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Home Garden & Business Expo
Annual Home Garden & Business Expo featuring over 40 exhibitors and 2 full days of "How To" demonstrations. Breakfast and lunch available, hourly door prizes, blood screenings on site and register for the "Grand Prize!"
Starved Rock Photography Club
Whether you are just beginning in photography, are an advanced amateur or a professional, you are welcome to the Starved Rock Photography Club. Monthly photography walks at Starved Rock State Park’s Lodge with club leader, Jacki Pienta. The Photography Club will meet each month throughout the year for guided walks to planned sites for photography opportunities. Members will informally exchange ideas and tips for quality nature and wildlife photos. We will meet the 4th Saturday of every month at 9am in the back of the Large Parking Lot at Starved Rock Lodge. All meetings will consist of a hike to an area of either Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park or Buffalo Rock. Please be prepared to carpool if necessary. $25.00 annual fee to join which will include a club t-shirt and an annual cookout! Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 4th Saturday of each month. For more information, call 815-220-7386.
Silver Creek & Stephenson Railroad and Silvercreek Museum Fall Harvest Demonstrations
All aboard as a 36-ton, 1912 Heisler steam locomotive pulls three cabooses for a four-mile ride through farmlands. Purchase your ticket at the Silver Creek Depot, a turn-of-the-century replica filled with railroad artifacts, and browse the Freight House Gift Shop and Silvercreek Museum. Weather permitting, there will be fall harvest demonstrations with horses and tractors. The museum will feature sauerkraut and brats. Train: Adults: $7; Children under 12: $3; Cab Rides: Inquire at the Depot; Museum: Adults: $4; Children under 12: Free.
Jonamac Orchard's Haunted Corn Maze
This 10-acre cornfield and 3-miles of winding pathways will take on a Halloween makeover! Adventure seekers should prepare to be scared when they challenge the maze during the Haunting! Open on Fridays and Saturdays from October 2 - 31, 2014
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m.
Tour de Shawnee Bike ride
Bicyclists meet at the Olive Branch Community Center at 8 AM. Organized bike routes of 15, 30, 45, 62 and 100 mile rides around scenic Horseshoe Lake and area. Entry fee includes: Event bag, chance for attendance prizes. Early registration includes commemorative t shirt.
Walking Tour of Historic Riverside
The Frederick Law Olmsted Society is pleased to offer great opportunities to learn about our historic landmark village. Discover the winding roads, delightful parks, beautiful landscapes, varied architecture and much more!
Jacksonville Main Street's Pumpkin Fest
Join them for free family fun! Children and adult costume contest, pet costume contest, pumpkin decorating, food, games and entertainment.
Trail of Terror
Tucked among the charming small towns, lush scenery and hassle-free motoring in Northern Illinois is the Trail of Terror, a self-guided tour of the area's finest haunted houses, cemetery walks, pumpkin patches, wineries, festivals and other spook-tacular seasonal sensations. The fun begins in September and continues through all of October across Carroll, DeKalb, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson & Whiteside counties. For all the details & more information on all of the cool creepiness, visit www.illinoistrailofterror.com
Sweet Autumn Clematis Festival
See and smell hundreds of feet of walls covered in Autumn Clematis; followed by punch served in Luther Hall. The event runs from 10:00am- 5:00pm.
Arthur Amish Country Christmas Kickoff
The Christmas lighted parade steps off at 5:30pm and will showcase Santa & Mrs. Claus through downtown Arthur. Immediately following the parade, Santa will visit with children and parents in Knights Court downtown to start collecting those early Christmas requests. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served during his visit. Throughout the day, businesses in the downtown area as well as the countryside will feature early Christmas bargains and host Open Houses.
Gem & Mineral Show
Annual Gem and Mineral Show showing off Indian artifacts, fossils, lapidary displays, shell crafts and much more.
