Summer time is reserved for relaxing and having fun. And Central Illinois gives families plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Below is a list of activities right outside your back door or just a short distance away.


1: Volksfest; classic car and cycle cruise-in, craft vendors, German food and beverages; Hickory Grove Park, near Peoria.

3-4: Celebrate America; Holiday Spectacular-produced patriotic musical variety show; 6 p.m., Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.

3-4: Chenoa July 4th Celebration; street dance, July 4 parade, activities, fireworks at dusk; downtown Chenoa, City Park and Chenoa Football Field.

3-4: Hopedale Fourth of July Celebration; car show, flea market, carnival, live music, fireworks at dusk (July 4); downtown Hopedale and Hopedale Park.

3-4: Minonk Fourth of July Celebration; games, contests, chicken dinner, entertainment, fireworks; West Side Park, Minonk.

4: Champaign County Freedom Celebration; parade, evening entertainment and fireworks; Kirby Avenue, Champaign.

4: Clinton Fourth of July Celebration; entertainment, fireworks; downtown square in Clinton and near Clinton High School/Junior High School.

4: Decatur Fourth of July Celebration; day-long activities, concert, fireworks at dusk over Lake Decatur; Nelson Park, Decatur

4: Downs Independence Day Celebration; parade, fireworks and activities; Dooley Park, Downs.

4: Dwight July 4th Celebration; 6:30-10:30 p.m., Dwight Grade School grounds, Dwight.

4: Fairview Park Fourth of July Celebration; Family Aquatic Center activities/contests, live band and Sky Concert fireworks; Fairview Park, Normal.

4: Freedom Fest 2014; games and entertainment, fireworks at dusk; Lake of the Woods, Mahomet.

4: Heyworth Fourth of July Celebration; fishing derby, food vendors, live entertainment, fireworks at dusk; Centennial Park, Heyworth.

4: Lake Bloomington Fireworks; dusk; Lake Bloomington, northeast of Hudson.

4: Lincoln Fourth of July Celebration; kids' walking parade, water balloon fight, DJ, fireworks; Lincoln Park District.

4: Miller Park Fourth of July Celebration; fireworks Sky Concert; Miller Park, Bloomington.

Getaway Guide 2018 - Lake Shelbyville 04/26/18 (7)

A view of Lake Shelbyville from the Visitor's Center is enhanced by this deck area.

4: Pontiac Fireworks; Pontiac Elks Lodge grounds.

4: Red, White and Boom!; riverfront Fourth of July festivities and fireworks; 5-10 p.m. downtown riverfront, Peoria.

4: Towanda Fourth of July Celebration; flea market, games, parade, fireworks; downtown Towanda and other locations.

6, 13, 20, 27: Pontiac Municipal Band Summer Concerts; outdoor pops concerts; 7 p.m. Fri., Humiston Riverside Park, Pontiac.

6-9: DeWitt County 4-H Fair; fairgrounds in Clinton.

7: Comlara Park Ice Cream Social; ice cream and entertainment; noon-4 p.m., Comlara Park, near Hudson.

7: Morton Downtown Super Cruise; more than 300 vehicles, food, street vendors, more; 5-10 p.m., downtown Morton.

7: PlutoFest: ALES Homebrew Club beer tasting event, with entertainment and activities; 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Streator City Park, Streator.

8: Mahomet Auto Fest; juried auto fest, car cruise, more; downtown Mahomet.

8-14: Moultrie-Douglas County Fair; Jurgens Park, Arthur.

8-28: Illinois Chamber Music Festival; faculty and student concerts; various times, IWU Westbrook Auditorium, Bloomington.

10: Tuesday Music Under the Stars: Heartland Jazz Orchestra; big band; 7 p.m., Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.

10-14: Fisher Community Fair; Fisher fairgrounds.

11-15: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Vermillion Players production of musical; 7:30 p.m., Chautauqua Park Pavilion, Pontiac.

11-15: LaSalle County 4-H Show & Junior Fair; LaSalle County Fairgrounds, Ottawa.

11-15: Marshall-Putnam County Fair; County fairgrounds, Henry.

12, 19 and 26 : Franklin Park Concerts and Ice Cream Socials; ice cream socials at 6 p.m., free Community Concert Band concerts at 7 p.m.; Franklin Park, Bloomington.

12-15: Mike Dobbins Memorial New Plays From the Heartland; three new winning one-act plays; Heartland Theatre Company, Normal.

