1 FRIDAY Frank Lloyd Wright once said of his birthplace, Richland Center, Wisconsin, “Every time I come back here it is with the feeling there is nothing anywhere better than this.” The town returns the favor by celebrating the architect’s June birthday during Richland Center Heritage Days, which are today and tomorrow and include walking tours of historic Richland Center, a craft fair, a trip to the Brown Church in Bear Valley (where Wright’s father and social reformer Bertha Reynolds are buried), horse-drawn-carriage rides, and, of course, birthday cake. Call 608-647-6205 for more.
The 13th annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival in Little Chute, Wisconsin, kicks off tonight with a cheese-curd-eating contest featuring local celebrities. The rest of the three-day festival features cheese-carving demonstrations, a cheese parade, and cheese tasting, plus music, kids’ entertainment, carnival rides, and athletic events. Weekend admission is $4 for adults, $2 for kids. Call 920-788-7390.
2 SATURDAY Proceeds from the third annual West Suburban Caged Bird Show benefit local wildlife protection organizations, including groups that treat abandoned or injured birds. The show features birds, supplies, and accessories, and takes place at the Du Page County Fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester in Wheaton, Illinois. Call 630-668-6636.
The Spinners and Weavers Spin-In, today and tomorrow at Billie Creek Village, just outside of Rockville, Indiana, includes demonstrations of spinning, carding, dyeing, and other traditional crafts. Call 765-569-3430 or see www.billiecreek.org for more. 9 The Festival of the Wild Rose Moon (today and tomorrow) celebrates buckskinners and fur traders from the French and Indian War, and includes encampments, archery, hawk throws, and a black powder shoot. It takes place in a turn-of-the-century village and farmstead in Middlebury, Indiana, and benefits the Loveway Therapeutic Horseback Riding Facility. Call 219-293-4640 for more.
The Kickapoo Grand Village near Bloomington-Normal was occupied from the early 1700s to 1932, when the U.S. government forced the Kickapoo to leave. The tribe splintered, with members landing in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Mexico. Marguerite Salazar’s grandparents were residents of Grand Village, and the 108-year-old–who still lives in a bark hut, as they did–will travel from her home in Mexico to honor their memory at the fourth annual Intertribal Powwow in LeRoy, Illinois. The two-day event, which starts today on the site of the original village, also features storytelling, crafts, a silent auction, and hundreds of dancers. Call 309-962-2700.
3 SUNDAY The Mid-America Canoe Race, an annual 15-mile race on the Fox River in Aurora, Illinois, in conjunction with the 26th annual Outdoor North Aurora Arts & Crafts Show. Call 630-897-0516.
Only 17 1948 Davis Three-Wheeler Coupes were ever built. Company president Gary Davis claimed the car, which had a removable hardtop, could hit 116 miles per hour and get 35 miles to the gallon when equipped with an overdrive transmission; the real numbers were more like 65 mph and 28 mpg. Davis was eventually convicted of fraud–not for false advertising but for shady company finances. One of his original coupes will make an appearance today at Michigan’s fifth annual Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show, along with Packards, Edsels, Tuckers, Studebakers, Hudsons, and other models abandoned by their manufacturers. It’s in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti; admission is $10 for participants and $3 for spectators. Call 800-888-9487 or visit www.annarbor.org for more info.
6 WEDNESDAY Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods to the McHenry County Historical Museum’s new exhibit, Marching Off–Left Behind: The World War II Experience, to get a feel for the myriad scrap drives that took place in the 1940s. The exhibit focuses on McHenry County’s involvement in World War II and opens tonight. The canned goods will be donated to local food pantries. The museum is at 6422 Main in Union, Illinois, 815-923-2267.
7 THURSDAY Indiana was once home to more than 225 round barns, which were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because they were cheaper and easier to build than their rectangular cousins. These days about 100 remain, some of which will be visited on a bus tour during the free Round Barn Festival in Rochester, Indiana, which starts today and runs through Saturday. There will be a twilight parade on Friday, plus food, crafts, and a 5K run. Call 219-224-2666 or see www.icss.net/-fcss.
