Top 17 Festivals In Illinois, USA

festivals in illinois
| 9 min read

Illinois, USA lies at the heart of the country and is a state of firsts. The first skyscraper in the USA was constructed in this state, along with the pioneer Ferris wheel. Named after the Illinois River, this state contains several attractions and holds different distinctions. It is the largest producer of corn in the USA and is the site of the busiest airport in the world. There are so many landmarks, state parks, and monuments all around the region. Tourists flock to this state in droves due to the several attractions, but perhaps nothing attracts visitors as much as the different festivals that occur yearly in this beautiful location. Enjoy an adventure of culture and heritage with these top festivals in Illinois, USA.

1. Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Illinois Shakespeare Festival
Source: Max Pixel

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is held in Bloomington, Illinois, at Ewing Theatre and at the Center for Performing Arts Theatre at Illinois State University. It is a nightly performance that showcases the finest of Illinois’s performing arts. Before the show proper, visitors are treated to a free pre-show performance, including live jazz, a shortened form of the play to be performed, and several other fun activities. Whether old or young, there is something for everyone at this fair. It usually runs from June through to August. There is a morning performance that is mainly for younger audiences. Visit with the family or group and have a grand time.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Address: 400 W. Beaufort Street Normal, IL

Website: Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Takes place: Usually held June to August

Price: Free

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2. Long Grove’s Strawberry Festival

Long Grove Strawberry Festival on The Food Network September 8th! #longgrove #foodnetwork

Posted by Long Grove Confectionery - Italian Ice Stand on Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Long Grove village is a historic village in Illinois and is home to several festivals. The community here loves to eat, and during Long Grove’s Strawberry Festival, strawberry is the main thing on the menu. The event is one of the oldest festivals in the village. It consists of three consecutive days dedicated solely to all things strawberry. Visitors and locals alike will enjoy the strawberry products on display. From flavored strawberry pie to kid crafts to strawberry barbecue and more, this fair offers a rich experience for the entire family. It isn’t exclusively limited to just strawberry as there are other events to enjoy during the celebration, like a carnival, live music, and summer games.

Long Grove’s Strawberry Festival

Address: 308 Old McHenry Road Long Grove IL 60047

Website: Long Grove’s Strawberry Festival

Takes place: June

Price: 5 USD

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3. Illinois Renaissance Festival

Renaissance festival

Posted by Marnie Stronk Beebe on Saturday, 5 July 2014

Step into merry old England during the Illinois Renaissance Festival. Come with the family or group and step back in time to explore the kingdom replete with knights, eateries, taverns, artisans, and bards. You will have a good old time at this festival as there are several activities you can enjoy. You can test your balancing skills as you try to walk across the rope bridge or test your targeting skills by trying to hit a catapult target with a water balloon. Aside from these activities, you also enjoy different delicious meals and drinks. And before you leave, buy a souvenir or discover handmade treasures in the bazaar. The Illinois Renaissance Festival provides a fun time for the whole family.

Illinois Renaissance Festival

Address: 10 Oakwood Avenue Danville, IL 61832, USA

Website: Illinois Renaissance Festival

Takes place: Usually held in August

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4. Cobden Peach Festival

here's a pic of me and Pal in the the cobden peach festival parade, a few years ago.

Posted by Wil Maring on Monday, 10 August 2009

This fair occurs on the first two days of August and is celebrated in Southern Illinois. Drop by and enjoy having a part in the local peach harvest of the region. Enjoy the taste and scent of freshly picked peaches from the local farmers. The harvest isn’t the sole attraction, though, as there are loads of exciting games and carnival events to mark the harvest season. There is also the annual Miss Peach Queen pageant, so ensure you stick around to enjoy that as well. There is also live music, food vendors, bingo raffles, and more.

Cobden Peach Festival

Address: 117 S Appleknocker Dr Cobden IL 62920

Website: Cobden Peach Festival

Opening hours: August

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5. Illinois Beer Festival

We're so excited to share the news that we took home 3 medals at the Illinois Beer Festival this past weekend. The...

Posted by Scorched Earth Brewing Co on Monday, 20 August 2018

Illinois produces some of the world’s best beers, and this festival highlights the different craft beers in the region. It marks the period in which there was a brewery in almost every town in Illinois when it was founded about 200 years ago. The festival features over 30 different craft brews and is one of the most popular beer festivals in Illinois. Come here with your friends and buy access to the festival grounds as well as some beer samples. Aside from the beer and other tasty beverages, the event also features live music, and there are food vendors to fuel your stomach and keep the excitement high.

Illinois Beer Festival

Address: Grundy County Fairgrounds 8890 N. Rt. 47 Morris, IL 60450 United States

Takes place: August

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6. Long Grove Chocolate Festival

Hang in there! Spring is right around the corner and so is Long Grove Chocolate Festival May 15-17

Posted by Long Grove Chocolate Festival on Saturday, 7 March 2015

This festival takes place in the historic village of Long Grove. Gorge on the best chocolate from Illinois at this fun and lively event. If you have a sweet tooth, there is nearly no other festival here to better indulge yourself in. Everything here is chocolate-covered! From the fruit to the fudge, donuts, desserts, and brownies, you will enjoy a delicious chocolate feast. There is also a baking competition, and different chocolate-flavored baked foods for the whole group or family to try. You will savor the fair and never want to depart this paradise of chocolate.

