Summer Adventures

June 2024 View more

By Jeff Banowetz

Your guide to a season’s worth of concerts, festivals, fairs, food, and entertainment

Clockwise from top left: Toronzo Cannon at Blues on the Fox, Wine Down Wednesday Polo, Napervile Jaycees’ Last Fling, Geneva Arts Fair, and Wheaton’s Summer Concert Series
Clockwise from top left: Toronzo Cannon at Blues on the Fox, Wine Down Wednesday Polo, Napervile Jaycees’ Last Fling, Geneva Arts Fair, and Wheaton’s Summer Concert Series


Naperville Fine Art & Artisan Fair
Naperville Fine Art & Artisan Fair

Art fairs have long been a highlight of the outdoor festival season—the perennial Naperville’s Fine Art & Artisan Fair has been around for 64 years—but it’s not hard to figure out why they remain so popular. They allow visitors to browse and purchase artwork in a relaxed setting, often with the opportunity to get to know the artist. You can view a variety of media—drawings, sculpture, photography, pottery, and jewelry, to name a few—in one place, plus it’s an opportunity to pick up a one-of-a-kind piece.

The newest addition to the art festival scene is in downtown Naperville, where the Water Street Fine Art & Fine Craft Fair ( will debut July 14. “We view Water Street as a gathering place for the community,” says organizer Deborah Newman. “Art is a large part of what makes it special.”

The juried art exhibition and sale is expected to attract 30 to 35 vendors from DuPage, Will, and Kane counties. “We’re trying to keep the focus on local artists to exhibit in a comfortable and creative space,” Newman says. “There is so much talent among artists and craftspeople right in our backyard, and it can be expensive for them to exhibit at some of the larger fairs. This will be a way to highlight that talent.” Browse to some classical music in the morning and jazz in the afternoon. “Enjoy brunch in one of the restaurants or even stay at the Hotel Indigo Naperville Riverwalk,” she says.

Vandana Jain and ‘Bumble Ballet’
Vandana Jain and Bumble Ballet

Presented by the Naperville Woman’s Club, the Fine Art & Artisan Fair ( returns June 29–30 to Naper Settlement with more than 100 artists from across the country. The festival also features chamber music and interactive experiences targeted at families. Food and beverages will be available onsite. Like last year, organizers will take a piece of art on display at the fair and reproduce it as an eight-by-12-foot mural, breaking it down into 216 eight-by-eight-inch squares that visitors can paint. Each completed section will be stapled to the frame, gradually bringing the work to life. This year’s mural will be of Chicago artist Vandana Jain’s Bumble Ballet.

Oakbrook Artisan Market ( returns June 8–9 to Oakbrook Center. The curated show focuses on “independently owned small businesses who channel their passions into creating one-of-a-kind products.” Its sister festival, the Naperville Artisan Market (, was held last month and returns to Citygate Center September 28–29.

For more than 20 years, the Geneva Art Fair ( has attracted artists from all over the country to Third Street in downtown Geneva. Held this year July 27–28, the fair also showcases the landscape architecture firm Plandscape, which will transform the intersection of Third Street and Franklin Street via colorful plants and foliage.

Want to explore? Founded in 1996, the nonprofit Naperville Century Walk ( has organized more than 50 pieces of public art around the city. It recently published a free 88-page guide to all the art.


Morton Arboretum’s Wine and Art Walk
Morton Arboretum’s Wine and Art Walk

More Art Fairs

Hinsdale Fine Art Festival
June 1–2
Burlington Park

Burr Ridge Art Fair
June 8–9
Burr Ridge Village Center

Wine and Art Walk
August 17–18
Morton Arboretum

Alley Art Festival
August 31
Water Street Mall, downtown Aurora

Downers Grove Fine Art Festival
September 7–8
downtown Downers Grove


Get the Led Out will be performing at RiverEdge Park.
Get the Led Out will be performing at RiverEdge Park.

