Scrounge for candy at a parade. Sail a cardboard boat. Or sing along to hits, such as 1983's "Sister Christian."
Whether it's a family tradition, a reunion celebration or your first taste of what McHenry County has to offer, you're bound to find reason to smile this summer as a season of diversified festivals gets underway.
This is an area known for one of the longest-running – Harvard's Milk Days – and one of the largest – McHenry's Fiesta Days (featuring Night Ranger this year) – festivals.
Throw in festivals such as Crystal Lake's Lakeside Fest, known as "The Granddaddy of All Festivals" and celebrating the city's centennial this year, as well as the entertainment-packed Rockin' Rotary Ribfest in Lake in the Hills and Algonquin Founders' Days, and you've got quite a lineup.
It's an area that boasts musically themed celebrations of everything from Mozart to folk to jazz in Woodstock to the Blues in McHenry to the 1980s, well, pretty much everywhere.
You'll find the well-known America's Cardboard Cup Regatta in Crystal Lake and several Living History events offered through the McHenry County Conservation District, as well as the Illinois Railway Museum's attractions in Union.
And this year brings even more variety with the addition of a few more sporting activities, in which participants will bike, run, swim, even throw a hatchet.
"There are just a plethora of festivals, outdoor events for people all through the summer," said Jaki Berggren, executive director of the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which for the first time is offering an interactive guide on its website at www.visitmchenrycounty.com. Through computers and mobile devices, visitors can view a list of events and click directly to websites for more information.
"Depending on their interests, there are sports, food, kids' stuff, parades, fireworks, pretty much anything all summer long," Berggren said.
Aside from the usual festivals, kicking off June 6 with Harvard's chock-full Milk Days, Berggren highlighted a few new activities.
The Richmond Fine Arts Festival (June 28-29) featuring 90 artists will coincide with the village's third annual Spring Wine Walk. Among several athletic outings are the 3Disciplines Illinois Triathlon Championship on June 22 in Crystal Lake and a Lake in the Hills Triathlon on June 15.
A Rundezvous Race on July 12 in Crystal Lake will challenge outdoorsy types on survival skills, such as archery, water carrying, log splitting and fire starting.
And in its second year, the July 20 Tour De Crystal Lake will bring international pro cyclists to downtown Crystal Lake for a race with speeds exceeding 35 mph.
Come for the festival, the race, the event, and you'll discover more.
"Once they're here, we have restaurants and great places for them to stay and enjoy the outdoors. Boat up and down the Fox River, take a drive in the country. The farmers markets are all open as of the beginning of June. Agritourism starts in August and goes through the fall. That's definitely one of the reasons they're going to come."
That and, of course, the bands.
It wouldn't be summer in McHenry County without performances by popular bands, such as Modern Day Romeos and 7th Heaven. Along with Night Ranger, McHenry's Fiesta Days brings Cinderella's Tom Keifer to town, and "American Idol" winner Lee DeWyze will perform at Lake in the Hills' Rockin' Rotary Ribfest.
Following is a complete listing of festivals, fairs and events in McHenry County this summer:
HARVARD MILK DAYS, 73rd annual, June 6-8, Milky Way Park, on Lawrence Road, Harvard. One of the longest-running festivals in Illinois. Harvard Milk Days offers a weekend of fun for people of all ages. Friday events will feature an Antique Tractor Display, a carnival, concessions, a petting zoo and entertainment. Saturday events include a Milk Run/Walk and Kids Dash, an Antique Tractor Display, brunch at the Moose Lodge, a parade, a carnival, concessions, a petting zoo, a Milk Drinking Contest, a Talent Show and a mini-fireworks display. Sunday events include a community church service, a carnival, concessions, a petting zoo, a Junior Dairy Cattle Show, an Antique Tractor Show, entertainment and a grand finale fireworks display. Grounds hours: 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 2 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Free admission to park grounds. Parking: $5 daily or $10 three-day pass (advance sale only). Information: 815-943-4614 or www.milkdays.com.
FIRST FRIDAYS CONCERT SERIES, 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 6, July 11, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, Lost Valley Visitor Center patio at Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. McHenry County Conservation District hosts an evening of music and nature. Bring a picnic dinner and hear regional musicians: June 6, Bobby Bullet; July 11, Project Two; Aug. 1, Diego Alonso Flamenco Ensemble; Sept. 5, Cheryl Niemo and the Down Home Boys. Free. Information: 815-479-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.
RAILWAY POST OFFICE WEEKEND, June 7-8, Illinois Railway Museum, Union. Operations and demonstrations of railway post office cars with on-the-fly-mail pickups. See how railroads played a major role in the handling of the U.S. mail. Admission $14 adults, $10 children, $50 family. Information: 815-923-4000 or www.irm.org.
