RampFest, The Land Connection‘s annual spring fund-raiser, celebrates the first edible greens (ramps, or wild leeks) to appear in the area each year, Friday from 7 to 9:30 PM at Prairie Production. Chefs from restaurants including Blackbird, Vie, and Lula will work them into dishes like beet-cured sturgeon with ramp kimchi; couscous with sauteed ramps, red peppers, carrots, and shrimp; and ramp-infused crepes with roasted red pepper cream cheese. Beer, wine, and cheese will also be served. $90.
House Red in Forest Park has an OysterFest on Friday from 6 to 9 PM that boasts fresh Malpeque oysters paired with a variety of organic, biodynamic wines ranging from muscadet to sauvignon blanc. $10.
For Smelt Fest on Saturday, Shaw’s Crab House shuttles participants up to Port Washington, Wisconsin, for the 58th annual all-you-can-eat smelt fry at American Legion Post 82; the bus stops along the way in Cedarburg, whose 19th-century stone buildings got its downtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The package deal includes transportation; Bloody Marys, mimosas, juice, and bread for the trip out; lunch; and admission to the smelt fry. Buses leave at 10 AM from both locations (downtown and Schaumburg) and return at 9 PM. Reservations required, $75.
At the North Park Village Nature Center‘s two-day Maple Syrup Festival, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM, you can learn how to tap a tree, watch sap boil, and taste the finished fresh syrup. Plus there’ll be music, campfires, storytelling, and a farmers’ market. Free.
Several local restaurants–including Cyrano’s Bistrot, Kiki’s Bistro, and the Weather Mark Tavern–are participating in Earth Hour, a call to turn out the lights Saturday from 8 to 9 PM. Weather Mark offers a fixed-price meal for $60 (everyone must be seated by 7 PM) and a $15 open bar from 8 to 9. Kiki’s will serve its regular dinner menu by candlelight from Thursday to Saturday, and Cyrano’s is offering a variety of special a la carte dishes, also from Thursday to Saturday.
Coprodeli, an organization to support Peru’s poor, has a fund-raiser Sunday from 1 to 3:30 PM at Kendall College. In addition to Latin fusion cuisine, there’ll be Peruvian cocktails, wine and beer, music, and a silent auction. $75.