9 SATURDAY Romeoville’s Island Rendezvous, an annual celebration of the 18th-century fur trade that includes dramatizations, period music, exhibitions, and crafts, takes place today and tomorrow at the Isle a la Cache Museum, 501 135th in Romeoville. Call 815-727-8700. 9 Billie Creek Village’s Civil War Days (today and tomorrow near Rockville) is Indiana’s largest Civil War reenactment, boasting cannons, bands, marching troops, pioneer food, and 3,000 participants. Call 765-569-5430.
The Cambridge Pottery Festival in Cambridge, Wisconsin, includes the U.S. Pottery Games, in which potters throw clay and try to qualify for the World Pottery Games while spectators spectate. There’s also an auction, children’s events, demonstrations of raku firing, food, and an exhibit of award-winning ceramics. It’s today and tomorrow in Cambridge’s Westside Park. Call 608-423-3780, or visit www.potteryfestival.com.
10 SUNDAY The free Aurora Airport Air Expo 2001 (Aurora Municipal Airport, 43W776 U.S. 30 in Illinois). Displays of active and vintage military and commercial aircraft, plus demonstrations and rides. Call 630-466-7000.
Boys and girls will sit on separate sides of a one-room schoolhouse and study like it’s 1889 at today’s Golden Rule Day; they’ll also get to participate in a spelling bee, sign autograph books, play string games and hoops, and make ice cream. The kids will be overseen by a small army of schoolmarms at Blackberry Farm’s Pioneer Village, 100 S. Barnes in Aurora, Illinois (630-892-1550).
12 TUESDAY The 35th annual Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana, is the longest continuously running bluegrass festival in the world. It takes place today through June 17 at Bill Monroe’s Memorial Music Park and Campground (five miles north of Nashville, Indiana) and includes 25 bands, workshops, pickin’, jammin’, and food. Camping and cabin rentals are available. Call 800-414-4677 or visit www.beanblossom.com for more information.
13 WEDNESDAY Most wood-carving events offer classes that cost hundreds of dollars. But the free Wood Carvers Roundup (today through June 17 in Evart, Michigan) is all about carvers getting together and sharing what they know. Informal workshops will cover character carving, chip carving, songbird ornaments, airbrush techniques for duck decoys, sharpening, wood burning, and power- and chain-saw carving. There will also be blanks, knives, books, and food for sale, plus campfires, concerts, and sing-alongs. It’s at the Osceola 4H-FFA fairgrounds. Campsites are available for $10 a night; call 231-734-5125 or see www.woodcarversroundup.com.
15 FRIDAY Festival of Brass Drum Corps Competition in Oswego, Illinois. Free competition featuring the region’s top junior drum and bugle corps. Call 630-554-1010.
Before RCA built a recording studio in Chicago in 1940, the place for blues artists to lay tracks was 45 miles west in the 16th-floor ballroom at Aurora’s Leland Hotel. RCA/Bluebird recording artist Sonny Boy Williamson put down 44 sides there in 1937 and 1938; his labelmates Tampa Red, Big Joe Williams, Speckled Red, Yank Rachell, and Washboard Sam also recorded there. Downtown Aurora’s free Blues on the Fox festival runs today and tomorrow and honors those artists with a lineup that includes Charlie Love & His Silky Smooth Band, the Rockin’ Johnny Burgin Band with Jimmie Burns, Shirley King, Sam Lay, Eddie C. Campbell, Joanna Connor, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Kenny Neal, and Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets with Sam Myers. Call 630-801-6590.
The North Judson Mint Festival in North Judson, Indiana, runs today through June 17, featuring farm tours, farming demonstrations, a cooking-with-mint contest, food, and entertainment. Call 219-896-5059.
The gamut of Asian and Pacific islands cultures will be represented at this weekend’s Asian Moon Festival in Milwaukee. It takes place on the Summerfest grounds (aka Henry Maier Festival Park) and includes music, dance, food, storytelling, and crafts as well as demonstrations of Asian healing and martial arts. It’s today through June 17; call 414-483-8530 or see www.asianmoon.org.
Townspeople in lederhosen, dancing in the streets, polka and traditional Swiss music (including yodeling), a treasure hunt, Swiss food, and four performances of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi–complete with live goats and kittens–make up this year’s edition of the Heidi Festival (today through June 17 in New Glarus, Wisconsin). Call 800-527-6838 or visit www.swisstown.com for more information.
