Now that the seasons are changing, if you’re like me, you’re already longing for the days of summer to come back. But just because the leaves are falling and it’s about time for pumpkin-spice everything, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to summer. There are still plenty of things to do to keep you in a sunshine state of mind.
Salute the sandwich
Nothing is more summer than going to the fair, and luckily you haven’t missed the oldest continuously running one in the state. The Sandwich Fair is held Sept. 9-10 at the fairgrounds in Sandwich, about 60 miles west of Chicago. With plenty of rides, livestock exhibits, blue-ribbon contests and grandstand events, it has everything you want from the typical fair experience.
Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for kids, but there are different deals and discounts almost every day, so it’s best to check out the website before planning your trip. And like most of the fairs in the area, it also offers ride wristbands for the kids, which can be a solid investment over the books and books of tickets you otherwise might purchase.
One day only
If you don’t have time to drive to the fair, check out what is quite possibly the best one-day party in town. Misericordia’s 37th Annual Family Fest runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 10 on the campus at 6300 N. Ridge in Chicago. There are free games for the kids (with a prize tent to boot), plenty of great food, drink and dessert options, plus you’ll be supporting a great organization that serves more than 600 children and adults with disabilities. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and can be purchased the day of or online.
Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
With plenty of local food options, craft beer tents and a great line-up of music both nights, there is no shortage of things to do and enjoy for adults at Oaktoberfest in downtown Oak Park, Sept. 15-16. But adults can’t have all the fun, which is why this Oktoberfest has a beer garden for kids as well—a root beer garden, that is. Aside from offering up some kid-friendly suds, it also has crafts, activities, face painting and more for the little ones.
While there is no cost to enjoy the sights and sounds of Oaktoberfest, tickets for food and drinks are available for purchase with cash only, so hit the ATM beforehand. And make it a really fun day for the kids (and less stressful for you as well) by taking either the CTA or Metra to the event to avoid potential traffic and parking headaches. Details on vendors, music line-ups and directions for driving or arriving by train are online.
How ‘bout them apples
If there is an apple involved in it, you’ll be able to eat or drink it at the Long Grove Apple Fest Sept. 22-24. Tons of entertainment is featured at multiple locations, plus for the kids there are carnival rides and pony rides as well. In addition to the Apple Festival events, you’ll also be able to stroll through the historic village and check out its shops and restaurants.
Admission is $5 per person and free for kids 12 and under, although they will probably ask you to buy them some fresh apple cider donuts while you are there. I’m guessing you’ll want some anyway.
Everyone loves a parade
Why should Memorial Day and the 4th of July have all the parade fun? Finally let go of summer when you head downtown on Oct. 9 for the Columbus Day Parade. The parade steps off at 12:30 p.m. and runs down State Street from Lake to Van Buren. Chances are the kids have off school anyway, allowing you to pretend summer is still going for just one more day.