Summer Starts Now!

June 2023 View more

The best art fairs, food fests, outdoor concerts, and entertainment the season has to offer

Clockwise from top left: Rotary GroveFest, Morton Arboretum’s Summer on Tap, Naper Nights, Last Fling, Cantigny’s Summer Concert Series, and Cavalcade of Planes
Clockwise from top left: Rotary GroveFest, Morton Arboretum’s Summer on Tap, Naper Nights, Last Fling, Cantigny’s Summer Concert Series, and Cavalcade of Planes

You’ve waited all year, and it’s finally here: time for open-air art fairs and twilight concerts, breezy beer fests and late nights under the glow of carnival lights. However you like to spend your summer—shopping, rocking out, or noshing—there’s truly something for everyone.


Art Fairs

Oak Brook Artisan Market
Oak Brook Artisan Market

The longest running art fair in the state, the Naperville Woman’s Club Fine Art & Artisan Fair ( returns for its 63rd year June 24–25. “It’s an interesting history as the early fair was held in a park where artists placed their works on park benches or hung from clotheslines,” says Susan Stockton, event chairperson. “So we’ve come a long way.” Held at Naper Settlement (523 S. Webster St., Naperville) with free admission and produced entirely by volunteers, the fest features more than 100 artists showcasing their works for sale. Fair-goers can flex their own artistic muscles by taking part in an interactive mural project. “It’s an 8-by-12-foot mural that’s broken down into 8-by-8-inch squares,” Stockton explains. This year artist Gregory Frederic’s Chase the Dream will be parsed into 216 sections for visitors to paint, then each completed square will be stapled to a wooden frame, re-creating the entire painting. The club also is adding some new elements to the fair this year. “We’re hoping to have photo ops where attendees can stick their face in a framed masterpiece,” Stockton says. “We’re also hoping to have live entertainment—local classical or jazz musicians or a chorus to perform throughout the show.”

Naperville Woman’s Club Fine Art & Artisan Fair mural project
Naperville Woman’s Club Fine Art & Artisan Fair mural project

Returning for its 15th year, Oak Brook Artisan Market ( brings more than 75 makers of art, decor, gourmet eats, and bath goodies to Oakbrook Center (100 Oakbrook Ctr., Oak Brook) the weekend of June 10–11. “There’s everything from cutting boards to art prints to various home goods, woodworking, pottery,” says Jonathan Smith, who cofounded the market with wife, Lynna. Sibling event Naperville Artisan Market ( returns for a second year at CityGate Centre (2135 CityGate Lane, Naperville) August 12–13 and shares about half of the same vendors from the Oak Brook market. “We’ll have jewelry, handmade handbags, and a lot of sustainable fashion,” Smith says. “Typically we have someone who upcycles and remakes vintage clothing, which is always kind of fun and interesting.” All vendors are small businesses based in the Chicago area or the near Midwest. “One of our taglines is, ‘Keep your friends close and your supply chain closer,’ ” Smith says. The outdoor locale at CityGate also comes with some appealing indoor amenities. “Because it’s right near Hotel Arista, there’s indoor restrooms—no porta-potties—and you can go into Lavazza and have a coffee or a pastry or to Zorba Cocktail Bar and sit down and have glass of wine and make a morning or afternoon of it.”


Mark your calendar for more art fairs

Alley Art Festival
Alley Art Festival

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival
June 3–4 at Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave.

Burr Ridge Art Fair
June 24–25 at Burr Ridge Village Center, 701 Village Center Dr.

Geneva Arts Fair
July 29–30 on South Third Street in downtown Geneva.

Wine and Art Walk
Aug. 19–20 at Morton Arboretum, 4100 Rte. 53, Lisle.

Alley Art Festival
Aug. 26 in downtown Aurora at Downer Place and Water Street Mall.

Downers Grove Fine Arts Festival
Sept. 9–10 on Main Street between Maple Avenue and Curtiss Street.


Food Fests

Stolp Block Party
Stolp Block Party

Feast on offerings from local mobile eateries all in one place at Lemont Food Truck Festival (, slated for July 1 at the Forge (1001 Main St., Lemont). This fest for foodies made its debut last summer featuring 14 trucks serving everything from Neapolitan-style pizza to empanadas to lobster rolls. This year’s truck lineup is sure to be a blast with a backdrop of live music. A $10 ticket buys you general admission to the fest from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., or you can arrive at 11 a.m. by upgrading to the $15 Early Eater pass. Food, beer, and activities ranging from archery and axe throwing to laser tag are all priced à la carte.