16 SATURDAY Motors from weed eaters, chain saws, and lawn blowers are all fair game as power for one-quarter-scale autos, the 30-pound, remote-control vehicles racing in today’s 1/4 Scale Midwest Nationals at Machesney Park (near Rockford, Illinois). It’s free to watch; call 815-282-1311.
19 TUESDAY Rockford’s annual Juneteenth Celebration marks the 136th anniversary of African-American Emancipation Day, when the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas. It takes place today in Davis Park, 300 S. Wyman in Rockford, and includes food, games, contests, and entertainment. Call 815-633-1548; see www.juneteenth.com for information on other regional Juneteenth celebrations.
20 WEDNESDAY Over 110,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Country USA festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The headliners are Brooks & Dunn; the lineup also includes Sawyer Brown, Neal McCoy, Trace Adkins, Ty Herndon, Yankee Grey, Andy Griggs, Terri Clark, Suzy Bogguss, and Ronnie Milsap. It’s today through June 24 on East Sunnyview just off of Route 45 in Oshkosh, and camping is available. Call 800-326-7469 or visit www.countryusaoshkosh.com.
22 FRIDAY Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering in Tippecanoe Battlefield Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, with traditional music and dance, workshops, crafts, and food. Call 765-742-1419 or see www.dcwi.com/fiddlers.
23 SATURDAY The 16th annual Strawberry Festival (today and tomorrow in Cedarburg, Wisconsin) features strawberries every which way–in pie, slush, popcorn, ice cream, wine, and chocolate. There are also fine-art and crafts fairs, a creek walk, a pet pageant, music, a 5K run-walk, and a strawberry pancake breakfast on Sunday at the historic Cedar Creek Settlement. Call 800-237-2874 or visit www.cedarburgfestivals.org for more.
The Illinois Railway Museum in Union has devoted 15 years to restoring a 1923 Chicago Surface Lines streetcar that ran until 1952, when it was damaged in a collision, taken out of service, gutted, and then used as a storage facility. It was “a derelict hulk” when the IRM got ahold of it, according to museum vice president Barbara Lamphier, and had to be rebuilt from scratch. “They had to bring back the motor for it from Alexandria, Egypt, which is the last place where cars of that type had been exported and were still running,” she says. Visitors will be able to ride it, as well as the last remaining Green Hornet and other streetcars, at the museum’s Chicago Weekend, today through June 25 on Olson Road just outside Union, Illinois. Call 815-923-4391.
27 WEDNESDAY The Topeka Quilt Show and Sale–the largest quilt show and sale in Indiana–opens today in Topeka and runs through June 30, with over 600 exhibits and a merchant mall. Call 219-593-2050 for more.
28 THURSDAY The lineup at Milwaukee’s Summerfest this year includes Joan Osborne, Destiny’s Child, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, the Beach Boys, James Brown, the Jayhawks, Steve Earle, Cubanismo!, Bon Jovi, the Glam Slam tour (Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Enuff Z’Nuff, all on the same July 1 bill), and, inevitably, the Bodeans (who hail from nearby Waukesha). The 13-stage lakefront festival–the largest in the world–opens today and runs through July 8 at Henry Maier Festival Park. Daily general admission to the grounds is $9 at the gate Monday through Thursday, $10 Friday and Saturday, and $8 before June 27. Admission for seniors is $1 at the gate; kids are free Monday through Friday till 6, 50 cents after 6 and on weekends. Marcus Amphitheater concerts require additional ticket purchase; call 800-273-3378 or see www.summerfest.com for complete listings and more information.
30 SATURDAY The Bristol Renaissance Faire kicks off two months of Elizabethan-themed entertainment today with strolling minstrels, games, crafts, a Tudor marketplace, jugglers, storytellers, a kids’ kingdom, and the virgin queen herself. The fair runs every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, through August 26 just west of I-94 on the north side of the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Admission is $16.50 for adults, $15.50 for seniors, $7.50 for kids 5-12, and free for those under 5. Call 847-395-7772 or repair to www.renfair.com for more.
1 SUNDAY The Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby in Bourbonnais–the biggest such derby in the midwest–runs through July 8 at 1270 Larry Powers Road. Prizes include boats, motors, and trailers; call 815-935-7390.