13-14: Amaranth Apple Festival; apple-based foods from 25 Springfield restaurants, live music with headliner Matthew Sweet, activities; Old State Capitol plaza, downtown Springfield.

13-15 and 18-22: Legally Blonde; musical comedy; 8:30 p.m., Muni Opera, Springfield.

14: Bloomington Criterium; bike racing event and related activities; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., downtown Bloomington.

14: Champaign StreetFest; live bands, food, drinks, more; 7 p.m.-midnight, Walnut and University streets, Champaign.

14: Twin City Cruisers: Red Night; car show, 5-8:30 p.m., Towanda Plaza Shopping Center parking lot, Bloomington.

14-15: Sugar Creek Arts Festival; juried art fair, entertainment stage, food, kids' art activities; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., uptown Normal.

15: Mackinaw Valley Vineyard Art and Wine Festival; local and regional artists displaying/selling work, live music, wine tastings; noon-6 p.m., Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

17: Tuesday Music Under the Stars: Turas; traditional Irish group; 7 p.m., Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.

17-21: Farmer City/DeWitt County Fair; DeWitt County Fairgrounds, Farmer City.

17-21: Heart of Illinois Fair; nightly concerts, carnival midway, activities; Exposition Gardens, Peoria.

17-21: Matton Bagelfest; Carnival, parade, kids’ events, parade, live entertainment and anything related to bagels; Peterson Park, Mattoon.

17-21: Tazewell County Fair; Mineral Springs Park, Pekin.

18-21: Livingston County 4-H Fair; Livingston County Fairgrounds, Pontiac.

18-23: Iroquois County Fair; Iroquois County Fairgrounds, Crescent City.

19-22 and 26-29: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; High School Summer Theatre production of musical; 7:30 p.m., Connie Link Amphitheatre, Normal.

20-22: Lincoln's Festival on Route 66: Trails, Rails & Roads; Civil War reenactors, walking tours, crafts, children's activities; downtown Bloomington, David Davis Mansion, Franklin Park, IWU quad, Burr House and McLean County Museum of History.

20-21: Lincoln's Festival on Route 66 Concerts; outdoor concerts with headliners The Neverly Brothers (Fri.) and Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies (Sat.); 6-10 p.m.; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts lawn.

20-21: Central Illinois BBQ Throwdown; BBQ cooking contests, live music, crafters, kids' activities; Riverfront Festival Park, downtown Peoria.

20-28: Champaign County Fair; Champaign County Fairgrounds, Urbana.

20-22: Stanford Good Ole Days; arts and crafts, food, fireworks; downtown Stanford.

21: History of Bicycles Show; old and new bicycle displays, ice cream social, live music; David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, Bloomington.

21: Jus’ Kids Expo; Exhibits, activities, demonstrations, education, exploring, entertainment; Decatur Civic Center.

21: Open Cockpit Day; tours of open cockpits of various aircraft; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Prairie Aviation Museum, Bloomington.

21: Writers on the River; more than 90 romance authors, books sales, signings, more; 1-4 p.m., Par-A-Dice Casino Hotel, Peoria.

21: Inside Out Arts Fair; art displays and demonstrations, artisan demonstrations, live music; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sugar Grove Nature Center, Funks Grove.

21: Medici Craft Beer & Jazz Street Fair; beer tastings and live bands; 4-10 p.m., in front of Medici in Normal, 120 North St.


Agriculture Director Raymond Poe, left, State Fair manager Kevin Gordon and Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Claudia VanOpdorp inspect the 2017 Butter Cow during its unveiling in the Dairy Building at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesday in Springfield. Sarah and Andy Pratt of West Des Moines, Iowa, are the artists. The Jersey cow and her calf required 800 pounds of butter and took 90 hours to complete.

21: Take a Kid Fishing Derby; Evergreen Lake at Comlara Park, Hudson.

21: Zookeeper Olympics; zookeeper-themed contests and competition; noon-3 p.m.; Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington.

22: Sunday Afternoon Lawn Concert; local performers; noon-2 p.m.; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts lawn.

22: Bishop Hill Antique Car Show; antiques and classics; 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Bishop Hill State Historic Site.

23-28: Fulton County Fair; Fulton County Fairgrounds, Lewistown.

26-29: Oliver!; Miller Park Summer Theatre/BCPA production of musical; Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.

27-28: Downhome Music, Beer and Art Festival; bands, food vendors, 100 craft beers, kids' area, more; Seventh and Washington streets, downtown Springfield.

