Festivals and events offer fun year round

Arts and CultureHalloweenHaunted Houses (attractions)

The North Shore is known for its sense of community and it shines through when you take a look at the variety of seasonal activities that offer something for every taste. Groups and organizations band together to offer residents a jam-packed schedule of everything from annual festivals and farmers markets to parades, cruise nights and holiday happenings.

If you want something for the whole family, fall is the perfect time to start making plans. Wilmette, Northfield and Glenview are just a few towns with fall festivals geared toward family enjoyment with hayrides and face painting and opportunities to show off Halloween costumes. Skokie gets into the scare of the season with a haunted house and Winnetka has a unique Haunted Ship Wrecked Shore offering frightening fun on the shores of Lloyd Beach.

As the holidays approach, each town has a way to celebrate from lighting of the tree or menorah to caroling and visits with Santa. When the New Year approaches and you are making your resolutions or party plans don't forget the little ones. Several towns including Glenview and Skokie host afternoon parties complete with a balloon drop to give children a chance to ring in 2013.

No need to hibernate at the height of winter. The North Shore embraces the cold weather with a variety of winter carnivals and fests. In Glencoe the Winter Carnival includes ice sculpting, games and s'mores. Some Skokie residents actually hope for snowy weather in February when the Winter Chilly Fest is a flurry. The snow and ice games and the campfire lit for warming are always a hit.

Egg hunts get things rolling right into spring with seasonal favorites such as springtime on the Farm at Glenview's Wagner Farm. It's the perfect time to see livestock and new beginnings as well as experience what it was like to get the fields ready for planting.

Spring is also when the arts festivals begin to blossom. Evanston hosts its popular Fountain Square Art Fest in June and Lake Bluff has its Summer Art Festival.

Everything is in full swing by summer. From Deerfield's Family Days to Glencoe's Sailfest there is something happening every weekend in July. Many of the towns roll out their traditions for the Fourth of July from bike parades to traditional parades to spectacular fireworks — some best experienced while sitting on the beach and watching them reflect off Lake Michigan.

For something off the beaten path check out Highwood's list of events including Garlic Fest, which is growing in popularity complete with a Garlic Queen being crowned. Or kick off Bloody Mary Fest with the Bloody Buddy 5K where you grab a partner and complete calisthenics and a fireman's carry during the course.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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