4 WEDNESDAY One among thousands nationwide, the annual Prophetstown Fourth of July Celebration at the state park in Prophetstown, Illinois, includes seaplane rides during the day, basketball games, an Indian village display, food, a beer garden, and fireworks over the Rock River at dusk. Call 815-537-2881.
The Illinois Railway Museum’s Fourth of July Trolley Pageant at 7000 Olson in Union, Illinois (815-923-4391). Features a parade of electric trolleys and other intracity trains, many of which will be available for rides after the parade.
6 FRIDAY Westville Sesquicentennial Celebration, Westville, Indiana. The town’s 150th birthday party includes a greased-pig contest, horseshoe toss, street dancing, antique cars, baseball, and demonstrations of blacksmithing, soap making, broom making, and basket weaving. Call 219-785-2123.
The highlight of the annual Great Circus Parade Festival Week is a wagon train pilgrimage that starts today in Baraboo, Wisconsin (home of the nation’s largest collection of antique circus wagons), and travels to Milwaukee, where the procession of 60 restored wagons and 750 animals, clowns, and marching bands arrives on July 9. In between, it makes daytime stops in Lodi, Madison, Janesville, Whitewater, Horicon, Hartford, and Germantown. Circus performances take place in Milwaukee County’s Veteran’s Park July 10 through 14; the parade winds through downtown on July 15. Admission to the circus grounds is free; tickets to the Royal Hanneford Circus are $7. Call 608-356-8341 or see www.circusparade.com for more.
7 SATURDAY The 75th Annual National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan, features cherry pancakes, pies, cannoli, sausage, pasta, wine, salsa, wraps, and lemonade, not to mention orchard tours, a classic truck and auto show, an air show, a cherry-pie-eating contest, and the world’s longest cherry ice cream sundae. The festival is free, but tickets are required for concerts on the Traverse Bay Casino Resorts Music Stage (everyone from Vince Neil to Toots and the Maytals), and admission to the Taste of Cherries food festival is $1 to $4. The fest starts today and runs through July 14 at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds in Traverse City. Call 734-668-7112 for information, 231-947-4230 for concert tickets, or visit www.cherryfestival.org. 9 Cooking With Herbs and Flowers at Klein Creek Farm in Winfield, Illinois. Victorian-style-cooking demonstrations. Call 630-876-5900.
The featured vehicles at this year’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen All-British Car Show are Land Rovers and Rovers. There will also be MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, Austins, Mini Coopers, and “anything British.” There are also car games, a swap meet, tea, and fish-and-chips at this Hickory Corners, Michigan, event. Call 616-671-5089.
12 THURSDAY Milwaukee’s Bastille Days celebration takes place on land once owned by the city’s first mayor, French fur trader Solomon Juneau. The four-day event includes folk and street performers, a 5K run and a 2K walk, and sidewalk cafes featuring French, Canadian, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. Call 800-554-1448 or visit www.easttown.com for more info.
13 FRIDAY The free, 200-vehicle Ann Arbor Rolling Sculpture Car Show includes a 1915 Overland roadster, two air-cooled Franklins from the 1920s, a three-wheeled Davis, a couple of Hudson Hornets, multiple Thunderbirds, and cars done up to resemble a lizard, a boat, and a shark. It’s on Main between Huron and William. Call 734-668-7112 or visit www.annarbor.org.
Drum Corps Midwest Championships, De Kalb, Illinois (through July 15). “Best in the Midwest” contest at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium includes drum and bugle corps in multiple classes; finals take place on Sunday. 9 The Festival of the Giants Remote Control Airplane Show (Campton Hills and Peck in Saint Charles, Illinois) features many types of radio-controlled aircraft, with demonstrations at noon each day. Call 630-357-7350.
The annual Salmon-a-Rama, headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin, bills itself as “the world’s largest and longest freshwater fishing event” and takes place along Lake Michigan from Gary, Indiana, to Mackinaw City, Michigan, today through July 22. Participants compete for the grand prize of a $25,000 savings bond; the weigh-in station is in Racine’s Festival Park. Call 262-634-1931 or visit www.salmonarama.com for more.
14 SATURDAY Madison’s Art Fair on the Square includes 500 artists from the U.S.; work on display covers eight blocks around the Wisconsin capitol building and includes sculpture, painting, and photos. There’s also live entertainment and food. Call 608-257-0158.
