom Lake Road, McHenry, mchenrychamber.com.
June 28-29: Richmond Fine Arts Festival – This juried show and exhibit of original artwork will be held in downtown Richmond at Route 12 and Broadway Street, richmond-il.com.
Lakeside Festival, Crystal Lake.
July 2-5: Lakeside Festival – It’s “The Grandaddy of All Festivals” in McHenry County. More than 50,000 attendees flock to Crystal Lake to experience live music, plenty of delicious food and beverages, art shows, thrill rides, midway games, fireworks and tours of Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, gallery exhibits, including the Civil War-era Dole Mansion, lakesidelegacy.org.
July 9-12: Rockin’ Ribfest – Set in Sunset Park in Lake in the Hills, Ribfest features nationally renowned ribbers and a cook-off, great family entertainment, car show, and some of the best bands in Chicagoland and beyond. Presented by LITH Rotary, lithribfest.com.
July 12: Heritage Fair – White elephant sale, antique auction, quilt appraisals, pie baking, garden plants, magicians, music and more at the McHenry County Historical Society museum, mchenrycountyhistory.org.
Fiesta Days, McHenry.
July 10-19: Fiesta Days – Set in McHenry's Petersen Park and throughout town, this wildly popular, 10-day fest features great food, a beer tent, theater, contests, live entertainment, midway rides, 5K/10K, car show, events for children, arts and crafts, teen night, parade and more, mchenryfiestadays.com.
July 15-19: Summer in the Park – Celebrate summer with the city of Woodstock with a weekend of family fun with music, swimming, children’s entertainment, games, crafts, movies and more, woodstockil.gov.
July 19: Woodstock Folk Festival – Held on the Historic Woodstock Square, the music event includes main stage performances, open mic, a children’s area and workshops, woodstockfolkmusic.com.
July 23-26: Algonquin Founders’ Days – Located in Algonquin Lakes Park, festivities include a carnival, food vendors and live entertainment. Activities such as the Cardboard Boat Regatta, Founders’ Run, bags tourney, Standup Paddle Board Challenge and fireworks are held at Riverfront Park, algonquinfoundersdays.com.
July 25-26; August 1-2; and 8-9: Woodstock Mozart Festival – With intimate seating, the halls of the Woodstock Opera House and the Place de la Musique render concerts reminiscent of the era of these masters as the listener enjoys the unique experience featuring a superb orchestra and world-class artists, mozartfest.org.
July 31-August 2: McHenry Rotary Club’s Blues, Brews and BBQ – McHenry Rotary proudly presents a fun-filled, blues fest at McHenry’s Petersen Park with barbecue foods, a cook-off and home-brew contest and some of the best blues music the Chicago area has to offer while you sip on an ice-cold brew, mchenryrotarybluesbrewsandbbqs.com.
McHenry County Fair, Woodstock.
August 5-9: McHenry County Fair – This year’s fair celebrates all things “Homemade-Handgrown” at the fairgrounds in Woodstock. Enjoy a variety of attractions and entertainment like chainsaw log artists, magic show, pedal pulls, music, bingo, contests, food and drink, demolition derby, motocross, tuck and tractor pulls, and midway rides and games, mchenrycountyfair.com.
Blast on the Beach, Main Beach, Crystal Lake.
August 8 (August 9 rain date): Blast on the Beach – This annual event sponsored by Black Diamond and the Crystal Lake Park District has become a perfect end-of-summer celebration for everyone. Not only is this event easy on the pocketbook, it is filled with fun and entertainment on Main Beach from start to finish with music, treasure hunt, food, and beer and wine, crystallakeparks.org.
August 15: Marengo Music Festival – Fun-filled day of music, car show, “Show & Shine,” food, bingo and kids activities on Franks Road, east of Marengo High School, marengo-union.com.
August 22: Jazz Festival –The annual Jazz Festival, presented by Jazz on the Square, features jazz performance in the Woodstock town square gazebo, jazzonthesquare.com.
Summer Sunset Festival, Lake in the Hills. Photo: JPM Photography
September 4-6: Summer Sunset Festival – This Labor Day weekend festival in Sunset Park, Lake in the Hills, features bags, a carnival, car show, fireworks, food, drinks, talent show, horseshoes, kids’ activities, music, parade, 5K and wine tasting, summersunsetfest.com.
(See Fall Festivals Guide for events, September-November)