At Naper Settlement, the Naper Nights ( outdoor concert series has found success celebrating historic milestones in rock and pop music by bringing in tribute artists each year to play at the 13-acre living-history museum. Last year organizers discovered, like the rest of the country, that Taylor Swift’s legions of fans are quite dedicated. Sparks Fly, a Taylor Swift tribute band, “was our most popular show yet,” says Denise Wilt, public reactions and social media team leader at Naper Settlement. “It sold out. The demand was so big that we’re bringing them back this year.” Swifties can celebrate again when Sparks Fly returns to Naper Nights on August 17, the final act in what will be three weekends of music held at Naper Settlement this summer. The concert series begins June 14 with a Tina Turner tribute band (Simply the Best) followed by the Boogie Wonder Band. June 15 features tributes to the Flaming Lips (Sun Stereo) and Coldplay (Fix You). July 19 will be country themed, starting with Hillbilly Rockstarz and followed by the Ultimate Garth Brooks Tribute. On July 20, the Heavy Sounds featuring Gina Bloom & Renaldo Domino kick off the evening followed by Croce Plays Croce, a show in which A.J. Croce plays the songs of his late father, Jim.

Sparks Fly is returning to Naper Nights.
Sparks Fly is returning to Naper Nights.

In August, event organizers decided to change things up for Friday night, bringing in artists playing their own material instead of a tribute show. “We wanted to try something a little bit different for one of the nights this year,” Wilt says. August 16 will open with Old Shoe, a Chicago-based roots rock band, and finish with Samantha Fish, a singer-songwriter and guitar player whose material runs the gamut from blues and rock to bluegrass and funk. The series concludes August 17 with the pop hits group One Night Band opening for Sparks Fly. Tickets for each show are $20 for adults and $15 for kids (ages 4 to 12).

Aurora’s RiverEdge Park (, run by the folks behind the Paramount Theatre, boasts a scenic location along the Fox River just north of downtown. This year’s concert series begins with the Blues on the Fox festival (June 14–15) and includes Three Dog Night (June 21) and Poi Dog Pondering (August 17). It will also host several tribute bands throughout the summer, including the Chicago Experience (June 28), Sixteen Candles (’80s pop, July 12), the ’90s Tour (July 20), Hollywood Nights (a Bob Seger tribute, July 26), Staying Alive (a Bee Gees tribute, August 10), Get the Led Out (a Led Zeppelin tribute, August 16), and Tusk (a Fleetwood Mac tribute, August 31).

On Wednesdays through August, Arbor Evenings at the Morton Arboretum feature live music, so bring a lawn chair or blanket and stretch out on the Frost Hill lawn. Pack a picnic meal or buy dinner from food trucks on the premises. The concerts are free for members, $15 for adults, and $5 for children; advanced ticket purchase is required.

Wheaton Park District ( has expanded its summer concert series in Memorial Park to 13 shows this year, including three free shows June 24, July 21, and August 19. Shows requiring tickets ($10) include the Divas with the Little Mermen—the Ultimate Disney Tribute Band, June 22; Taylor Swift tribute, Burning Red, July 19; and Rocks Off, a Rolling Stone tribute band, August 2.

The Forge: Lemont Quarries (—a destination for its climbing, ziplining, paddling, and laser tag—has expanded its live music offerings this year with a 16-concert lineup. The Rockin’ the Quarry Concert Series begins June 1 with the Jimmy Buffett tribute Gone 2 Paradise. Other highlights include Radio Gaga (June 28), Think Floyd USA (July 6), Dancing Queen (an ABBA tribute, July 27), and Trippin Billies (a Dave Matthews tribute, August 30).

CabCab at Arranmore Farm & Polo Club
CabCab at Arranmore Farm & Polo Club

Blackberry Farm in Aurora presents its Live & Uncorked Concert Series ( Thursdays at 7 p.m. from June 6 to August 1 (no concert July 4). The slate includes local bands of a variety of genres, including, classic rock, pop, and country. These BYOB concerts are for age 21 and older. Tickets are $8 to $10; a season pass is $56 for all eight concerts.

Cantigny Park’s Summer Concert Series ( takes place Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. through September 1. The lineup includes several tribute artists, including those covering Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift. Concerts are on the Parade Field lawn and are included with admission into the park ($20/car).