20 FRIDAY Most Wisconsin Cheese League NFL training camp practice games are free and open to the public, and are a good way to see the teams close-up. The Bears practice at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the Kansas City Chiefs are at UW-River Falls, and the Green Bay Packers scrimmage at home. The three teams often go head-to-head against each other as well as the Minnesota Vikings, whose summer camp is just over the border in Mankato. Practice runs through mid-August. Call 414-270-6200 or visit www.sportsinwisconsin.com/cheeseleague for more.
21 SATURDAY The first four winners of the annual Croquet Tournament in Lanark, Illinois–which takes place on grass turf–were amateurs who’d never played before. They learned how to tell a wicket from a center stake at an informal clinic, which will be held this year on Friday night (the 20th). White clothes are recommended, mallets and balls are provided. The free tournament takes place at 540 W. Carroll; call 800-468-2307.
24 TUESDAY Annual EAA AirVenture. Over 15,000 planes–from military to homebuilt–will make their way to 3000 Poberezny Road just outside of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, today through July 30 for “the world’s largest and most significant annual aviation event,” which includes flying exhibitions, displays, and over 500 forums, workshops, and seminars. Daily general admission is $29 for adults, $16 for students aged 14 to 18, $11 for children 8 to 13, and free for kids 7 and under. Discounts are available for weekly passes and for EAA members. Call 920-426-4800 or see www.airventure.org.
27 FRIDAY Freeport, Illinois, hosts the 32nd annual Steam Threshing & Antique Show today and tomorrow. The extravaganza includes steam engines, horse-powered equipment, antique tractors and gas engines, a petting zoo, a blacksmith shop, a parade, a farmers’ horse pull, the Midwest Championship Antique Tractor Pull, and a flea market with over 140 vendors. It’s all at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut; call 800-369-2955.
Since the 1970s tiny Elmwood, Wisconsin, has had more than its fair share of UFO sightings. Its annual UFO Days festival (today through July 29) includes entertainment, food, and athletic events, plus alien memorabilia and a parade “with extraterrestrial guests.” Call 800-474-3723.
Over 150 world-ranked professional tennis players from 20 countries will compete for prize money and world-ranking points at the USTA/Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Classic in Decatur, Illinois (today through August 5). Call 217-423-7020.
Three Chicago-area suburban campuses–Chicago Christian High School, Moraine Valley Community College, and Trinity Christian College–host soccer tournaments this week: the U.S. Soccer Festival, the Midwest Region Tournament of State Champions, and the local qualifier for the Tournament of the Mexican-American Communities of the U.S.A. All three events fall under the umbrella of 2001: A Soccer Odyssey, which takes place today through August 4. Call 773-283-2800 or visit www.gofest01.com.
28 SATURDAY The two-day Illinois Storytelling Festival on Main Street in Spring Grove features over 40 storytellers as well as musicians and sign language interpreters. Tonight from 9 to midnight they’ll tell ghost stories. Call 815-344-0181.
29 SUNDAY The free Sugar Grove Corn Boil in Sugar Grove, Illinois, features homegrown sweet corn cooked by an antique steam engine; there’s also a tractor and craft show, a firefighter water fight, games, and live entertainment. Call 630-466-5166.
2 THURSDAY One of the first Pennsylvania Germans to settle in Freeport, Illinois, was William “Tutty” Baker, who built a trading post on the Pecatonica and operated a free ferry service across the river. The town was originally called Winneshiek, for the Winnebago chief who gave Baker his nickname (it refers to his stutter). But when the town incorporated, Freeport–in honor of Tutty’s free ferry–was the name that stuck. The Tutty Baker Days Festival (today through August 4) includes historical tours, food, a beer garden, athletic events, a cruise night, arts and crafts, entertainment, and more. Call 800-369-2955.
The 150-year-old Wisconsin State Fair and its 350,000 cream puffs, 12,000 animals, 20,000 award ribbons, 500 commercial exhibits, 200 food concessions, 95 vendors, and 150 games and rides attract nearly one million visitors. It starts today and runs through August 12 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park, 8100 W. Greenfield in West Allis. Tickets at the gate are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for kids ages 7 to 11, and free for those under 7. And hey, Milwaukee is a heck of a lot closer than Springfield. Call 800-844-3247 or see www.wistatefair.com for complete schedule.