HOOKED ON FISHING, 9 a.m. to noon June 7, Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard; and 9 a.m. to noon June 8, The Hollows, 3804 Route 14, Cary. Family fishing fun hosted by McHenry County Conservation District. Learn fishing techniques and safety tips. Fishing license not required. Free. Registration and information: 815-479-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.
SUMMER TASTE OF DOWNTOWN McHENRY, second annual, 1 to 5 p.m. June 7, presented by 18 downtown McHenry restaurants on Riverside Drive, Green and Main streets. Presented by the McHenry Area Downtown Business Association. Each will offer a taste of some of their favorite food or beverages at a nominal cost of $1 to $2. Walk block to block or ride the Trolley for a taste sampling from each participant. Attendees can also stop in and shop the downtown shops and businesses along the way. There will also be demonstrations by The Bike Haven and shows in Veteran's Memorial Park. Information: www.facebook.com/mchenryareadba.
PEDAL, PADDLE, SADDLE THROUGH THE PRAIRIE, June 8, Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Paddlers can enjoy a two-hour boat trip (6 miles). Bicyclists have the option of a 12K, 20K or 30K trail ride. The third event is a 5.5-mile horseback trail ride. Cost: $25 a person, $50 a family. Registration and information: 815-759-9390 or www.mccdistrict.org.
ICE CREAM SOCIAL OF 1858, noon to 4 p.m. June 8, Powers-Walker house in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. All ages are invited to join the McHenry County Conservation District volunteers in period attire as they re-create the feel of an old-fashioned ice cream social of 1858. Registration not required. Information: 815-479-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.
ANNUAL HERITAGE TROLLEY TOUR, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8 downtown Crystal Lake Gazebo, on Woodstock Street, Crystal Lake. Every year, the Crystal Lake Historic Preservation Commission puts on a new tour highlighting unique properties in the city. Tickets: $10. Information: 815-479-0835 or www.crystallake.org.
CELEBRATE LAKEWOOD, noon to 3 p.m. June 8, RedTail Golf Club, 7900 RedTail Drive, Lakewood. The annual event offers free fun for the whole family with festivities including games, face painting, a moon-bounce, a balloon artist, a driving range for the children, music by Bob Bero and raffle prizes. New this year will be child-safety seat inspections. Refreshments available. Also accepting recyclable items and nonperishable food for the Grafton Food Pantry. Information: 815-459-3025 or www.village.lakewood.il.us.
WOODSTOCK CITY BAND CONCERTS IN THE PARK, Wednesdays starting June 11 through July 30, Woodstock Square. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy one of Woodstock's longest summertime traditions. Also features Ice Cream Socials. A June 25 concert will celebrate Dairy Month, with free dairy products handed out by the McHenry County Farm Bureau and milking demonstrations. Information: www.woodstockil.gov.
WOODSTOCK CHALLENGE ROAD RUN, 37th annual, 6:30 a.m. June 14, Woodstock Water Works/Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock. Featuring a 10K run, 5K run/walk and 1-mile and half-mile kids/family run. A pool party is scheduled after the event. Cost: $15, $25. Registration and information: 815-338-4363, www.woodstockrecreationdepartment.com or www.signmeup.com/94721.
ART ON THE FOX, seventh annual, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 14-15, Riverfront Park, 201 N. Harrison St., Algonquin. Fine art show hosted by the village of Algonquin and Algonquin Public Arts Commission. Artwork will be on display in indoor and outdoor locations. Information: 847-658-2700 or www.artonthefox.com.
LAKE IN THE HILLS TRIATHLON, 6:30 a.m. June 15, Indian Trail Beach and Ken Carpenter Park, Miller and Randall roads, Lake in the Hills. Event includes biking, running and swimming all in one morning. Cost: $65. Registration and information: 847-960-7460, www.lith.org or www.signmeup.com.
SWEETS, TREATS & STRAWBERRIES, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 21-22, RavenStone Castle, 4504 Route 23, Harvard. Family event offering a selection of the finest sweets, exotic treats and strawberries. Information: 815-943-5764 or www.ravenstonecastle.com.
SUMMER KICK-OFF PARTY, 3 p.m. June 21, Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate, Lake in the Hills. Kick off your summer with a day of fun-filled activities. Children's entertainment begins at 3 p.m. with Istvan and His Imaginary Band followed by games, a bounce house, a petting zoo, a face painter, and more. The Hillbilly Rockstarz concert will begin at 7 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Information: 847-960-7460 or www.lith.org.