Foodies also can find local food trucks cooking up tasty eats in downtown Aurora throughout the summer. First Fridays—a year-round open-house event at downtown Aurora businesses—will have a Pride theme and a food-truck court on June 2. After a hiatus in July, First Fridays will return August 4 and coincide with the Stolp Block Party ( Stolp Avenue between Galena Boulevard and Downer Place will close for the day to make room for booths from local artists and a fleet of food trucks, including Holy Pierogi, Grumpy Gaucho, and Strawberries BBQ, plus Tapville Social’s mobile taproom. High-energy funk band Tamarie T. & Thee Elektra Kumpany are set to perform in the riverfront gazebo at Millennium Plaza.

Taco fans, this ones for you: Snack your way around downtown Aurora on September 19 at the Taco Crawl hosted by Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry ( Participants meet at Society 57 at 4 p.m. to pick up their taco passport and T-shirt before making their way to local restaurants such as Altiro Latin Fusion and La Quinta de los Reyes. Crawlers can dine at their own pace before meeting back at Society 57 at 8 p.m. for an after party with dessert and drinks. “Everyone can bring their passport back to enter it in a raffle and we will do a drawing for prizes, and share experiences about where people went and what they liked,” says Diane Renner, pantry director. The food pantry hosted an identical crawl in May that sold out quickly, so don’t sleep on tickets ($30) for this end-of-summer repeat.


New Patios to Visit

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

1. At Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar (1775 22nd St., Oak Brook), dogs are welcome to join their owners on the covered patio, which features a fire pit ringed with cushy chairs. Staff will cater to your pooch with a bowl of water and chicken or beef dishes from its dog menu.

2. After opening last fall, Go Brewing (1665 Quincy Ave., Naperville) is gearing up for its first full summer season with a covered patio with a firepit, bags sets, heaters for chilly nights, and a pull-up bar to show off your athletic skills in between sips.

3. The new outdoor space at Whiskey Bend (222 W. Main St., St. Charles) boasts fire tables, a bar, and a stage for musicians to perform on summer weekends.


Beer + Wine Fests

Wheaton Brew and Seltzer Fest
Wheaton Brew and Seltzer Fest

Kick off beer fest season with Summer on Tap, a fresh new event June 24 hosted by the Morton Arboretum (4100 Rte. 53, Lisle, Tasting booths offering locally made beers, ciders, and meads as well as spiked seltzers and cocktails will line the wooded trails along Meadow Lake. Tickets ($50–$70) include 20 three-ounce samples and access to the entire grounds.

In response to the soaring popularity of spiked seltzer, last year the organizers of the long-running Wheaton Brew Fest renamed it Wheaton Brew and Seltzer Fest (, and it’s set to return in all its bubbly glory to Memorial Park (225 Karlskoga Ave.) August 5. This ticketed 21-and-up fest ($60; $25 for designated drivers) will feature 60-plus craft beers and spiked seltzers, and each attendee can choose up to 32 two-ounce samples. A portion of event proceeds benefit CASA of DuPage County and the DuPage County Historical Museum Foundation.

If cocktails are more your style, gather some fun-loving friends to sip fluorescent drinks at Glow in the Park August 12 at Cantigny Park (1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, With glow-in-the-dark inflatables and giant lawn games, this 21-and-up event promises plenty of nostalgic fun to liven up your evening.

Rounding out the season is Elmhurst Craft Beer Fest ( September 16, hosted by the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation on the grounds of the Elmhurst History Museum (120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst). “It’s kind of the culmination of summer here in Elmhurst because it’s one of the last events that are outside,” says Cathy Jordan, fest chair. More than 50 beverage companies are expected to pour not only craft beer but also cider, mead, and spiked seltzer, including Afterthought Brewing Company in Lombard, Standard Meadery in Villa Park, and Obscurity Brewing & Craft Mead in Elburn. Fest profits go directly to fund exhibits and educational programs for the Elmhurst History Museum. “I’m a craft beer aficionado and was a home brewer once upon a time, and I have to say we have some great brewers coming,” says Dave Oberg, director of the Elmhurst History Museum. “We’ve got live music, too, that day, and it’s terrific. Petty Cash, which is a fun mashup of Tom Petty and Johnny Cash, and Lake Effect—both are really high-energy bands, which makes for a really fun day.” Tickets range from $45 to $70 plus a $20 designated-driver option. Score $5 off your ticket at a June 16 presale event at Pints (112 S. York St., Elmhurst), a local sports bar and fest sponsor.