3 FRIDAY Milwaukee’s African World Festival features artisans, griots, stilt walkers, and vendors. Music ranges from gospel and R & B to rap and reggae; the cuisine includes sweet potato pie, greens, cornbread, and fried chicken. It’s today through August 5; call 414-372-4567.
The biannual Two Cylinder Days (today through August 5) at the John Deere Historic Society in Grand Detour, Illinois, features over 100 restored John Deere tractors made between 1918 and 1959 and an auction on Saturday. Call 815-652-4551.
4 SATURDAY “Mustard is not good to archive. It’s good to eat,” says Barry Levenson, curator and founder of the Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, Mustard Museum. “It doesn’t go bad, but it loses its zip.” Nonetheless, his museum boasts over 3,600 specimens, some of which are decades old. It’s also home to National Mustard Day, where the curious can try their luck at a mustard ring toss (ring the jar and win) and sample mustards flavored with chocolate fudge, sesame, peanuts, espresso, ginger, and scallion. The hot dogs are free. It’s at 100 W. Main in Mount Horeb. Call 800-438-6878 or visit www.mustardmuseum.com for more.
According to local lore, Charles Nagren of Seymour, Wisconsin, served the first hamburger ever at the Seymour County Fair in 1885. The story stuck; the town is home to the Hamburger Hall of Fame, which is behind Seymour’s daylong Burger Fest. It features a ketchup slide, a bun-stacking contest, and “the world’s largest hamburger parade.” Call 920-833-9522.
5 SUNDAY 11th annual Vintage Transport Extra-vaganza, Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. The state’s largest display of antique vehicles includes motorcycles, trucks, fire engines, and automobiles. Call 815-923-3291.
9 THURSDAY The 50-year-old Volunteer Fireman’s Ernie Pyle Festival in Dana, Indiana, is named after the World War II journalist, who was born August 3, 1900, on a local farm. It runs today through August 11 and includes tours of World War II Quonset huts and Pyle’s birthplace, plus a fish fry and flea market. Call 765-665-3213.
10 FRIDAY National Folk Festival in East Lansing, Michigan. The 63rd year of this free festival, which runs today through August 12. Lineup ranges from Appalachian guitarist Doc Watson to the music and dance of the Lamas of the Drepung Loseling Monastery to the Tejano of Los Fantasmas del Valle to the South African mbaqanga of the Mahotella Queens. Call 517-319-6927 or visit www.nff.net for more.
The Illinois State Fair kicks off this weekend with performances by Alabama (tonight), 98 Degrees (tomorrow), and Bob Dylan (Sunday). The fair runs through August 19 at the fairgrounds outside Springfield with livestock and craft shows, tractor pulls, rodeos, rides, sideshows, and more musical acts, including Patti LaBelle, Willie Nelson, and Bobby Vee. General admission each day is $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens, and free for kids 12 and under; parking is $6. Additional ticket purchase is required for most concerts, motor events, and rodeos. For complete schedule and information call 217-782-6661 or see www.state.il.us/fair.
11 SATURDAY Wild West Days, Rockford, Illinois. Gunfights, bank robberies, stagecoach rides, cowboy music, and prospectin’. Today and tomorrow at 6799 Guilford in Rockford. Call 815-397-9112. 9 The Bob-A-Ron Snowmobile Water Lake Run in Three Oaks, Michigan, features drivers wearing wet suits on snowmobiles racing on water. It’s at the Bob-a-Ron campground, 7650 Warren Woods Road. Call 616-469-3894, or visit www.bob-a-ron.com.
16 THURSDAY Milwaukee’s Irish Fest–the world’s largest Irish cultural festival–features music and dance, cultural exhibits, genealogical information, a marketplace, an outdoor mass, and numerous competitions including rugby, hurling, curragh racing, Gaelic football, a Top o’ the Morning run-walk, and a children’s red-hair-and-freckle contest. It takes place today through August 19 on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Admission Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, free for kids 12 and under; admission to Thursday night’s Grand Gathering is $5. Call 414-476-3378 or see www.irishfest.com for more information.