At the Arranmore Farm & Polo Club in Oswego, Cabernet Cabaret (, also known as CabCab, returns July 27. Following this year’s theme, “Take Back the Night,” its local-star cover band will offer a diverse range of hits from Justin Timberlake to Motown. Tickets range from $30 to $55 (early entry); kids 13 and under are free. Advance tickets only.


FREE Outdoor Concerts


Naperville Concerts in Your Park
June 9, June 23, June 30, July 14, July 21, July 28

7 to 8:30 p.m., various parks /



Naperville Children’s Lunch Hour Entertainment
June 11–July 16

11:30 a.m., alternating between the Riverwalk and the 95th Street Community Plaza /

Downers Grove Summer Concert Series
May 21–August 13
7 to 8:30 p.m.,
Fishel Park, 1036 Grove St. /



Geneva Concerts in the Park Series
July 3–31
7 to 8 p.m.,
River Park, 151 N. River Ln.

Lisle Summer Entertainment Series
July 3–31
5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
July 3 (9:30 p.m. fireworks); 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 10–31
Lisle Community Park, 1800 Short St.

Batavia River Rhapsody
June 12–July 31
7 to 8:30 p.m.,
Batavia Riverwalk, Houston Street at Island Avenue

Woodridge Summer Concert Series
June 26–August 7
7 to 8:30 p.m.,
Various parks /



Warrenville Lunchtime Live!
June 13–August 8
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.,
Cerny Park, 4S150 River Rd. /

Oswego’s Venue 1032 Free Concert Series
June 6, July 11, August 1, September 26
6 p.m.
at Venue 1032, 1012 Station Dr.

Naperville Municipal Band
June 6–August 16
(patriotic concert July 3 instead of July 4)
7:30 p.m., Central Park, 104 E. Benton Ave. /

Wheaton Municipal Band
June 6–August 1
7:30 p.m.,
Memorial Park, 225 Karlskoga Ave. (except July 27)

St. Charles Summer Concerts
May 23–August 8
7 p.m.
at the Lincoln Park gazebo

Hinsdale’s Uniquely Thursdays
June 13–Aug. 22
6 p.m.,
Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave.



Lakeside Pavilion Concert Series

Directly behind the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn /



BrightSide Theatre’s Concerts in the Parks
Enchanted Broadway: A Magical Journey of Showtunes & Superstitions
July 10–August 18

Various dates and locations, including Naperville, Downers Grove, Lisle, and Bolingbrook /


Wine Down Wednesday Polo
Wine Down Wednesday Polo

Food-and-drink-focused festivals have exploded in the western suburbs in the last decade. The Elmhurst Craft Beer Festival ( is a good example of that trend. Started in 2016, the festival continues to be a fundraiser for the Elmhurst History Museum and Churchville Schoolhouse. “The museum actually had a craft beer exhibit at the time, so we thought: Why not have a festival where we can bring some craft brewers together?” says Cathy Jordan, the festival’s chair. “It was just going to be a one-year thing. But it was such a hit we decided to do it again. Last year we had over 1,200 people in attendance.”

This year’s festival, held September 14 on the grounds of the Elmhurst History Museum, is like many local festivals in that it’s expanded its offerings to include meads, ciders, and seltzers in addition to local beers. “We have more than 50 vendors, and they are all doing something creative,” Jordan says. The festival also will include live bands throughout the afternoon.

Celebrating its third year, the Will County Beer and Bourbon Festival (, a fundraiser for Will County Habitat for Humanity, will be held at the Hollywood Casino, Joliet, on June 8. The outdoor festival brings together more than 100 beers and a wide variety of bourbons to sample. The Will County Brewing Company, Shortfuse Brewing, Stevens Point Brewing, and Alarmist Brewing will be among those in attendance. Bringing the bourbon will be Journeyman Distillery, Four Roses, Whiskey Acres, Rush Creek Distillery, and Jack Daniel’s Makers Mark, among others.

The Naperville Ale Fest ( has become so popular that it holds winter and summer editions on the grounds of Naper Settlement. The summer fest, on July 13, will feature more than 100 craft beers, food trucks, special tents (milkshake IPA, anyone?), and other vendors.