Mark your calendar for more boozy events

Downtown Naperville Spring Wine Walk
June 4 in downtown Naperville.

Jazz & Wine Festival
June 18 at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton.

Naperville Ale Fest
July 8 at Naper Settlement 523 S. Webster St.

A Walk in the Park Wine Tour
July 27 at Central Park 1510 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook.

Festival of the Vine
September 8–10 in downtown Geneva.


Outdoor Concerts

Naper Nights
Naper Nights

Didn’t nab tickets to The Eras Tour? Taylor Swift tribute band Sparks Fly is one of the 12 acts set to perform at the Naper Nights summer concert series ( at Naper Settlement (523 S. Webster St., Naperville) June 16–17, July 14–15, and August 18–19. Two acts perform each evening. Performers include the American Idiots (Green Day tribute), Gaslighter (the Chicks tribute) and the Red NOT Chili Peppers (well, we think you can guess). Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4–12.

As music fans have come to expect, quintessential outdoor music venue RiverEdge Park ( in Aurora will be rocking all summer long. This year’s concert lineup includes iconic rock acts Styx July 11 ($50), Poi Dog Pondering August 26 ($30), and REO Speedwagon September 2 ($50). Blues on the Fox returns June 16–17 for its 27th year. Ruthie Foster hits the stage first on Friday before headliner Jimmie Vaughan, while Saturday’s bill features performances from Aurora native Joey J. Saye (see Music Scene), Mud Morganfield (see Spotlight), and Kenny Neal before headliner Christone “Kingfish” Ingram takes the stage. And always low on price and big on fun, the Downtown Alive! concert series returns with throwback hip-hop act Too Hype Crew June 30 and pop-rock band 7th Heaven July 7. Tickets are just $5.

Arbor Evenings, Morton Arboretum’s summer concert series ( is also a perennial favorite. BYO picnic spread to this family-friendly event with live music, dancing, and lawn games on Wednesdays through August 23. New this year, you can buy a reusable wine glass ($16) and bring it back for $1 off future wine purchases at Arbor Evenings concerts throughout the summer. Tickets are $13 per person, $5 for children, and free for age 1 and under.


Mark your calendar for more outdoor concerts

Cantigny’s Outdoor Concert Series
Sunday afternoons and some Saturday evenings. $30/car. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton.

Live & Uncorked
7 p.m. Thursdays, June 8–July 7. BYOB event for ages 21 and up. $8 prepurchase; $10 day-of. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Rd., Aurora.

The Forge’s Summer Music Series offers live music in June, July, and August, including Forge Fest
July 3. Prices vary. 1001 Main St., Lemont.

Summer Entertainment Series
June 23–24, July 14–15, August 11–12, September 8–9. $10. Memorial Park, 225 Karlskoga Ave., Wheaton.

Wine Down Wednesdays brings back its Flatbed Concert Series in July and August at Arranmore Farm & Polo Club. And don’t forget Cabernet Cabaret, July 29.
Ticket prices vary. 34 Rance Rd., Oswego.


Free Outdoor Concerts

Batavia River Rhapsody
Batavia River Rhapsody

🍹 Concessions available

Downers Grove Summer Concert Series
7 p.m. Tuesdays
May 23–August 15
🍹 Veterans Memorial Pavilion at Fishel Park, 1036 Grove St., Downers Grove.

St. Charles Summer Concerts
7 p.m. Thursdays
May 25–August 10
Lincoln Park gazebo in downtown St. Charles on West Main and Fourth Streets.

Naperville Municipal Band
7:30 p.m. Thursdays
June 1–August 10
🍹 Central Park Bandshell, 104 E. Benton Ave.

STC Live!
Wednesdays and Fridays
June 1–August 31
Various times and locations

Wheaton Municipal Band
7:30 p.m. Thursdays
June 8–August 3
Downtown Wheaton’s Memorial Park, 225 Karlskoga Ave., Wheaton.

Warrenville Lunchtime Live!
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Thursdays
June 8–August 10
Cerny Park, 4S150 River Rd., Warrenville.

Naperville Concerts in Your Park
7 p.m. various Sundays
June 11–July 30

Naperville Children’s Lunch Hour Entertainment
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays
June 13–July 25
Alternating between Rotary Hill and 95th Street Community Plaza locations.

Uniquely Thursdays
6 p.m. Thursdays
June 15–August 17
🍹 Burlington Park, 30 Chicago Ave., Hinsdale.