88th Annual Lake County Fair
Come out and enjoy 5 days of fun at the 88th Annual Lake County Fair. Events at the fair include live entertainment, food vendors, carnival rides and games, live animals, motor crossing, banana derby, demolition derby, flower show, expo hall and so much more. Please visit the website for updated information.
Lansing Autumn Festival
The annual three-day Lansing Autumn Fest returns for its 4th year at Fox Point & Park Plaza. The family friendly event includes musical entertainment, food vendors, vendor Market Place & craft fair, vintage baseball game, kids zone with second entertainment stage & kids games, chili cook-off, military recognition day, pancake breakfast, 5K Hero Walk/Run, $10,000 Pumpkin Cash Raffle. For more information or to be a sponsor or vendor, visit www.lansingautumfest.org or call 708-832-4584.
The Polar Express at Monticello Railway Museum
Held at Monticello Railway Museum. Read along with the story as the train makes its round-trip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa and enjoy caroling, hot chocolate, surprises and a treat. And, for those who believe, a special gift for each child. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas! Nov 14, Nov 20-21, Nov 27-29 & Dec 4-5. Reservations required. Tickets go on sale June 6th.
Holiday Lights at Bunker Hill
Historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park's "Bunker Hill Historic Area" will be lit for the occasion and decorated for the holidays. Continuing throughout the holiday season, the holiday lights will be displayed weekends from 5-8 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden- Weekend Family Classes
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to science, art, history, and culture. Each program includes a variety of hands-on activities and projects, as well as opportunities to bring the Garden home. Programs run from November through April on Saturdays.
Du Quoin Annual Holiday Lights Fair
Starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through the month of December. Come experience Du Quoin Tourism’s transformation of the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds into a magical place with lights and decorations. The event features a 1 1/2-mile drive through over $250,000 worth of lighted displays as well as decorated trees, entertainment, food, crafts and visits with Santa in the Expo Hall. The light trail opens nightly from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., and the Expo Hall will be open on the second and third weekends in December from 5:30 — 9:30 p.m. The Expo Hall features Santa’s train ride and Santa’s Workshop.
Join us for the return of the Grafton Rendezvous on the banks of the Illinois River. See pre-1840 history come to life and experience what a busy river port was like during that period. Traders will demonstrate candle and rope making, bead working, wood carving, metal working and leather crafting. There will be tomahawk and knife throwing and much more. Bring the family and enjoy the fun.
Sycamore Pumpkin Fest
2015 is the 54th Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival downtown. What started out as an idea by Wally Thurow in 1956 to offer something creative for the students of Sycamore, has grown from a neighborhood display on his front yard into the towns biggest city wide event beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremony and cake cutting. The festival begins with over 1000 entries in the Lions Decorated Pumpkin Display, 2 carnivals, 2 large indoor craft shows, many non-profit vendors, and culminating with an hour and a half long parade on Sunday.
Fall Festival at New Salem
Typical autumn life on the 1830s Illinois prairie will be demonstrated. Costumed interpreters will demonstrate daily tasks such as candle dipping, butter churning, soap making, basket making, spinning wool, gardening, natural dyeing, and fishing with nets. Demonstrations of meat smoking will take place in one of the log village's period smokehouses, and wild game cooking will be demonstrated in the log homes. Visitors can step down into the cellar at the tavern to see how fruits and vegetables were preserved during the winter.
Warrenville Holly Days
Holly Days, sponsored by the Warrenville Park District is the City's annual holiday celebration that marks Santa's official entry into Warrenville. Guests can enjoy a warm bonfire, raffles, free horse and carriage rides, hot cider and cookies, and, of course, a visit with Santa. Local Park District and school dance troops, singers, and bands entertain attendees during the event. It is at this event that Warrenville officially turns on its holiday lights creating an array of colors for passersby along Route 56 to see. Holly Days, primarily for Warrenville residents, gives the community an opportunity to come together and kick off the holiday season.
