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Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair
Don't miss the Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair and Wildlife Art Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Illinois. The show is heralded as the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the United States' national symbol of freedom. The three-day event includes live eagle, hawk, owl and vulture flying demonstrations along with educational programs and over 200 fun and informative exhibits.
CITY: Rock Island
Great Godfrey Maze
Get your kicks at the Great Godfrey Maze! It’s time to go cruising to the finish line as you race your way through two separate mazes cut into a 7-acre cornfield. You may have to yield to oncoming traffic or hit a few detours along the way, but everyone gets a little lost sometimes. Plus, ride on the car train, check out the zip line or play around in the corn crib. Go to www.GodfreyIL.org and check the calendar for special movie nights, festivities and the haunted maze! In October, the ghosts and goblins will come out after dark. Admission is $6 for 12 and up, $4 for ages 6 through 11 and children 5 and under are free. For more information, call (618) 466-1483.
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.
Avenue of Lights
Avenue of Lights is a two-mile holiday display of animated lights at Moorman/Wavering Park in Quincy. It runs from Thanksgiving until New Years, nightly from 6-9:30pm. A staple attraction of Quincy during the holiday season.
Autumn Drive in McHenry County
Welcome to a different kind of fall festival! Spend a leisurely day with family and friends on a real country road. Fourteen family farms in rural McHenry County, Illinois are open to the public for three days the third weekend in October. Each stop along the way offers a unique country experience. There are antiques, arts & crafts, pumpkins, and many surprises to discover along the way. Follow us on Facebook - facebook.com/autumndrive
Jacksonville Main Street's Pumpkin Fest
Join them for a weekend of free family fun! Children and adult costume contest, pet costume contest, pumpkin decorating, food, games and entertainment.
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.
CITY: Du Quoin
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!
CITY: St. Charles
Jonamac Orchard's Haunted 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 3 - 31, 2014
Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available with advanced reservations by calling Greatting Horse Farm at 618-458-6986. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-866-465-7890.
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.
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.
Historic Trolley Tour
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.
Downtown Car Show/Cruise Night
Downtown Car Show / Mt. Vernon Cruise Night - The Car Show will be located on 9th Street between Harrison and Jordan. Features cruise night, car, truck, and motorcycle show; entertainment, food, demonstrations, and a 50/50 drawing. The Car Show will have various models from "Classics" to "Modern".
CITY: Mount Vernon
Paddock Hills Equestrian Center
Imagine a golden ball of Midwestern sun breaking on the horizon. As the night dew still clings to the vines and the grass in the pastures, a farm comes to life with the sights and sounds of morning. Hot coffee steeps in the pot. Hard-working farm-hands begin the daily chores. Horses whinny as the cool rush of morning air fills their lungs. The gently rolling hills are aglow with another new day. This is the beauty of horses and the magic of a vineyard. Paddock Hills Equestrian Center is located with Prairie Orchard Farm vineyard in the majestic countryside of Union, IL, and is minutes from the I-90 expressway, but miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city and suburbs. Whether, attending one of our many horse shows, riding lessons, clinics, or programs, we are sure that your time with us will be well spent.
Rockin' at the Park
Free Summer Concert Series The Rockin' in the Park festival will be a summer-long concert series, beginning in May and continuing through August. The festival features live bands, fireworks and food and beverage tents on the great lawn in the center of MB Financial Park at Rosemont. Visit www.mbparkatrosemont.com for complete line up!
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.
Cache River Nature Festival
Enjoy the area’s rich bird life and wetland habitat. A 12-minute orientation film gives a wonderful overview and introduction of the watershed, explaining the unique bio-diversity of the flora and fauna that can be experienced here. Visitors can also acquaint themselves with the area by exploring an interactive diorama of a bald cypress-water tupelo swamp, area state champion tree information and changing landscape displays. Activities include guided field trips, canoe tours, live bird demonstrations and various exhibits from 8am to 4pm.
2014 Bald Eagle Bus Tours
Guided, four-hour tours of bald eagle, wintering communities. View and learn about the bald eagle's habits, life history, preservation efforts and threats to its future. Reservations required. Bus departs from Stoney Creek Inn.
Didier Farms' Pumpkin Fest
Bring the family out for this annual fall festival. Hayrides, pony rides, camel rides. Children's kiddie rides, exotic petting zoo, parakeet exhibit, corn maze, concessions, pig races(weekends only). Be sure to visit Grandma D.’s Bake Shop for the best pies, cookies, and fudge. Homemade apple cider, fresh made kettle korn and pumpkin donuts also available.