3DISCIPLINES ILLINOIS TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIP, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22, Three Oaks Recreation Area, 5517 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Featuring Olympic of Sprint course for swim, bike and run. Registration and information: 231-546-2229 or www.3disciplines.com.
A DAY AT PETERSEN FARM, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22, Petersen Farm, 4112 McCullom Lake Road, McHenry. The annual blast from the past will include hula hoops, Doo Wop and automobile tail fins in celebration of the 1950s. The day includes hayrides, children's games, craft demonstrations, farm equipment displays and more. Live bluegrass music will be provided by the Georgia Rae Family Band and the Windy City Magician will perform. Refreshments available. Free admission. Information: www.ci.mchenry.il.us.
McHENRY COUNTY PATRIOT RUN, 7:30 a.m. June 22, McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Family event featuring a 5K run or walk and a 1-mile run or walk to benefit TLS Veterans and Veterans Assistance Commission. Cost: $15 1-mile, $40 race day for the 5K, and $20 for the 1-mile. Registration and information: 815-459-1773, ext. 300 or www.mchenrycountypatriotrun.org.
SUMMER SWING SET WITH THE SLAVINS SERIES: INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE FOR KIDS & PARENTS, June 22 & July 27, the Listening Room at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. Sean and Karen Slavin will perform for kids and parents. Dance, sway, move and groove. Information: 815-455-8000 or www.lakesidelegacy.org.
SUMMER FAMILY FESTIVAL, 2 to 6 p.m. June 22, Rush Creek Picnic Shelter, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard. Kick off summer with nature-related activities for the whole family. There will be hikes, games, crafts, fishing, music, food and bilingual storytelling. Participants age 16 or older must have a fishing license. Information: 815-469-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.
RICHMOND FINE ARTS FESTIVAL AND 3RD ANNUAL SPRING WINE WALK, June 28-29, downtown Richmond. Event features 90 artists, with proceeds donated to The Richmond Memorial Hall Renovation. Information: 815-678-7742 or www.rsgchamber.com.
AMERICA'S CARDBOARD CUP REGATTA, 30th annual, 9 a.m. June 28, Crystal Lake's Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake. Considered the championship of cardboard boat racing with entrants building and racing boats along a 200-yard course for a variety of awards. In the event of increment weather, water conditions or other, the reschedule date is July 26. Information: www.cardboardcup.com.
EAA PANCAKE BREAKFAST, third annual, 8 a.m. to noon June 29, Lake in the Hills Airport, 8407 Pyott Road, Lake in the Hills. Hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association. Drive in or fly in. Cost: $7 adults, $4 children, free for children younger than 5. Information: 847-960-7500 or www.790.eaachapter.org.
ILLINOIS RAILWAY MUSEUM STEAM DEPARTMENT BENEFIT CONCERT, fourth annual, 1 p.m. June 29, Sanfilippo Estate, Barrington. The afternoon will feature a concert on the world's largest restored theater pipe organ and short comedy silent movie. Guests can tour the residence and its collections. The concert starts at 2:30 p.m. There will be a 50/50 drawing and door prizes. Tickets: $69.99 per person. Proceeds will benefit the Illinois Railway Museum Steam Department. Tickets and information: 815-923-4391 or www.irm.org.
LAKESIDE FESTIVAL, July 3-6, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, Crystal Lake. “The Granddaddy of All Festivals” features live music, food, Taste by the Lake, beer/wine/tropical drink gardens, carnival, parade, fireworks and tours of the Dole Mansion. Scheduled bands include Sinful Saints, Pirates Over 40, Monday Morning Mai Tai's, Jimmy Nick, Kool & the Funky Ones, Hi Infidelity, Sean & Karen Slavin, Bella Cain, Heartache Tonight, What About This, Modern Day Romeos, Dangerous Joes, Suburban Cowboys and Head East. Information: www.lakesidelegacy.org or 815-455-8000.
4TH OF JULY PARADE AND PICNIC, July 4, Parade route runs from Burnett Road to Veteran's Park, 432 W. State Road, Island Lake. Free hot dogs, chips, drinks, kids' games, DJ and pony rides at Veteran's Park after the parade. Information: www.villageofislandlake.com or 847-650-8410.
VOODOO A-GO-GO CHARITY CAR SHOW AND CONCERT, July 5, Volo Auto Museum, 27482 Volo Village Road. Second annual event benefiting the American Cancer Society includes three live bands, vendors, flame show and hundreds of vintage hot rods and show cars. Information: 815-385-3644 or www.volocars.com.