Long Grove Chocolate Festival

Address: 360 Historical Lane, Long Grove, IL 60047

Website: Long Grove Chocolate Festival

Takes place: Usually held in May

Price: 5 USD

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7. Geneva’s Festival of the Vine

Posted by Geneva, IL - Chamber of Commerce & Tourism on Friday, 15 September 2017

Enjoy a fantastic festival of flavor at Geneva’s Festival of the Vine. The festival is one of the highest-rated festivals in Illinois and is also one of the oldest. Come and enjoy some of the best wines and food, not just from the locals, but from vendors storming from many parts of the world. If you are a wine enthusiast, you will enjoy sampling the drinks on display. Aside from the food and beverages, you can enjoy shopping at the flower market. There is also an arts and crafts show to keep you enthralled. The kids will love the kids’ corner. Surely, the entire family will have loads of fun and activities to be enjoyed during Geneva’s Festival of the Vine.

Geneva’s Festival of the Vine

Address: 8 S. Third Street, Geneva, Illinois 60134

Website: Geneva’s Festival of the Vine

Takes place: September

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8. Long Grove’s Apple Fest

Posted by Long Grove Apple Fest on Saturday, 21 September 2019

As the name implies, there are loads of apples present at this festival. It is one of the biggest apple festivals in the region. The fair is renowned for the apple delicacies and flavored products, from apple cider donuts to apple-flavored cotton candy, and more. There are several vendors that dish out varied apple-inspired foods. You can also enjoy several home-made items. In addition to all the apple-inspired goodness, there is live music on the background to keep you entertained. Kids have a dedicated center that delights in the form of apple pie-eating competitions and other games.

Long Grove’s Apple Fest

Address: 308 Old McHenry Rd, Long Grove, IL 60047

Website: Long Grove’s Apple Fest

Opening hours: September

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9. Sycamore Pumpkin Fest

Medicare or All - Northern Illinois in the 2017 Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Parade. #MedicareForAll #MedicareForAllNorthernIllinois #m4aii

Posted by Medicare for All - Northern Illinois on Monday, 30 October 2017

The Sycamore Pumpkin Fest started in 1956 when a resident began displaying pumpkins on his front lawn. Since then, this DeKalb County festival has grown more significant, and today includes a fun Halloween weekend. Thousands of pumpkins are decorated and put on display to add to the fun, eerie Halloween spirit. There are several fun fall activities to enjoy as well, including a beautiful pumpkin parade. You can also enjoy historic home tours, a pair of indoor craft shows, and more.

Sycamore Pumpkin Fest

Address: S Prairie Dr, Sycamore, IL 60178, United States

Takes place: October

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10. Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest

Quad Cities 8th Annual hot air balloon fest with Judith Breisch and David Breisch. If hot air keeps them up, David wants to know what's keeping me down!

Posted by Roger E. Breisch on Saturday, 23 September 2017

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? Well, if you haven’t, the Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest offers an excellent chance to have your first ride. The event allows all visitors to enjoy how it feels to ride in a hot air balloon. There are tethered rides and several balloon launches at the fest. Furthermore, you will enjoy the Glowing Balloons Show that occurs in the morning and early evening. A full array of hot air balloons take off throughout the weekend and are visible high above the town.

Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest

Address: Rock Island County Fairgrounds 4200 Archer Drive East Moline, IL 61244

Website: Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest

Takes place: Usually held in September

Price: Free

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11. Mt. Vernon Fall Festival

Parade lineup announced Saturday’s Fall Fest Parade starts at 3 p.m. BY TESA GLASS MT....

Posted by Mt. Vernon, Illinois on Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Mt. Vernon Fall Festival is a festival for the whole family, and you can rest assured that everyone will leave with big, happy smiles on their faces. The town of Mt. Vernon hosts this festival and opens it to the general public. There are loads of things to enjoy at the fair – including food, music, and more. The entire family will have a lovely time here. Get into the season’s spirit with the pumpkin contest and the chili cooking competition. Aside from these, there is a carnival and a parade to keep you occupied. Your young ones will love playing in the kids’ area that comes with many games and toys.

Mt. Vernon Fall Festival

Address: South 9th Street 200 Potomac Blvd., Mount Vernon IL 62864

Yakes place: September

Price: Free

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12. Chicago Blues Festival

20080608 Chicago Blues Festival
Source: Photo by user flickr user D.L. used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Many of the festivals celebrated in Illinois are some of the biggest of their kind in the world and it is no different for the Chicago Blues Festival. It marks the past, present, and future of blues. It showcases legends putting up impressive performances and is also a big break for upcoming artistes to be propelled to stardom. The festival shares the Chicago-born tradition with tourists and shows the genre’s contribution to other kinds of music. Music starts early each day and lasts throughout the day. It’s a whole day of fun you don’t want to miss.

