Hot air balloons, a food fest in Kenosha, films in Michigan and more Midwest events

Galesburg, Ill., hosts its annual Great Balloon Race later this month.
(Illinois Office of Tourism )
Chicago Tribune

Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:

♦Hot-air balloons will dot the sky over Galesburg, Ill., July 27-29 during the annual Great Balloon Race. More than 30 balloons will be on hand, and there will be mass ascensions and night glows. A motorcycle show also is on tap July 28.

♦The 10th Annual Taste of Wisconsin festival will be held July 27-29 along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Kenosha, Wis. Roughly 40 food and beverage vendors will take part, and there will be live music and a kid zone tent.

♦It’s lights, camera, action for the 14th edition of the Traverse City Film Festival, running July 31 to Aug. 5 in Traverse City, Mich. In addition to film screenings, panels and film school sessions, actress Jane Fonda is slated to be there to receive the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


♦Collectors of Flow Blue and Mulberry china will meet July 26-28 in Bettendorf, Iowa, for the Flow Blue International Collectors’ Club Convention. Among the activities: a first-timers seminar, educational presentations, buying opportunities and a show of rare and unusual pieces. Attendees must be members of the club and can join via the website at

♦The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival is being held from mid-July through August at various locations in Michigan and Indiana. Among the offerings are “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” and “The Merchant of Venice.”

♦Retro rock will be in the spotlight July 27-29 at the Shake the Lake Music Festival at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wis. In addition to live music, there will be food trucks, kids’ activities and carnival games.

♦The Brewers of Indiana Guild hosts the 23rd annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival on July 28 at White River State Park in Indianapolis. More than 100 breweries will offer samples of their beers. There will also be food and live entertainment.


♦Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is 350 years old this year and is celebrating with a wealth of special events, ranging from a 350th festival to a walleye fishing tournament.

♦Eau Claire, Wis., comes alive July 19-21 when it hosts Country Jam USA. This is the 29th year for the country music festival, with headliners this year including Blake Shelton, Billy Currington and Alabama.

♦Duluth, Minn., will get a touch of Jamaica and more July 21 during the Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival. Among artists performing will be Konshens, Christopher Martin and Nkulee Dube.

♦The Michigan tourism folks highlight some of the notable 100-plus state parks at

♦Land and water cruises at Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Ill., are offered Mondays and Fridays through the summer. Lunch at Starved Rock Lodge begins the day, with a narrated trolley tour followed by a cruise on a river boat. Reservations are recommended. 815-220-7386,

Deals and websites listed here have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not an endorsement. Send tips at least a month in advance to

Phil Marty is a freelancer.

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