17 FRIDAY The annual Community Potato Fest in Medarville, Indiana, boasts a plethora of spud-themed dishes, plus crafts, a parade, an auto show, tractor pulls, etc. Call 219-843-3371. 9 Elvis Memorial Car Show, today and tomorrow. With an Elvis impersonator, cars from the 50s and 60s, and a model car show. At the Gilmore Car Museum, 6865 Hickory in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Call 616-649-1794 for information.
18 SATURDAY O-Sa-Wan Powwow & Native American Fine Arts Exposition, today and tomorrow at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Belvidere. Dancing, crafts, fine art, midnight auction, free camping. Call 815-436-4950.
23 THURSDAY The Cumberland, Wisconsin, Rutabaga Festival includes a pepper-eating contest, basketball shoot-out, craft show, and live entertainment. The fest runs today through August 26. Call 715-822-3378.
24 FRIDAY This weekend’s Mexican Fiesta at Milwaukee’s Summerfest grounds features mariachi and Tex-Mex bands, low-rider car hopping, a tortilla-making competition, and yelling, dancing, and jalapeno-pepper-eating contests. The fiesta runs today through August 26; call 414-383-7066 for more.
25 SATURDAY The Garfield Farm Museum in Lafox, Illinois, hosts the Heirloom Garden Show, featuring rare flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, tours of 1840s gardens, and Garfield Farm Inn. Call 630-584-8485.
The fourth annual Northern Illinois Horse Fest at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Belvidere runs today and tomorrow. Includes cowboy church service (Sunday at 8), horse show, clinics, pony rides, drill teams, petting zoo, high school rodeo, a display of different breeds, and music. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for kids ages 3 to 12. Call 630-469-4611.
31 FRIDAY Twice a year, John Henry Yoder’s farm in Clare, Michigan, goes from Amish pastoral to American commercial when 500 vendors and even more cars converge on his fields for Yoder’s Amish Quilt, Craft Show, and Flea Market. It’s today and tomorrow at 10688 N. Leaton. There’s a quilt auction on Saturday morning, and Amish food stands sell homemade cheese, noodles, and baked goods all weekend. Call 989-386-2872 for more.
Arthur Cheese Festival, Arthur, Illinois. With a cheese-eating contest, cheese-curling nationals, sidewalk sales, buggy rides, an ice cream social, free crackers, and cheese sliced from a 300-pound wheel. Today and tomorrow; call 800-722-6474.
The records for the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw (today and tomorrow) are 248 feet for men and 151 feet and two inches for women. The annual event in Prairie du Sac draws over 750 competitors and 40,000 spectators, and the press materials suggest that “kids will love chucking a dried cow chip of their own.” Call 608-643-4317.
The squeeze box, or concertina, was popular among both serious and amateur musicians in the 19th and early 20th centuries but fell out of favor from the 20s until the 60s, when folk-music enthusiasts rediscovered it. At the World Concertina Congress Jamboree in Allenton, Wisconsin, folks can perform onstage, dance, or just listen, as well as buy, sell, and trade the now-rare instruments. It’s today through September 2, with a fish fry today; call 262-629-5232.
The Marshall County Blueberry Festival in Plymouth, Indiana, has the distinction of being chosen as one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association. The free four-day festival (today through September 3) features crafts, fireworks, a parade, a 15K run, and “blueberries in a variety of ways!” It takes place in Plymouth’s Centennial Park. Call 888-935-5020 or see www.blueberryfestival.org for more.
1 SATURDAY 2001 World Championship Off-Road Race in Crandon, Wisconsin. The largest off-road circuit in the country boasts 15 classes of dune buggies and trucks competing for the midwest’s largest purse–$30,000, or $35,000 if driving a Chevy. The event (today and tomorrow) usually draws 45,000 spectators to the raceway on U.S. 8, west of Crandon. Call 888-611-6092 or visit www.crandonoffroad.com if you’d like to be one of them.
Hughston Cow Camp Rodeo, today and tomorrow in McBain, Michigan. One of the last International Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned events in the season, which attracts cowboys from around the U.S. who are chasing points for the championship. Rodeos each night and team ropin’ and other events during the day bring out some 5,000 spectators; camping is available on the 440-acre family-owned grounds. Call 800-369-3836.