27-28: Effingham Jam; BBQ competition for amateurs and pros with family activities and live music; downtown Effingham.

27-28: Findlay Walleye Festival; family activities, live music, parade. downtown Findlay.

27-29: Great Balloon Race; 30 hot air balloons in various events; Lake Storey Park, Galesburg.

27-28: Pekin Main Street Super Cruise; 800 cars/trucks, live bands, food, drink; downtown Pekin.

28: Cultural Festival; cultural/ethnic food, entertainment, art, dance, more; ISU Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom, Normal.

28: Pontiac Party in the Park; Mighty Vermillion Duck Race and cardboat boat races on Vermilion River, entertainment, food, kids' games; Humiston-Riverside Park and Play Park, Pontiac.

28: Streator Ag Day; day-long agricultural celebration with flea and farmers markets, tractor show, live music, food, kids' activities, blacksmith showcase; Streator City Park.

29: Pioneer Days; demonstrations of mid-19th-century pioneer life, children's games, more; 1-4 p.m., W.H. Sommer Park, Peoria.

29-Aug. 5: Logan County Fair; Logan County Fairgrounds, Lincoln.

31: Tuesday Music Under the Stars: Biscuits-n-Gravy Band; '70s-'80s band; 7 p.m., Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.


1-5: McLean County Fair; Interstate Center grounds, Bloomington.

2-5: Decatur Celebration; street fair with eight entertainment stages, name acts, food, arts, carnival; downtown Decatur.

2-5: The Secret Garden; Prairie Fire Theatre production of musical; IWU Westbrook Auditorium, Bloomington.

3: Steam Threshing event; Threshing Machine demos with other activities; Illinois Amish Heritage Center, Arthur.

3-5 and 8-12: Annie; musical comedy; 8 p.m.; Muni Opera, Springfield.

3-4: Powerlight Abe Lincoln Car Show Spectacular and Super Cruise; downtown cruise, drive-in theater movie night, car show, hot air balloons, activities; Knight's Action Park, Springfield.

4: Antique Auto Exhibit; antique vehicle display; David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, Bloomington.

4: Sugar Grove Nature Center Exploration Day; guided hikes, crafts, animal feedings, more; 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sugar Grove Nature Center, Funks Grove.

4: Twin City Cruisers: White & Silver Night; 5-8:30 p.m., Towanda Plaza Shopping Center parking lot, Bloomington.

7: Jonny Lang; blues singer-guitarist; 7:30 p.m.; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

7: Lantern Parade and National Night Out; Picnic, Scovill Petting Zoo, games, inflatables and lantern parade around the park; Hess Park, Decatur

Two fests take Route

VooDoo Larry is bringing his VooDoo Sahara, billed as "the most popular new custom in the country right now," to the RockNRods on Route 66 festival, returning this weekend after an eight-summer hiatus to B-N, this time in and outside Bloomington's Chateau Hotel & Conference Center.

8: Tuesday Music Under the Stars: Brass Band of Central Illinois; traditional brass band; 7 p.m., Miller Park Bandstand, Bloomington.

8: Taste of Peoria; food from around 50 Peoria restaurants, live entertainment; 4-11 p.m., Riverfront Festival Park, downtown Peoria riverfront.

8-11: Cullom Celebration and Cullom Junior Fair; annual homecoming celebration and junior fair; downtown Cullom.

9-11: Fall Festival in Blue Mound; carnival, food, activities, parade; Blue Mound Park.

9-12: Shrek the Musical; Vermillion Players musical; 7:30 p.m., Chautauqua Park Pavilion, Pontiac.

9-19: Illinois State Fair; Illinois Fairgrounds, Springfield.

10: Irish Fest; Irish music festival featuring The Shanties and Tannahill Weavers; Allerton Park, Monticello.

10-12: River City Soul Fest; African-American heritage food and entertainment; Riverfront Festival Park, Peoria.

11: Champaign-Urbana Days; food, entertainment, kids' activities, sports tournaments, drive-in movie; 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Douglass Park, Champaign.

11: Hummingbird Festival; banding of birds, information, kids' activities, more; 9 a.m.-1 p.m., W.H. Sommer Park, Peoria.

11: Miller Park Zoo Ice Cream Social; noon-3 p.m., Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington.

11-12: Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts; arts and crafts fair, other related activities around village; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Colony Park, Bishop Hill State Historic Site.

11-12: Grand National TT Weekend; motorcycle races, swap meet, parade, concerts, activities; downtown Peoria and Peoria Motorcycle Club at Bartonville.

