Bicycles and balloons, football and films, garlic and golf — disparate things, for sure. But they're all at the heart of festivals and other special events that promise to make this summer interesting in the Midwest.
Here's a sampling of what's going on between Memorial Day and Labor Day:
June 5-25 — 7th annual Southern Illinois Music Festival, Carbondale area. Performances ranging from orchestral and chamber music to opera, jazz and new music are held across the southern part of the state, with Southern Illinois University in Carbondale as the focal point. Fee applies for some events; 618-453-2776; sifest.com. Miles from Chicago: 335
Aug. 9-14 — Reagan Trail Days, Dixon. The late president's hometown celebrates him with tours of historic sites, a Taste of Dixon, a bike ride with routes of 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles and more. Fee for some events; 815-288-2308; reagantraildays.net. Miles from Chicago: 105
Aug. 26-28 — Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival. Lots of hot-air balloons and art, of course, but also a flea market, wine tasting, rail-splitting demonstrations, music, an 1800s craft fair and more. Fee for some events; 217-735-2385; lincolnillinois.com/abf.aspx. Miles from Chicago: 170
June 11-12 — Civil War Days, Rockville. For nearly 40 years, Civil War re-enactors from across the country have been coming to Billie Creek Village to stage famous battles. There's also a dance, and crafters and sutlers will be on hand with their wares. Fee applies; 765-569-0252; billiecreekvillage.org. Miles from Chicago: 185
July 15-16 — College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, South Bend. A parade, fanfest, rib cook-off, block party and more celebrate some of college football's legends. Fee for some events; 800-440-3263; enshrinementfestival.org. Miles from Chicago: 95
Aug. 25-28 — Swiss Wine Festival, Vevay. This is the 40th year for this event, which includes polka music, riverboat cruises, a wine pavilion and beer garden, canoe races, grape stomps and more. Fee varies; 812-427-9463; swisswinefestival.org. Miles from Chicago: 290
June 4-5 — American Pickers Festival, LeClaire. The town that's home to the American Pickers from the popular show on The History Channel celebrates them with a meet-and-greet, collectibles dealers, a classic car show, music, food and more. Free; 563-289-4242; visitleclaire.com. Miles from Chicago: 160
Aug. 4-7 — 40th annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, Davenport. Hear a variety of the nation's top traditional jazz bands at four venues. Fees vary; 888-249-5487; bixsociety.org. Miles from Chicago: 175
Aug. 20-21 — 25th anniversary Bike Van Buren. You can ride one or both days on this ride that makes its way through the 11 historic villages in this county in the southeast corner of the state. Fee applies; 800-868-7822; tinyurl.com/68xyqx9. Miles from Chicago: 305
June 9-12 — Waterfront Film Festival, Saugatuck. This will be the 13th annual gathering of filmmakers, fans and entertainment names who attend film premieres, seminars and mixers. Fees vary; 269-857-8351; waterfrontfilm.org. Miles from Chicago: 145
July 8-9 — Michigan Elvisfest, Ypsilanti. Elvis tribute artists shake, rattle and roll along the banks of the Huron River in Riverside Park. Saturday's events include a gospel hour, car show and Candlelight Vigil. Fee varies; mielvisfest.org. Miles from Chicago: 255
Aug. 11-14 — 48th National Blueberry Festival, South Haven. Get your fill of blueberry pancakes, enter the blueberry cook-off, take in the art show, entertainment and parade, munch fresh blueberries and otherwise appreciate this important Michigan crop. Fee for some events; 800-764-2836; blueberryfestival.com. Miles from Chicago: 125
Summer festivals in the Midwest
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.