After long winter, communities ready to break out spring festivals

By Erika Wurst for Chronicle Media

The Blues on the Fox annually attracts music and blues fans from all over the state to Aurora’s RiverEdge park. This year’s event will be June 15-16.

May marks the beginning of festival season, and no matter where you live, something fun is happening close by. From kite festivals to magic festivals, blues festivals and parades, plenty is going on this spring and early summer.

Head to downtown Aurora for the Aurora Magic Festival, a celebration of witches, wizards and wonder. At Naper Settlement in Naperville, Civil War Days will delight the whole family with period dress and reenactments.

There’s Swedish Days and Malta Days and PrarieFest and Wine on the Fox. Community picnics, art shows and festivals of all kinds.

Check out the events below and start planning your warm weather entertainment now.


Downtown Aurora Magic

June 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Throughout Downtown Aurora

The Downtown Aurora Magic Festival is a celebration of wizards, witches, and all things magical. Please join us for classes, games, contests, vendors, and more! In addition to ticketed activities, several downtown Aurora businesses and museums will host magic-themed activities throughout the weekend.

Come see all that Downtown Aurora has to offer. For more information visit

Proceeds from this event will be shared among several not-for-profit organizations, including: Mutual Ground, Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, Simply Destinee, Aurora Children’s Dental Service and Rover Rescue.


Blues on the Fox

June 15-16

RiverEdge Park,

Now in its 22nd year, the annual Blues on the Fox festival has attracted music and blues fans from all over the state and even the country.

Featuring some of the hottest artists singing the blues and up-and-comers destined for stardom, Blues on the Fox pays tribute to musicians John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and others who recorded their historic sound at the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora.

Pay tribute to the past, rock out with the present and prepare for the future of blues at Blues on the Fox. Tickets are $20 per day through May 31; $30 per day starting June 1.


Swedish Days Festival

June 19-24

Geneva’s largest festival features a host of family-friendly activities with live musical entertainment, a carnival, Kids’ Day fun, Sweden Väst, a Grand Parade, multi-ethnic food plus great shopping in our historic downtown. Geneva’s train station is located just blocks from the festivities.

For more information visit


Genoa Days and Parade

June 6-9

Downtown Genoa

Genoa Days 2018 is a carnival fundraiser for the Genoa-Kingston Fire Department, a nonprofit organization. The event helps the department raise funds for new equipment, gear and vehicles which help them support their community. This year marks the festival’s 83rd year.


Malta Days

June 8-10

Lions Park, 400 Monroe Street, Malta

Enjoy music, a carnival, a craft fair, a beer garden and more all in one place at this annual event. There will be vendors, Saturday evening fireworks, a car show, live entertainment and all the food you could eat. Don’t forget the parade and a bag for candy. Sunday starting at 11 a.m. on North 3rd Street.  For more information visit


Civil War Days

May 19-20

Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville

Experience firsthand a radical time in our nation’s history when Naper Settlement transforms into an 1863 Civil War encampment, where visitors can meet famous figures of the past, like Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman.

Hundreds of reenactors participate, staging a battle complete with blasting cannons and marching infantry.

This family-friendly event features food, fun and shopping on “Sutler’s Row” for traditional Civil War-era reproduction products. Guests can enjoy the historical sounds of a 13-piece brass band, have a free vintage photograph taken, hear the Gettysburg Address and so much more. The battle begins at 2:30 p.m. each day. Event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy old-fashioned community fun at Naper Settlement’s Hometown Picnic on June 10 in downtown Naperville. (Photo courtesy of Naper Settlement)

G.L.O.W 5K Run

June 2, 8 p.m.

Fifth Avenue and Plank Road, Naperville

The 17th Annual Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund Run for Reading, a 5K family run/walk to support literacy, fitness and family, will take place on 5th Avenue/Plank Road in Naperville. All proceeds will go to the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy to acquire and distribute resources that provide enriched literacy opportunities for learners within the Naperville community.

The Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy, under the Naperville Education Foundation, supports grants to individual educators, or entire schools, in an effort to promote a deeper understanding and teaching of literacy, to enrich instructional programs, to provide opportunities to link literacy between the home and the school, and to lay foundations that will develop life-long readers.

For more information visit


Hometown Picnic

June 10, 1-4 p.m.

Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville

A family event on a Sunday afternoon including a picnic with an old-fashioned baseball game, fun contests, and Touch-A-Truck vehicles. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic and enjoy reliving the past.

The Chicago Salmon versus the Lemont Quarrymen in a vintage baseball game at 1 p.m. All activities are free with museum admission. $12/adult, $10/senior (62+), $8/youth (4-12). Naperville residents with proof of residency, children under 4 and Naper Settlement members are free.



Wine on the Fox

May 5-6

Hudson Crossing Park, 65 N. Harrison St., Oswego

Sample award-winning regional wines at the annual Wine on the Fox festival in Hudson Park in Oswego on May 5-6. (Photo courtesy of

Don’t miss this opportunity to sample award-winning regional wines while enjoying live entertainment, delicious local fare and an interactive showcase of creative small businesses, all benefiting the Oswego community.

