Events in Illinois

Leigh Kunkel
| April 26, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
Illustration of landmarks in Illinois Adam Grason

Discover big-city excitement and small-town charm with these can’t-miss events in Illinois and northern Indiana.

Billed as a “big-city festival,” with “small-town heart,” the 60th annual Petunia Festival in Dixon, IL, on July 3–7, celebrates community spirit with a wide range of family-friendly activities, including live music performances, carnival rides, parades, fireworks and more.

Peruse local vendors, check out the Cruise-In Style Car Show or enter the festival’s bingo tournament. This annual event brings together locals and visitors alike to enjoy the festive atmosphere and honor the town’s heritage.

Calendar of Events

Beat the summer heat with these cool events in Illinois and northern Indiana.

Now–Aug. 31
Eva Kor from Auschwitz to Indiana
Learn about the remarkable Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who dedicated her life to educating the world about what she experienced during World War II. The exhibition at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis “explores how her life and legacy teach us about the horrors of the Holocaust, the realities of antisemitism, and the power of an individual to make change” through video footage, virtual reality and other interactive elements.  

May 4
Cairo Magnolia Celebration
This yearly fundraiser in Cairo, Illinois, gives visitors a chance to tour some of the city’s most impressive historical buildings, including the stunning postbellum Magnolia Manor and the Cairo Custom House Museum.

May 4–5
Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail
Throw yourself into this yearly event by bringing your kith and “kiln” to visit the various ceramicists and potters in their studios in Alto Pass, Illinois. See demonstrations, ask questions and “seize the clay” by purchasing your own piece to take home.

May 11
Disabilities Expo
Visit more than 120 exhibitors in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that cover every aspect of services for people with disabilities, from adaptive sports to addressing medical needs to employment counseling.

May 17
The Four Horsemen: The Ultimate Tribute to Metallica
Metalheads, unite! Head to Hobart, Indiana, for this tribute to one of the most successful metal bands of all time, and get ready to rock at the Hobart Art Theater.

May 19–27
HerrinFesta Italiana
Once voted the best festival in Illinois, this annual event in Herrin is a celebration of all things Italy. With a carnival, live performances, a parade, vendors and incredible food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

May 23–June 9
Southern Illinois Music Festival
Classical music lovers should head to Carbondale, Illinois, for this celebration of orchestral and chamber music performed by ensembles from across the country as well as Southern Illinois University students and professors.

June 1–October
Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy
“Olmec Trails: Culture and Legacy” at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art in Glen Ellyn, IL, offers visitors an immersive experience exploring the rich cultural heritage of the Olmec civilization, known for iconic colossal stone head sculptures and other monumental artworks. Gain insights into the art, mythology and legacy of the Olmec people through exhibits, presentations and interactive events.

June 7–9
Shawnee Cave Revival Music Festival
Located in the stunning Shawnee Cave Amphitheater, which is literally set into the rocks of the Shawnee National Forest in Murphysboro, Illinois, this music festival has a stellar lineup of rock, blues, funk and soul bands.

June 12
Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour
Parents of young children won’t want to miss this musical tour featuring characters from the beloved educational show Blippi when it comes to the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Indiana.

June 15
Kenny Chesney at Soldier Field
Country superstar Kenny Chesney brings his Sun Goes Down 2024 Tour, along with special guests Megan Moroney and Uncle Kracker, to Soldier Field in Chicago. (For AAA Member-exclusive discounts on concerts and more, visit

June 27–30
ASA Mathews Archery Pro/Am
This tournament in Metropolis, Illinois, sponsored by the Archery Shooters Association, features multiple events, including the MATCH BOWSTRINGS Team Shoot and the Elite Archery Known Distance Shoot, as well as coaching clinics for young archers.

July 11–14
Pinto 8U International Baseball Classic
The prestigious Pinto 8U International Baseball Classic attracts youth baseball teams and fans from all over. This year’s tournament takes place in Marion, IL, and in addition to the regular games will include a home-run-hitting contest and a fastest-runner contest. 


Revelers enjoy the Chinatown Summer Fair street festival in Chicago.

July 27–28
Chinatown Summer Fair
Explore the food, art, culture and music of Chicago’s Chinatown at this annual street festival. Enjoy cuisine from local restaurants, marvel at kung fu demonstrations, and shop unique wares from street vendors and gift shops. There’s also a children’s area for those visiting as a family. 

July 30–Aug. 4
Xinsurance Great Lakes Grand Prix
Just an hour outside of Chicago in Michigan City, IN, you’ll find some of the world’s fastest offshore boats showing off their tricks along the south shore of Lake Michigan. Check out the boat parade, live music, bags tournament and even a hula hoop contest! 

Aug. 2–3
Botanical Roots Music Festival
Groove to the eclectic lineup at this outdoor music festival held at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne, IN. You’ll find everything from reggae to blues to zydeco.

The sun sets over the tents and booths at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Visit Springfield

Aug. 8–18
Illinois State Fair
The Illinois State Fair in Springfield has been a summer staple since 1953. Bring the whole family for carnival rides, games and food, as well as livestock shows, concert performances and auto races.

Aug. 23–25
Corn Fest
Head to DeKalb, IL, for one of the state’s last free music festivals. There will be a bags tournament, art activities for the kids, a corn boil, carnival rides and, of course, plenty of live music.

Aug. 24–25
Shawnee Hills Trail Races
Whether you’re a trail runner or a spectator, the Shawnee Hills Trail Races in Ozark, IL, promise spectacular scenery and good times. The trail runs through the stunning sandstone canyons of Shawnee National Forest, and with 100-mile, 100K, 50K and half-marathon races, there’s something to suit all types of distance runners and their fans.

Aug. 31–Sept. 1
Kane County Flea Market
Explore more than 600 booths selling vintage furniture, decor, sports memorabilia, holiday decorations and more when you visit this enormous flea market in St. Charles, IL, just an hour west of Chicago.

Sept. 21–Oct. 30
Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch
Families flock to this Johnston City, IL, farm for all their favorite fall activities. There are pumpkins, of course, but don’t miss the corn maze, hayrides, face painting and more. The hayrides have an ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp, making them accessible for people of all mobility levels.

Sept. 25–29
Grundy County Corn Festival
Come celebrate at this 75th annual corn fest in Morris, IL. In addition to corn in all forms, from grilled to popped, you’ll also find a grain and flower show, a craft show and flea market, live performances, a parade, and the crowning of the Corn Festival Queen.

Sept. 28–29
Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days
Hunting and fishing enthusiasts of all stripes will find something they love at this annual event in Carterville, IL. The festival is “dedicated to teaching ethics, safety and conservation in order to enhance the outdoor experience” and features vendors of outdoor gear, delicious food and entertaining events such as the dog jumping competition.

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