Didier Farms' Pumpkinfest
Pumpkinfest September 19-October 31, 2015. Tractor drawn hayrides, corn maze, New! Buffalo Creek Mining Co, pony & camel rides, Animal Land, Pumpkin Playland, kiddie rides, Parakeet Encounter, Pig Races (Sat, Sun & Mon) Pumpkin Patch Café, homemade apple cider & pumpkin donuts made daily. Antique tractor display, fall produce, birthday parties and school groups by reservation only. Family farm since 1912.
Historic Trolley Tour
Take a great adventure every June through December! Board a trolley outside of the Great Hall area of the Lodge. Enjoy a historic trolley ride with stops at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center where you will see a short video of the area. You will also travel to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center where you will see Starved Rock from across the river and watch as the river traffic lock through the locks. You will also travel through the village of Utica and hear about the Illinois and Michigan Canal. While aboard, the driver will narrate the history and legends of the area. For tickets and information please call 815-220-7386. $12 Adults, $10 Seniors, $8 Child 10 and under. 2014 Dates: JUNE – OCTOBER- Tuesday – 3:00pm, Thursday – 3:00pm, Saturday – 3:00pm, Sunday – 12:00pm & 1:30pm. November & December- Saturday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm, Sunday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm.
Take a Hike & a Lunch - Starved Rock Canyons
Join us for a guided hike from the Lodge to LaSalle and Tonti Canyons. Participants meet in the hotel main lobby of the Lodge to pick up a lunch and a “Starved Rock” backpack. Hikers will stop for lunch once they reach a Canyon. The tour concludes at the Lodge about 2:00pm. Please dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear. Hike will be around 4.5 miles round trip. This hike is classified as strenuous. Lunch includes: your choice of turkey, ham or PB&J, bag of chips, homemade granola bar, piece of fruit and a bottle of water. Advanced reservations are required as space is limited. For more information or to book, call 815-220-7386 Saturday hikes will go to LaSalle Canyon. Depart from Lodge and hikers will stop for lunch once they reach LaSalle Canyon. After lunch, the hike continues to Eagle Cliff and Lover’s Leap. The tour concludes at the Lodge around 2:30 pm. Sunday hikes will go to St. Louis Canyon. The hike will depart from the Lodge and go to the top of Starved Rock then hike to Aurora Canyon. After Aurora Canyon, hikers will go to St. Louis Canyon and stop for lunch. After lunch, the hike continues back to the Lodge and ends around 2:30 pm. Saturday & Sundays through November, 11am-2pm. $17 per person.
Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands
The Cache River Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resource and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor's center.
30th Annual St. Charles Scarecrow Festival
More than 100 handcrafted Scarecrows on display. View and vote for your favorites. Huge juried craft show, carnival, great food, continuous free live entertainment, many free children's activities, make your own scarecrow, and much more! A celebration of the autumn season!
Chicago Pride Fest
Get ready for a flamboyant, fun party in Boystown! Show your pride while enjoying an eclectic lineup of crafts, food and entertainment from some of Chicago's finest LGBT performers.
Scarecrow Daze Festival
During the Annual Scarecrow Daze Festival, the entire city of Shelbyville is decorated with scarecrows. With a different theme every year, entrants decorate their homes and businesses to the theme. There is also a large parade on Saturday, kids' games, a beer tent, music, a quilt show, and plenty of food and crafts, in downtown Shelbyville. Held in conjunction with Touchstone Energy Balloon Fest.
Boo! at the Zoo
Halloween fun awaits families at Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo celebration. The popular daytime event, presented by Fisher-Price, features a Costume Parade, Costume Showcase, professional pumpkin-carving demonstrations, not-so-scary games and activities, special animal Zoo Chats, and haunted hayrides.
Jonamac Orchard and Corn Maze
Bring your family out to our 65 acre site for a day of fall fun this harvest season! Open from mid-August through November, enjoy the horse drawn hay rides, 10 acre corn maze (Beginning Labor Day Weekend), kid's activity area with a barn, bale pile, tractor cab and more. Pick your own apples from any of our nearly 5,000 trees (Begins late August). Stop in our store and visit the bakery for apple donuts, pies, caramel apples and fresh baked bread, and fudge. Pony rides and a petting zoo will be available in the beginning of September. Jonamac Orchard is your family's fall tradition.