Bandy's Pumpkin Patch
This fun Fall destination features mazes, inflatable games, face painting for the little ones, and hayrides. Grab a snack from the concession stand (try the sweet rock candy) before heading home with the perfect pumpkin. (open Oct. 1-30, 9am-6pm)
CITY: Johnston City
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
December 18th & 19th December 26th - 31st January 1st 4-9pm Start a new family tradition at Chicagoland's largest light festival featuring over 120 animated light displays and million twinkling lights. Come celebrate the holiday season with family and friends during Brookfield Zoos 29th annual Holiday Magic. Enjoy live entertainment, amazing animals, model trains and a train ride, special Dolphin Show, Sing to the Animals and professional ice carvers. Call or visit website for more info.
Fall Color Festival
Visit The Morton Arboretum this season and enjoy the beautiful fall color of trees and plants from more than 40 different countries. On select days in October, enjoy a variety of seasonally-themed activities for kids and families. Admire nature-themed scarecrows showcased around Meadow Lake on our Scarecrow Trail, open daily in October from 7am - sunset. The Fall Color 5K Run & Walk will be Sunday, October 5 at 8am. Run under a canopy of brilliant fall color on our rolling, USATF-certified course. Enjoy our Theatre-Hikes at 3pm on weekends in October plus Columbus Day.
Sycamore Pumpkin Fest
2014 is the 53rd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. Back in 1956, Wally Thurow, who is known as Sycamore’s "Mr. Pumpkin", began what was to become the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival when he displayed a few decorated pumpkins on his front lawn to turn Halloween into a time of fun and creativity. In 1962, through the efforts of Mr. Pumpkin and the Sycamore Lions Club, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival became an official celebration in Sycamore. The Courthouse lawn is the center of activities, including thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, there are also art and craft shows, a house walk, a pie eating contest, a carnival, a fun fair, a race and other events. The festival is concluded by a giant parade on Sunday afternoon.
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.
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.
Swedish Days Festival
This “granddaddy” of Illinois festivals features a host of family-friendly activities with live musical entertainment, a carnival, rosemaling show, pet parade, kids’ day fun, grand parade, the state’s largest music competition, multi-ethnic food plus great shopping in our historic downtown. Geneva’s train station is located just blocks from the festivities.
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. For more information, visit www.CZS.org or call (708) 688-8000.
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.
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 11, 18, and 25th. All Tickets: $8.00
Effingham Farmer's Market
Effingham Farmer's Market provides our community with fresh, locally-grown food, art, live music and quality artisan goods, produced right here in downtown Effingham, on the Courthouse Museum lawn. Come on out and support our community and your health! The market will continue every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from April to October. Enjoy our beautiful downtown square with the best live entertainment, artisans and locally grown food right here in Effingham
Bald Eagle Trolley Tours
In January and February ride the trolley from Starved Rock Lodge to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for bald eagle viewing and an educational program. Includes lunch during the week and brunch on Sunday in the Main Dining Room.
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.
CITY: St. Charles
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!
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.
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, and so much more!
CITY: Mount Vernon
8th Annual Galena Oktoberfest
Annual German celebration featuring live music, kids games, wiener dog races and lots of food and beverage.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by the laughter of children and more than one million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. This holiday classic has become one of the Windy City’s must-see seasonal events. Watch live ice carving then escape Jack Frost with an exotic trip past crocodiles, pygmy hippos and meerkats at the Regenstein African Journey. Animal exhibits stay open late as guests roam taking in the lights, music and taking photos with Santa. Prepare holiday crafts and enjoy the zoo’s incredible animals immersed in an atmosphere unlike any other.
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.
Wolff's Flea Market
Come out and enjoy Wolff's Flea Market in Rosemont every Sunday from April to October in the Allstate Arena parking lot. You will find tons of great deals and rows and rows of great vendors!
Touchstone Energy Balloon Fest
Come and enjoy watching as these balloons are filled and then take off for various areas. Friday night is a launch from Dam West Recreation Area (9th St), Saturday morning, they will launch from various locations and try to hit their targets as they float through the air . There will be a Balloon glow and basket burn at the Shelby County Airport Saturday night with food and entertainment. You can meet the pilots on Friday evening. Sunday morning will be another opportunity to watch. These colorful balloons will be launched daily (weather permitting) and you can watch as they fly and do tasks around the Lake Shelbyville area.
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 22nd through October and weekends only through November 16th. 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.