Uncorked at Cosley Zoo
Uncorked at Cosley Zoo

For those who prefer fruit of the vine, the Arranmore Farm & Polo Club hosts Wine Down Wednesday Polo each Wednesday between July 10 and August 14. These weekly events, dubbed the “ultimate polo tailgate experience” at its property in Oswego, feature a late-afternoon match with craft beer from Solemn Oath Brewery and nonalcoholic beer from GoBrewing, plus a curated wine list. Allegory will provide the food, while musicians in the Flatbed Concert Series keep the party going after the match. Admission is $65 to $75 per car.

Other vino-centered events include Festival of the Vine ( September 6–8, which brings wine, beer, and food vendors, including many Geneva restaurants, to the downtown festival. You’ll also find wine tasting, horse-drawn carriage rides, and live music. Uncorked at Cosley Zoo ( on July 11 features wine tasting, appetizers, and live entertainment— just don’t feed the animals.

Veggie Fest
Veggie Fest

Veggie Fest ( returns August 10–11 to Danada Park South in Lisle. In its 14th year, the festival has drawn as many as 50,000 people over the two-day event to enjoy international vegetarian food, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, live music, children’s activities, yoga and meditation tents, and experts offering advice on how to follow a plant-based diet.

Those who prefer cocktails will enjoy Cantigny Park’s Glow in the Park ( August 17 in Wheaton. This year, many Cantigny events are leaning into the park’s French connections, and the fluorescent cocktails, glow-in-the-dark games, and live music will be part of a French-themed discotheque.

Finally, for those skipping alcohol, the Morton Arboretum’s Mocktails and More ( returns this year June 22. The event brings together companies that are taking a different approach to happy hour, with mocktails, botanical drinks, and CBD-infused beverages, plus other nonalcoholic beer, wine, and spirits. Guests can enjoy live music in the Arbor Court and Grand Garden.


Cantigny Park Jazz & Wine Fest
Cantigny Park Jazz & Wine Fest

More Food and Beverage Events

Downtown Naperville Spring Wine Walk
June 2

Cantigny Park Jazz & Wine Fest
Noon to 6 p.m. June 23

Downtown Wheaton Craft Crawl
June 29

Summer Wine Walk
August 22


Destination Asia Festival at the Morton Arboretum
Destination Asia Festival at the Morton Arboretum

The area is filled with big summer festivals with a little bit of something for everyone. Take advantage of these area classics.

The aptly named Cream of Wheaton festival (, May 30–June 2, is this city’s signature summer event, with a carnival, live music, beer garden, an arts and crafts fair, and food trucks and vendors. If you’re worried about the calories, burn some off at the Run for the Animals that kicks off day two of the festival.

As the name implies, the Cavalcade of Planes ( in Bolingbrook is one of the area’s more unique festivals. Held at the Clow International Airport, the two-day event (June 1–2) features dozens of aircraft to view both on the ground and flying in formation. You can even book a ride on several of the aircraft throughout the weekend. The family-friendly event highlights many restored “warbirds” on display, and military flybys will show some of them in action. There’s plenty of food and drink to enjoy, including a World War II beer canteen. The Illinois Aviation Museum, also onsite, is open throughout the festival.

Oswego’s PrairieFest (, the largest festival in Kendall County, takes place over Father’s Day weekend, June 13–16. This free event (free parking and admission) has an impressive musical lineup with both national headliners and popular Chicago-area bands. Friday night’s headliner is country music star Deanna Carter, while Saturday boasts alternative-rock favorite Better Than Ezra. Thursday features a performance from the celebrators of yacht rock, the Ron Burgandys; swing by Sunday for the seminal Beatles cover band American English. A carnival runs all four days of the festival.

Dating back to 1949, Geneva’s Swedish Days ( celebrates the heritage of the early settlers in the area. This year’s festival, June 19–23, offers a craft beer tent, a carnival, nightly musical entertainment, and food stands throughout downtown Geneva with Swedish foods (of course) in addition to American and other ethnic cuisines.

Rotary Grove Fest (, organized, as you can probably guess, by the Rotary Club of Downers Grove, has become one of the town’s biggest events since it was founded in 2010. Held June 20–23, the event features a carnival midway, children’s rides, a beer garden, and live music.