Mt. Vernon Fall Festival
This three day October festival in downtown Mt. Vernon includes a beer tent with live entertainment, parade, children's area, food, fun, car show, band competition, pumpkin competition, carnival, pet parade and so much more!
Eagle Watching in Alton
Illinois boasts the largest concentration of wintering American bald eagles in the continental U.S., and the Alton area is a great place to see them. Mingle with a live eagle at the National Great Rivers Museum. Get a bird’s-eye view from eight stories high as majestic eagles soar along the Mississippi River at the adjacent Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Or drive along on an exciting eagle-watching expedition with a nature expert at Pere Marquette State Park during Bald Eagle Days, held from late December through mid-February.
Train of Terror
All aboard the Train of Terror for a thrilling and chilling, four-mile ride with a variety of spooky scenes along the route. Buy tickets at the Silver Creek Depot and Freight House. Food and beverages are available. October 10, 17, and 24th. All Tickets: $8.00
City of St. Charles RiverFest
Unique among Chicagoland festivals, Riverfest features the annual ancient sport of dragon boat racing, a 40-ton Fantasy Sand Sculpture, water ski shows, carnival, petting zoo, and an assortment of events and entertainment for all ages.
East Peoria Festival of Lights & Folepi's Winter Wonderland
Light up your night at the East Peoria Festival of Lights (FOLEPI)! The annual Festival of Lights is a one-of-a-kind holiday spectacular. With more than two million lights in the festival, the beauty will be sure to mesmerize you and your family.
Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America
The 7,500-square-foot “Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America” exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden features trains running on 1,600 feet of track, for train and garden enthusiasts to enjoy the delightful sights and sounds of the miniature trains traversing high and low through tunnels, across bridges and around buildings.
Eagle Watching at Starved Rock State Park
You don’t have to travel north to see these majestic birds of prey. Thousands of eagles migrate south from Canada during the winter and Illinois is one of the homes of the greatest population of wintering bald eagles. The Starved Rock Lodge in Utica offers a “Bald Eagle Trolley Tour” in January and February on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Viewing birds from the Veranda at the Starved Rock Lodge is good as well. Dress warmly though. This great viewing spot is right outside the doors of the Great Room. If you’d like some exercise, take a hike on one of the trails at the Starved Rock State Park. One trail begins right at the Veranda. For a birds eye view, hike to the top of the Rock. Another popular event is "Eagle Watch Weekend" with activites both at the Starved Rock Lodge and the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center.
Holiday Lights Train
The Holiday Light Train is Pete's biggest event of the year. The park is decorated for the Holidays. See over 250,000 lights in various displays. Giant toy soldiers, candy canes, cascading snow flakes, flying reindeer, and swans swimming, just to name a few of Pete's displays!
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Kick off the holiday season and create your special memories on The Magnificent Mile in 2014! The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, jump starts the holiday season on Saturday, November 22 with a full day of family friendly activities, concerts by top musical artists and the best holiday shopping. The day’s excitement culminates with a grand evening parade down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, illuminating one million lights on 200 trees. The parade concludes with a grand finale fireworks show over the Chicago River.
Lambs Farm Famous Farmyard
The Lambs Farm Farmyard will open daily March 30th through November 1, 2015. Come and enjoy Lambs Farm's famous Farmyard. Meet Miss Wiggles, the 450-pound pig with an affinity for Bavarian Crème donuts and Oreo Cookies®, and meet all of the new miniature animals, including Levi the miniature horse. Climb into the petting zoo with goats, sheep and lambs. Check out the llamas, alpacas, cows, horses, ducks and more. Enjoy a ride on the old-fashion carousel or the train. Then challenge friends and family to a round of mini golf! Farmyard memberships are available. Day passes for all activities available for $8 for adults and $12 for children 2-12.