Batavia River Rhapsody
7 p.m. Wednesdays
June 21–August 9
🍹 Peg Bond Center, 151 N. Island Ave., Batavia.

Summer in the Parks
Various dates and locations
June 21–August 9
Naperville’s BrightSide Theatre will perform songs from musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Woodridge Summer Concert Series
7 p.m. Wednesdays
June 28–August 9
Concerts held in a different park each week.

Lisle Summer Entertainment Series
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 3 (9:15 p.m. fireworks)
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays July 13–August 2
Lisle Community Park, 1800 Short St., Lisle.

Concerts in the Park
7 p.m. Wednesdays
July 5–July 26
🍹 RiverPark, 151 River Ln., Geneva.

Wednesdays at the Plaza
7 p.m. Wednesdays
July 12–August 9
Millennium Plaza, 21 S. Stolp Ave.


Outdoor Movies

No matter where you live in the Western burbs, there’s sure to be an outdoor movie series nearby. Grab a blanket, pack up some snacks, and take advantage of these free summer flicks.

Naperville’s A Night at the Movies
Naperville’s A Night at the Movies

🍿 Concessions available

The Summer of Movies

June 1, 15, 29; July 13, 27; August 10
🍿 Each movie night held at dusk in a different location.

Movies in the Park

June 6, July 11, August 1
Movies begin at dusk.
🍿 Moore Park, 877 Geneva Dr.

Movies in the Park

June 9, July 14, August 11
Movies begin at dusk.
🍿 Each movie night is at a different park.

Stills from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Finding Nemo’
You’ll find fish and fighter pilots in this summer’s outdoor movie lineups.

Movies Under the Stars

8 p.m. June 9 and July 28, 6 p.m. October 13
Wheaton Public Library’s West Plaza, 225 N. Cross St.

Summer Movies in the Park

June 15, July 20, August 17
Seating opens at 8 p.m. Movies begin at dusk.
🍿 Cerny Park, 4S150 River Rd.

Movie in the Park

June 16, July 14, August 4
Movies begin at dusk.
Wilder Park, 175 S. Prospect Ave.

Batavia’s Movies in the Park
Batavia’s Movies in the Park

Movies in the Park

July 19 and August 2
Movies begin after River Rhapsody concerts.
Batavia Riverwalk.

Movies at Mundy

July 27 and August 24
Seating opens at 7 p.m. Movies begin at dusk.
🍿 Mundy Park, 21 S. Broadway.

Night at the Movies

July 28; August 11, 25; September 8, 22
Movies begin at dusk and alternate between Rotary Hill and 95th Street Community Plaza locations.

More Fest Fun

Save the date for these summer events

Cream of Wheaton attendees

Cream of Wheaton
June 1–4 at Memorial Park, 225 Karlskoga Ave.
Featuring: Live music, food vendors, beer garden, arts and crafts fair, carnival, 5K and 10K races

Calvalcade of Planes
June 3–4 at Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook
Featuring: Aircraft displays and shows, plane and helicopter rides, food vendors

June 15–18 in downtown Oswego
Featuring: Live music, petting zoo, pony rides, carnival, parade, food vendors, expo village

Geneva’s Swedish Days Festival

Geneva’s 73rd Annual Swedish Days Festival
June 21–25 in downtown Geneva
Featuring: Car show, nightly entertainment, craft beer tent, food vendors

Rotary GroveFest
June 22–25 in downtown Downers Grove
Featuring: Live music, food vendors, carnival, craft beer fest, car show

DuPage County Fair
July 28–30 at the DuPage Event Center & Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Rd., Wheaton
Featuring: Carnival, live music, food vendors, talent contest, exhibitors, livestock judging

Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling

Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling
Sept. 1–4 in downtown Naperville
Featuring: Live music, food vendors, carnival, parade, business expo


Photos: Slav Polinski (lead photos); The Morton Arboretum; Naper Settlement; Last Fling Photography Team; Cantigny Park; Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport. ART FAIRS: Oak Brook Artisan Market; Naperville Woman’s Club; Aurora Downtown; Brandon Butler (Stolp Block Party). FOOD FESTS: Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar; Erin Dobosiewicz | Cinder and Vinegar Photography. OUTDOOR CONCERTS: Naper Settlement; Batavia Park District. OUTDOOR MOVIES: Batavia Park District; Walt Disney Pictures Pixar; Paramount; Naperville Park District; Cream of Wheaton staff; Geneva Chamber of Commerce; Last Fling Photography Team.