Not named for the quality of the work but for the promoters, the Poor Man’s Craft Show in Caseville, Michigan, offers woodworking, jewelry, ceramics, T-shirts–“everything that’s out there”–for sale at the Greenview Hatchery today and tomorrow. Call 800-358-4862.
7 FRIDAY Dan Patch was not a man but a standardbred horse born with legs so crooked that he wore custom-made shoes to even out his stride. That didn’t stop the horse–born in Oxford, Indiana–from setting several world records for pacers during the first decade of the 20th century and becoming an equine celebrity whose personal appearances brought people out in droves. Oxford’s Dan Patch Days (today through September 9) honor the venerable steed’s memory and include a rodeo, bingo, flea market, car show, parade, and a display of Dan Patch memorabilia. Call 765-385-2251.
Billed as America’s largest American Indian cultural showcase, Wisconsin’s Indian Summer festival includes dancing, music, fireworks, traditional foods, fine art and crafts, lacrosse matches, and authentic tribal villages. There are also fireworks, a laser light show, and a competition powwow with prizes totaling $35,000. It’s today through September 9 in Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park. Tickets are $9 at the gate for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 6 to 12; kids under 6 get in free. Call 414-774-7119 or see www.indiansummer.org for more.
14 FRIDAY The 20th annual Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton, Indiana, features appearances by some of the original Munchkins (with autograph sessions), plus an Oz fantasy parade, Oz character look-alike contests, a town crier competition, and an Oz memorabilia auction and swap meet. There will be book signings with John Fricke (author of 100 Years of Oz), Jay Scarfone and William Stillman (authors of The Wizardry of Oz), and L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson Roger Baum, who’ll sign his forebear’s books as well as his own. It’s today through September 16 in and around the Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy Museum, 109 E. Yellow Brick Road, two miles south of Chesterton on Route 49. Call 219-926-5513 or go to wpl.lib.in.us/chamber/oz/oz.htm for more.
15 SATURDAY Illinois Archaeology Day, Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton, South Holland, Illinois. Storytelling, guided walks, pottery making, and archaeological displays focusing on Native American artifacts. For more information call 708-868-0606.
Started in the 1890s as a way to bring farmers together, today’s Big Rock Plowing Match in Kane County includes a pedal tractor pull and plowing competition with tractors, horses, and mules; there’s also a fair, arts and crafts booths, miniature-train rides, a king and queen contest, and food. It’s on Hinkley Road south of Route 30 in Big Rock, Illinois. Call 630-556-3310.
The 11th annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Festival in Pepin, Wisconsin, includes a parade, performances of stories and songs cited in the “Little House” books, a Laura Ingalls Wilder look-alike contest, mid-19th-century games, and demonstrations of blacksmithing, weaving, quilting, spinning, woodworking, and ironworking by people in period costumes. It’s today and tomorrow in Pepin’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Park; call 715-442-3011 for more.
20 THURSDAY Hoosier Storytelling Festival in Indianapolis features national and regional storytellers performing outdoors for school-age children; there’s also an adult stage and activities tent. Call 317-255-7628.
21 FRIDAY Motorcycle Rally, today through September 23 at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, 970 Green Wing Road in Amboy, Illinois. Dancing, dealer exhibits, paddleboats, hay rides, bingo, and poker. Special rates for riders. Call 815-857-3860.
Indiana’s Land of Lakes Gathering of the People, a traditional Native American powwow with dancing, crafts, and music, runs today through September 23 in Warsaw; call 219-269-2977 for more.
22 SATURDAY Over 200 costumed enthusiasts are expected to participate in Midway Village’s annual World War II Reenactment, which features period uniforms, machine guns, tanks, jeeps, and artillery. It’s today and tomorrow at 6799 Guilford in Rockford, Illinois. Call 815-397-9112.
28 FRIDAY Oktoberfest began in Germany nearly 100 years ago as a way to give thanks for past crops and celebrate a wedding ceremony. La Crosse’s 41st annual Oktoberfest is a fall harvest celebration that includes music, entertainment, food, arts and crafts, athletic events, a pageant, a Festmaster Ball, and a Lederhosen Luncheon. It runs today through October 6 along the Mississippi in La Crosse, Wisconsin; call 660-784-3378, or visit www.oktoberfestusa. com for complete schedule.