The Morton Arboretum’s Destination Asia Festival (, running August 3–4, showcases the food and culture of Asia. Local vendors will be offering tastes from around the continent, while dances and musical performances highlight traditional arts from a variety of countries. This being the arboretum, you also can learn about the many Asian trees and plants that are part of its collection.

County fairs have long celebrated the agricultural heritage of the state. The Kane County Fair (, July 17–21, and the DuPage County Fair (, July 25–28, continue that tradition with livestock judging and other agricultural related contests. You’ll also find carnival rides, food, music and all kinds of entertainment targeted at a family audience.

The PriSSillas at the Last Fling
The PriSSillas at the Last Fling

Enjoy a taste of France in Wheaton at Cantingy Park’s Voyage en France ( July 20. The full-day cultural celebration included a replica of the Eiffel Tour, live entertainment, a French marketplace, plus demonstrations, and other events to bring a smile to any Francophile. This year Cantigny has created a new beer garden on its grounds, which will be open weekly Wednesday to Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., often featuring live music as well as watch parties for events like the French Open and the Olympics in Paris.

Finally, the Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling ( has become the traditional end to the local festival season. Encompassing Labor Day weekend (August 30–September 2), Last Fling takes over Jackson Street with a carnival midway, food vendors, live music on multiple stages, and a variety of family-friendly activities and competitions.


Wheaton Field of Honor
Wheaton Field of Honor

More Special Events

Warrenville Multicultural Festival
Noon to 6 p.m. June 8

Warrenville City Hall Complex 28W701 Stafford Pl.

Woodridge Jubilee
June 13–June 16

Jubilee Point Park, located at the corner of Woodridge Drive and Center Drive /

Wheaton Field of Honor
June 29–July 4

Seven Gables Park, 1750 S. Naperville Rd.

Stolp Island Block Party
5 to 9 p.m. August 2

Stolp Island in downtown Aurora

Warrenville Summer Daze
August 2–3

Warrenville City Hall Complex 28W701 Stafford Pl.

Taste of Glen Ellyn
August 15–17

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd.


Scenes from ‘Bolt’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
Catch Bolt and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off outdoors this summer.

Enjoy Some Free Outdoor Flicks

* Concessions available

The Summer of Movies *
June 20; July 11, 25; August 1

Each movie night held at dusk in a different location.

Movie in the Park
June 7, July 12, August 2

Movies begin at dusk.
Wilder Park
175 S. Prospect Ave.

Movies in the Park *
June 6, July 11, August 1

Movies begin at dusk.
Moore Park, 877 Geneva Dr.

Movies in the Park
June 7, July 19, August 23

Movies begin at dusk at Robbins Park (Seventh and Vine Streets) and the Hinsdale Community Pool
(500 W. Hinsdale Ave.)

Night at the Movies
July 26; August 9, 23; September 6, 20

Movies begin at dusk and alternate between Rotary Hill and 95th Street
Community Plaza locations.

Summer Movies in the Park *
June 20, July 18, August 8

Seating opens at 8 p.m. Movies begin at dusk.
Cerny Park, 4S150 River Rd.

Movies Under the Stars
June 14, July 12, August 2, September 6
Movies begin at dusk.
Each movie night is at a different park.

Movies Under the Stars
8 p.m. June 14, July 12, August 2

Wheaton Public Library’s West Plaza, 225 N. Cross St.


Photos: Roman Sobus (Toronzo cannon), Karl Knapp (Wine Down Wednesday Polo); Last Fing Photography Team; Geneva Arts Fair; Jen Banowetz (Wheaton Summer Concert Series); Davison Images (Naperville’s Fine Art & Artisan Fair); Vandana Jain; The Morton Arboretum (Wine and Art Walk); Skylar Watkins (Get the Led Out); Naperville Heritage Society (Sparks Fly); Time Stops Photography (CabCab); @equinebyleah (Wine Down Wednesday Polo); Larry Kmiecik (Uncorked at Coseley Zoo); Veggie Fest Chicago; Cantigny Park; The Morton Arboretum; Last Fling Photography Team; Jen Banowetz (Wheaton Field of Honor); Walt Disney Pictures (Bolt); Paramount Pictures (Ferris Bueller)