12: Italian-American Summer Festa; Italian heritage festival, with music, food, games, dance; noon-7 p.m., Hickory Grove Park, near Peoria.

15-19: Fairbury Fair; Fairbury fairgrounds.

16-18: Windsor Harvest Picnic; food, 5K, entertainment, auction, family activities; 1100 Ohio St., Windsor.

17-18: Bruegala; live bands and annual B-N Jaycees beer festival; 6-11 p.m., The Corn Crib, Normal.

17-19: Danvers Days; carnival, live music, vendors market; Danvers Village Park.

17-19: Galesburg Heritage Days; pre-1840s rendezvous and Civil War reenactment; Lake Storey Park, Galesburg.

17-19: Mansfield Homecoming; parade, carnival, entertainment, activities; downtown Mansfield.

17-18: Taste of Champaign-Urbana; food fair, entertainment and juried art show; West Side Park, Champaign.

18: Downtown Pontiac Cruise Night; classic and antique car cruise-in, activities; 5-8 p.m., downtown Pontiac square.

18: Hummingbird Festival; banding, presentations and demonstrations by Sangamon River Audubon Society; 8 a.m.-noon, New Salem State Historic Site, Petersburg.

18: Open Cockpit Day; tours of open cockpits of various aircraft; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Prairie Aviation Museum, Bloomington.

18-19: Apple Dumpling Festival; vendors include food, crafts and activities; Main Street, Atwood.

18-19: Washington Fine Arts Festival; juried outdoor art fair, entertainment, food, activities; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Washington Park.

21-25: LeRoy Fall Festival; live music, carnival, ice cream social, games, kids' activities; downtown LeRoy.

24-26: Cowden Pioneer Day; inflatables, food, parade, activities, water park; Cowden Park.

24-26: Erin Feis; Irish heritage festival with food, music, art; Riverfront Festival Park, Peoria.

24-25: Mahomet Music Festival; carnival, music (Mark Chesnutt, Rodney Atkins, more), food, more; downtown Mahomet.

24-25: Urbana Sweetcorn Festival; fresh-cooked corn, entertainment; downtown Urbana.

24-9/3: DuQuoin State Fair; nightly grandstand shows, activities, food, games; DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin.

Bagelfest 07/22/17 (9)

Five-year-old Bailey Dyer of Tuscola holds her umbrella while looking for candy during the Bagelfest Parade in Mattoon on Saturday.

25: Bishop Hill Chautauqua; re-enactors playing historic figures, stories; 1-4 p.m., Bishop Hill State Historic Site Village Park.

25: Homer Soda Festival; Soda tasting, live music, food, carnival; downtown Homer.

25-26: Gems of the Prairie Quilt Show; more than 400 quilts and 20 vendors; Peoria Civic Center, Peoria.

25-26: Sweet Corn Blues Festival; fresh-cooked sweet corn and entertainment; 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., uptown Normal.

26: Pioneer Days; demonstrations of mid-19th-century pioneer life, children's games; 1-4 p.m., W.H. Sommer Park, near Peoria.

26: Shady Car Show; antique cars, trucks and cycles; 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Lincoln Memorial Park, Lincoln.

28-30: Farm Progress Show; farming-related exhibits, demonstrations, food; Progress City USA, Decatur.

31-9/1: Peoria Blues & Heritage Festival; multi-stage blues and roots music fest with headliners; downtown Peoria riverfront.

30-9/3: Threshermen's Reunion; agricultural/harvest fest, with demonstrations, entertainment, food, parade; Threshermen's Park, near Pontiac.


1: Hummingbird Festival & Pollination Celebration; hummingbird banding, beehive tours, guided hikes; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sugar Grove Nature Center, Funks Grove.

1: Roamer Cruise Night & Car Show; 1917 Roamers display, food, music, activities; Miralla Park and downtown Streator.

1-3: Annual Amish Country Cheese Festival; food, crafts, parade and free cheese; downtown Arthur.

1-3: Delavan Fall Festival; parade, carnival, entertainment, activities; downtown Delavan.

2: Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival; “Lucy”-style grape stomp, wine tasting live music, food; noon-6 p.m., Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

2: Streator Labor Day Parade; bands, floats; noon, downtown Streator.

3: Bloomington Labor Day Parade; bands, floats; 10 a.m., Front and Center streets to Miller Park.

3: Peoria Labor Day Parade; bands, floats; 10 a.m., downtown Peoria.

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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