3 ways to have cheap fun this month

Harvest Hoedown

Swing your partner round and round! It’s time to dig out those overalls, because this old-fashioned Harvest Hoedown includes an authentic square dance accompanied by some toe-tapping music. And once you’re tired out from all that promenading, there are potato-sack races, a wagon ride, tractors and farm animals. Plus the farm chore obstacle course guarantees at least one afternoon free of complaining about taking out the garbage. Free. Noon-4 p.m. Sept. 20. Riverview Farmstead Preserve, 5220 Book Road, Naperville. (815) 727-8700, fpdwc.org.

Caboose Days

If you’ve ever wanted to live like the Boxcar Children, Fox River Trolley Museum’s Caboose Days are made for you. Families can take a ride on the newly repaired CTA freight locomotive or the big, red Illinois Central caboose. Pack a picnic lunch, and you can enjoy a full day of riding the rails. All aboard, indeed! $8 all day; $4, $2 kids one ride. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 21 and 28. Fox River Trolley Museum, 361 S. LaFox St. (Ill. 31), South Elgin. (847) 697-4676, foxtrolley.org.

Art and BBQ in Hyde Park

This 75th birthday party is like nothing you’ve experienced, with “the best of Hyde Park Art Center” on hand to celebrate. The 75th Anniversary Block Party BBQ Bash showcases some of the unique art happening around our city, whether it’s a shaving cream fight or fortune telling. Plus, there are family-friendly art-making activities during the day and opportunities for adults to discover their inner artists at night. Free. Noon-9 p.m. Sept. 13. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago. (773) 324-5520, hydeparkart.org.

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