ROCKIN’ ROTARY RIBFEST, July 10-13, Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills. Barbecue and family entertainment. Acts include Jamie Campbell & The Redneck Romeos, DownPour: The AC/DC Concert, Kashmir: The Led Zeppelin Show, Lee DeWyze: "American Idol" winner, Sugar High, Generation, The Lounge Puppets: Tribute to '80s Hair Bands, Fuel, Steve "Mongo" McMichael Autograph Session, Eliminator: America's No. 1 ZZ Top Band and 7th Heaven. Information: lithribfest.com.
FIESTA DAYS, July 11-20, (Music Fest, July 11-13, McHenry River Run July 12, Big Wheels Race and Teen Night July 14, Open Track Meet July 16 Concert in the Park July 17, Children’s Ice Cream Social July 18, 31st annual Arts & Crafts in the Park and Shakespeare Festival July 19, parade July 20), Petersen and Veterans Memorial parks, McHenry. Among the bands playing are Modern Day Romeos, Cinderella's Tom Keifer, Night Ranger, American English and Heartache Tonight. Information: www.mchenryfiestadays.com or 815-385-4300.
BRASS FROM THE PAST CONCERT IN THE PARK, July 11, Converse Park, 551 E. State Road, Island Lake. Bring your favorite beverage and a lawn chair to enjoy a free concert by Brass From the Past. Information: 847-650-8410 or www.villageofislandlake.com.
BOOTS AND SPURS FOR A CURE, July 12, Milky Way Park, Harvard. 5K Walk and Run to raise money for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. Cost is $25 a person and includes a T-Shirt and a ticket to the July 18-19 Tri-County Pro Rodeo. Information: www.tricountyprorodeo.com.
RUNDEZVOUS RACE, July 12, Lippold Park, Crystal Lake. Outdoor survival skill race with 14 events/challenges along the trails at Lippold Park. Some of the events include a hatchet throw, archery, water carry, log splitting, trapping and fire starting. Cost: $65. Information: 815-814-1100 or www.rundezvousrace.com.
HERITAGE FAIR, July 13, McHenry County Historical Museum, Union. Themed “Art on the Farm – Raising Barn Quilts,” featuring antique car show, quilt bed turning demonstration, pie-baking contests, cake walks, sales, antique auction, magic show, music and hula hoop and Frisbee contests. Information: www.mchsonline.org or 815-923-2267.
SUMMER IN THE PARK, July 18-20, Emricson Park, Woodstock. New community festival with events still being added. Free concert featuring singer/songwriter Rick Morgan and the Wisconsin-based group Chasin’ Mason, Summer at the Pool and Summer Fun in the Park with a variety of entertainment, beer garden, food court, bags tournament, bingo, Bum Band and Movie in the Park showing of “The Avengers!” Information: www.woodstockil.gov.
HARD CHARGE CHICAGO, July 19, Richardson Adventure Farms, Spring Grove. The most talked-about obstacle course, this event includes 4 miles of challenging terrain, military-inspired obstacles and muddy fun. Cost: $56 to $108. Information: www.hardcharge.com/chicago2014.
TOUR DE CRYSTAL LAKE, July 20, Downtown Crystal Lake. A second annual event hosted by the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the city of Crystal Lake and the Crystal Lake Park District. Competition features international pro male and female cyclists racing at speeds exceeding 35 mph. Also includes a family fun race, bike rodeo, musical entertainment, sales, drinks and more. Information: 815-893-6280 or www.prairiestatecyclingseries.com.
LIVING HISTORY EVENTS, July 20 & Aug. 17, Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Living History Open Houses feature a Greek Revival 1854 restored house. Learn about the families that once called the house home. Information: 815-479-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.
WOODSTOCK FOLK FESTIVAL, July 20, Woodstock Square. In its 29th year, featuring the finest in folk entertainment and great family fun. Among the performers are Amy Black, Harpeth Rising, The Honey Dewdrops, Christine Lavin and Don White, Megon McDonough and Old Man Luedecke. Festival will present its 13th annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Andrew Calhoun. Information: www.woodstockfolkfestival.org.
GAVERS COMMUNITY BARNDANCE, July 19, Emricson Park, Woodstock. A fundraiser for the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation with a BBQ dinner, live auction and music. Information: www.gavers.org.
TRACTOR TREK, July 19, travel from Petersen Farm in McHenry to Twin Lakes Country Club in Twin Lakes, Wis. McHenry County Farm Bureau and McHenry County Antique Farm Equipment Association co-sponsor the 12th annual, one-day event. Participants are treated to coffee, donuts, water, lunch, ice cream, shirt, hat and end-of-the-day refueling. Drivers share the day with other antique tractor enthusiasts as they travel along scenic country roads. Proceeds go to the Agriculture in the Classroom program. Information: www.mchenrycfb.org.
