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Windy City Ribfest

Chicago, Ill.

Fest features live music, lots of ribs, arts & crafts and kids' area (on Saturday and Sunday afternoons).

When: 5-10 p.m. July 3, Noon-10 p.m. July 4, noon-9 p.m. July 5
Cost: $5

Oak Fest

Oak Forest, Ill.


Enjoy live music, food vendors, a carnival, bingo, Fourth of July fireworks and a car show at Oak Fest.

When: For more information visit event website.
Cost: Free

Frontier Days

Arlington Heights, Ill.


Frontier Days features family friendly activities, live music, a carnival, a Fourth of July parade and a craft market.

When: For more information visit event website.
Cost: Free; carnival tickets and other activities cost extra; free shuttle service

Family Twilight Adventure

The Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

Hike, do activities and roast marshmallows before going on a silent tram ride through the woods after dark.

When: 7-9 p.m. June 19, July 3, Aug. 21; 6-8 p.m. June 6, July 18 and Aug. 1
Cost: $19, $16 members

Light Up the Sky

Chicago Children's Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Add bursts of color to a communal fireworks mural.

When: 2:15 p.m. July 1, 3, 6-9
Cost: Free with museum admission


Discovery Center Museum | Rockford, Ill.

Discover the secret ingredients that put the oohs and ahhs in fireworks, test your rocket design and send a mini-missile soaring, create patriotic art, and more. Plus, invent a light-up hat and noise maker. On Saturday evening, leave the car parked here and take the short stroll downtown for festivities and fireworks.

When: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 3; 1-5 p.m. July 4
Cost: Free with museum admission

Hesston Steam Museum

Hesston Steam Museum | Hesston, Ind.

Volunteers fire real steam locomotives on three different railroads to power passenger trains you can ride. There are many other displays, such as a 106-year-old steam powered electric generator, a working saw mill and all kinds of big machines. The turn-of-the-century sawmill will run throughout the celebration. The Museum's gift shop will be open and visitors can now purchase cool sodas and ice cream treats or lunch at the newly-restored vintage soda fountain and restaurant.

Cost: Check website

The Music Man

Glenview Theater Guild | Glenview, Ill.

This Broadway hit is the story of a con man who sets out to take advantage of the residents of a small, turn-of-the-century Iowa town ... until he falls in love.

When: Check website for schedule
Cost: $22, $20 in advance

Northwest Fourth Fest

Sears Centre Arena | Hoffman Estates, Ill.


Hoffman Estates, Hanover Township and the Park District of Hoffman Estates host a celebration that features the region's largest fireworks show, carnival rides for the whole family, food and drink offerings, live nightly music and free parking. Sunday is Family Day, with animals, balloons, pony rides, touch-a-truck and a Ralph's World performance.

When: July 1-5. Check website for schedule.
Cost: Free; carnival rides cost extra

Butterflies & Blooms

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, Ill.

Outdoor butterfly garden where visitors can immerse themselves with hundreds of live tropical butterfly species from around the world. A field guide is available to help visitors identify dozens of species in the exhibition. Visitors can also observe butterflies hatching through a window into the pupa emergence room.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting.
Cost: $6, $5 seniors, $4 kids 3-12. Discounts for members and combination tickets available.

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