Summer brings with it all the best foods, from sweet corn and juicy peaches to roasted hot dogs and ooey-gooey s’mores. So there’s no better time than July, the heart of summer, to treat your taste buds–and no better place than Chicagoland. Here are five foodie fests that already have our mouths watering.
Meat-eaters are welcome at Naperville Ribfest. The fave fest serves up racks of family fun with a carnival, petting zoo and Fourth of July fireworks, in addition to 12 rib vendors and performances from Sister Hazel and Sheryl Crow. Be sure to vote for Best Ribs, Best Sauce and Kid’s Choice, the big honors of the fest.
More info: Admission varies by day; visit website for information. Noon-10 p.m. July 1-4. Knoch Park, 700 S. West St., Naperville.
Grilling season is upon us, and you know what that means: sizzling burgers for everyone. Roscoe Village Burger Fest puts your fast-food standby to shame. The fest includes specialty burgers from a dozen of the city’s best vendors, rockin’ music and a kids’ zone with inflatables, arts and crafts and more.
More info: $10. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. July 9-10. Clybourn Avenue, Diversey to Leavitt, Chicago. (773) 868-3010.
Whether you like souvlaki, moussaka or spanakopita (or are just in it for the baklava and ouzo–guilty as charged), The Big Greek Food Fest of Niles has you covered. The focus is on food, both to eat and to make, but there’s also authentic Greek music and folk dancing throughout the weekend. Kids will enjoy face painting, sand candy and entertainers just for them.
More info: $2, $1 seniors, free kids 12 and under. 5 p.m.-midnight July 15; 3 p.m.-midnight July 16-17. Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 7373 Caldwell Ave., Niles. (847) 647-8880.
Take a trip down south (and we’re not talking Hyde Park) with Windy City Smokeout, a BBQ extravaganza that brings a taste of the country to the heart of our city. Eat BBQ from some of Chicago’s finest pitmasters and enjoy tunes from some of country music’s finest (Big and Rich, anyone?). Family Day is Sunday, so pack up the kids and go hog wild.
More info: $30 and up; free kids under 12. July 15-17. Grand and the Chicago River, Chicago.
If you like to eat healthy–it is swimsuit season, after all–food fests might not sound like a great idea. But that’s where Veggie Fest comes in. This celebration of all things good for you includes a Vegi-Kids parade (dress as your favorite veggie or animal!), a Family Meditation Tent, and activities for the youngest bunch. Grownups can enjoy speakers, demos and live music, plus a food court with a bumper crop of vegetarian options.
More info: Free. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. July 23-24. Science of Spirituality Center, 4045 N. Naperville Road, Lisle. (630) 955-1200.