Free, and open to the public. New this year, sample wines from an expanded selection of wineries from Illinois, California, Italy and beyond, including premium varieties. Must be 21 years of age and provide a picture ID to consume wine.

Sign up to be the designated driver for your group and receive free bottled water or soda, sponsored by Rotary Club of Oswego.

Purchase tickets at or call 630-554-3618.


June 14-17

PrairieFest Park, 91 Plank Road, Oswego

Oswegoland Park District kicks off 30 years of PrairieFest attended by approximately 75,000 guests over the weekend. This community festival celebrates three decades of being both sweet and sensational.

Oswego’s four-day community celebration is brought to you by the Oswegoland Park District, generous business sponsors, civic organizations, and hundreds of volunteers. We warmly invite you to be a part of “The festival you know by heart.”

Whether supporting the fest, hosting an event, or participating in the fun, there’s a place for you at your community festival. PrairieFest events are held throughout Oswego with the main festival grounds located at PrairieFest Park.


St. Charles

St. Charles Fine Art Show

May 26-27

Downtown St. Charles

The 20th year of this award-winning, highly regarded show features the work of over 100 juried artists in mediums including watercolor, oil, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, wood, mixed media, glass and more.

All are exhibited and available for sale during the two-day outdoor event. Boasting outstanding architecture and historic significance, St. Charles has long been a destination for the arts, dining, entertainment, outdoor and water recreation, shopping and festivals.

The St. Charles Fine Art Show has built a reputation of diverse high-quality art, and attracting an audience of art lovers and buyers who come from the entire Chicago area and beyond.

More information:


Cinco de Mayo Festival

May 5-6

Taxco Restaurant, 223 West State St., Sycamore

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Sycamore at Taxco Restaurant, 223 West State St., on
May 5-6. (Photo courtesy of

Cinco de Mayo features entertainment for the whole family. Behind Taxco Restaurant, 223 W. State St., the party gets going with live bands, dancing, a margarita bar, a beer garden, and all the authentic Mexican food you could want.

Featured in the Kid’s Corner is a petting zoo, pony rides, games, face painting, a Magic Balloon Man, and Piñatas.

Saturday evening is an adults-only event, featuring drinks, food and entertainment. Sunday brings fun for the whole family. Enjoy mariachi music, Mexican dancers, and a salsa competition.


Go Fly a Kite

May 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Graf Park, 1701 Manchester Road, Wheaton

Go Fly a Kite is a free event that encourages the community to come out and enjoy spring and fly kites.

The Chicago Fire Kite Team and the Kite Society of Illinois and Wisconsin perform a demonstration and coordinate a number of kite flying activities for participants.

This event is a great opportunity for local companies and organizations to promote and showcase their business to families within the community.

This event brings over 1,000 participants of all ages each year. For more information visit

Taste of Wheaton

May 31-June 3

Downtown Wheaton

The Taste of Wheaton 2018 captures the hustle and bustle of a vibrant community celebrating summer.

The Taste of Wheaton celebrates local food during the four-day festival May 31-June 3 in downtown Wheaton. (Photo courtesy of Wheaton Park Dist.)

Organized annually by the Wheaton Park District and the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce, the Taste fills several square blocks with carnival rides, the best local food, live entertainment, family-friendly games and crafts, a beer garden, business expo, the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K/10K and half-mile Zippity Zoo Run, art and craft vendors, and Art in the Park.

The four-day festivities take place across Memorial Park, Karlskoga Avenue, Hale Street, Wheaton Avenue, and Liberty Street. Admission to the Taste of Wheaton 2018 is free.

To learn more, visit



Party for the Path

May 12

Steven G. Bridge Park, 3651 Kennedy Road, Bristol

Join the United City of Yorkville as it celebrates the completion of the Kennedy Road Multi-Use Path.

The event is free and open to anyone, and is intended to celebrate the hard work and generosity the Yorkville community and businesses donated to make this path a reality.

Participants are encouraged to meet at the Steven G Bridge Park at 10 a.m. to bike, walk, or run down the Kennedy Road Multi-Use Path starting around 10:15 a.m.

Participants will then stop at the Darlene McCue Path Entrance located on the corner of Bristol Ridge Road and Kennedy Road for a short ceremony. Follow down the path to the Yorkville Rosati’s Pizza & Pub to join the party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with live music, food, and drinks available.

Yorkville officially welcomes in summer with the Summer Solstice Festival along the Fox River park on June 22-23. (Photo courtesy of Foxys Ice Cream)

Cruise Nights on the River

June 6, 5-7:30 p.m.

Riverfront Park, 131 E. Hydraulic Ave., Yorkville

Join the Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department at the historic Riverfront Park for a night filled with classic cars, classic music, and fun. Classic cars of all eras are welcome.

All registered cars and trucks will have a chance to win best in show. This event is free to everyone.

For more information please contact the Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department at 630-553-4357.


Summer Solstice Festival

June 22-23

Downtown Yorkville

Rogue Barrister Records and the City of Yorkville proudly presents “Summer Solstice”, the ultimate pairing of ground to glass brewed beverages and independent minded musicians on the cusp of greatness.

Once again, the scenic Fox River will serve as the backdrop for this unique event in historic downtown Yorkville.

For more information visit




— After long winter, communities ready to break out spring festivals —