ALGONQUIN FOUNDERS’ DAYS, July 24-27, Algonquin Lakes Park, 700 Lake Plumleigh Way, Algonquin. Features carnival, Cardboard Boat Regatta, Taste of Founders’, Social Garden, music, Illinois Battle of the Bands, a petting zoo, walks and runs and fireworks. Among the scheduled bands on the Main Stage are Pirates Over 40, Suburban Cowboys, 16 Candles and other bands not yet announced. Information: www.algonquinfoundersdays.com or 847-658-5340.
TRI-COUNTY PRO RODEO, July 18-19, Milky Way Park, Harvard. Bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and much more. DJ music after rodeos both nights. Kids program on Saturday. The only IPRA-sanctioned rodeo in McHenry County. Information: www.tricountyprorodeo.com
WOODSTOCK MOZART FESTIVAL, July 24-25, Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 9-10, Woodstock Opera House. In its 28th season and under the banner “Mozart ... and More!,” guest conductor format enabling patrons to enjoy music of Mozart in different performance styles. Features orchestra and world-class artists. Information: www.mozartfest.org.
ISLAND LAKEFEST AND FIREWORKS, July 26, Veteran's Park, 432 W. State Road, Island Lake. Touch a truck, car show, games for all ages, craft show, bake sale, DJ, beer tent, food vendors, dunk tank, moon walk, joust and slide, face painting, sandy beach and ice cream truck followed by fireworks. Information: 847-650-8410 or www.villageofislandlake.com.
GALLERY IN THE GARDEN, July 26-27, The Gardens at 600 Lawndale, 600 Lawndale Ave., Woodstock. The ninth annual event is a charitable art event presented in a private garden as a unique opportunity to experience local artists and musicians in a natural setting featuring a water garden, Japanese meditation garden and a variety of native and imported plantings. Event will benefit CASA of McHenry County. Admission is free. Information: 815-337-0697 or www.galleryinthegarden.org.
CHARITY AUTO SHOW, July 27, Scot Forge, Spring Grove. Proceeds donated to nonprofit organizations and a scholarship program. Information: 815-678-7742 or www.rsgchamber.com.
McHENRY COUNTY FAIR, July 30-Aug. 3, Route 47 and Country Club Road, Woodstock. Information: www.mchenrycountyfair.com or 815-338-5315.
MCHENRY ROTARY BLUES, BREWS & BBQ, Aug. 1-3, Petersen Park, McHenry. Outdoor blues and BBQ festival with 5K run, BBQ Cook-Off, volleyball and more. Information: www.mchenryrotarybluesbrewsandbbqs.com.
BLACK DIAMOND BLAST ON THE BEACH, 3 p.m. Aug. 9, Main Beach Crystal Lake, 300 Lake Shore Drive. Beer, wine and food. Schedule includes Craft Fair and Kids Fun Fair from 3 to 7 p.m.; BMO Harris Bank Treasure Hunt at 4 p.m.; Dave Rudolph Family Beach Party Entertainment at 5:15 p.m.; Bad Medicine Concert (Bon Jovi Tribute Band) at 6:30 p.m. Free admission to everyone provided courtesy of Black Diamond. Information: www.crystallakeparks.org.
DAY OUT WITH THOMAS, Aug. 16-17, Aug. 23 & 24, Illinois Railway Museum, Union. Take a train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine and meet Sir Topham Hatt. Includes clowns, puppet shows, magic shows, live music, storytelling and Thomas & Friends Playtable, balloon animals and more. Information: www.irm.org.
SUNDAY IN THE SQUARE ON THE STAGE, Aug. 17, a fundraiser for TownSquare Players, featuring theater and musical performances by area theater companies. Information: www.tspinc.org.
WOODSTOCK JAZZ FESTIVAL, Aug. 22-23, Stage Left Cafe, 125 W. Van Buren, Woodstock Square. Promotion of jazz music in all its diverse forms and colorful history. Information: www.jazzonthesquare.com.
LAKE IN THE HILLS SUMMER SUNSET FESTIVAL, Aug. 29-31, Sunset Park, Lake in the Hills. Features parade, carnival rides, craft show, Battle of the Bands, Classic & Custom Car Show, horseshoe and bags tournaments, Sunset 5K, arts and crafts, Got Talent competition, wine tasting and fireworks. On the Main Stage are Class of 68, Petty Cash, Sonic 7, HiFi Superstar, Abba Salute and Libido Funk. Information: www.summersunsetfest.com.