Chicago Blues Festival

Address: Millennium Park 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

Website: Chicago Blues Festival

Takes place: Usually held in June

Price: Free

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13. Chicago Jazz Festival

20070901 Chicago Jazz Festival at Petrillo Music Shell
Source: Photo by user flickr user mojosmom used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Chicago Jazz Festival has been one of the largest and most enjoyable musical festivals in Illinois for more than 30 years. If you love jazz, then there is no better fair to be than the Jazz Festival. The play appeals not just to a select group of jazz lovers, but a wider audience. Visit and enjoy all types of jazz music as the artists on the show come from all around the world. The festival is usually crowded, with attendance generally soaring to more than 100,000 fans. Fortunately, it is a free festival and is one of the most extensive free jazz festivals around the globe.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Address: Chicago Cultural Center 78 E. Washington St. Chicago, IL 60602

Website: Chicago Jazz Festival

Takes place: August to September

Price: Free

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14. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Source: Photo by user Rachel Kramer used under CC BY 2.0

Held in November, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is one of the essential evening holiday fairs in the entire country. It offers visitors a whole day full of fun and unforgettable activities. Enjoy the parade down Michigan Avenue led by none other than the beloved children’s character Mickey Mouse. The festival is also a light show as you can bask in the illumination of the lights dressing the trees. There is also a fireworks show over the Chicago River. Additionally, there are live concerts by some top-rated musical artists.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Address: Ogden Elementary School 24 West Walton Street Chicago, IL 60610 United States

Takes place: November

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15. Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Posted by Chicago Gospel Music Festival on Friday, 9 January 2015

Gospel music has embedded roots in the Chicago area in Illinois. The region served as a focal point for this genre of music and played a vital role in propelling it onto the world stage. Today, the tradition is kept alive and kicking by the Chicago Gospel Music Festival. It is held in the city with Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center as the backdrop. Enjoy a festival that explores the depth of this genre and experience a lovely time listening to live choruses and powerful vocalists, and so much more.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Address: Millennium Park 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

Website: Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Takes place: Usually held in June

Price: Free

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16. Lollapalooza Chicago

Chance the Rapper Lollapalooza Chicago 2017 (42741510875)
Source: Photo by user swimfinfan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lollapalooza is a beautiful music experience and celebration in Illinois. The festival welcomes more than 130 bands on 8 stages, with each artist offering an unusual style of music. There is a diverse lineu, and you can bop to EDM, indie, hip hop, and other forms of music at the immensely popular Lollapalooza festival. The fair is held at Great Park and spans more than 120 acres (48.6 hectares) of land. Aside from the entrancing music, you can enjoy the farmer’s market, the food vendors that sell a wide range of food, and a market that features several handmade crafts and arts.

Lollapalooza Chicago

Address: Grant Park Chicago, IL

Website: Lollapalooza Chicago

Takes place: Usually held July to August

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17. Chicago Air & Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show from North Avenue Beach
Source: Photo by user CarlCarlsonIV used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Chicago Air & Water show is the largest free show of its kind, not just in the region but in the entire United States. Take your family along and see different exhibitions and other displays at this bustling event. You can watch from the lakefront as the festival is held on the shore of Lake Michigan. Some of the things you can expect to see at the show include daredevil pilots, parachute teams, boat jumping, and more. You can also watch flying teams comprised of civilian and military pilots. There is also an array of military aircraft and hardware to see and take Instagram-worthy pictures with.

Chicago Air & Water Show

Address: North Avenue Beach 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60613

Website: Chicago Air & Water Show

Opening hours: August

Price: Free

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18. Urbana Sweetcorn Festival [Event has passed]

Corny's making new friends this morning at Urbana's Market at the Square! #UrbanaSweetCorn2017 #LocalLocalLocal

Posted by Urbana Sweetcorn Festival on Saturday, 15 July 2017

The very first Urbana Sweet Corn Festival was held in August 1975 in downtown Urbana. The festival has grown since then and has become one of the largest festivals on this side of Illinois. It is especially great for your household as it is a community-oriented, family-fun festival. Spend your weekend in sweet bliss during this fair. Although the main attraction is sweet corn, there are other activities to enjoy. A variety of musicians play throughout the night, and the kids will enjoy the Corn Classic Corn Eating Contest. There are also inflatables and loads of free things to check out. Join the fun every year and have a memorable time!

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Address: 111 W. Main Street, Urbana IL 61801

Website: Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Takes place: August

Price: 1 USD

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Enjoy a festive time in Illinois

Are you a bookworm, an architecture buff, or just a person who loves to have a great time? No matter your inclination, rest assured that Illinois has a festival for you. Celebrations provide a grand time for visitors. Come with your friends and family and enjoy any of these popular festivals in Illinois, USA.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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James Kure is an ardent writer from a very humble background. He loves writing about the world’s top travel destinations, especially the Scandinavian and Japanese regions. When not writing, James...Read more

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