Summer Guide: Get Out of Town | Calendar | Chicago Reader

Summer Guide: Get Out of Town 

Cow chip tossing, cherry spitting, Ren Faire, and more excuses for a road trip

Chocolate Fest

Chocolate Fest

Sun-dried dog poop in the parkway? Disgusting. Desiccated cow poop flung across a field in Wisconsin? Get in the car! It doesn't take much to make a road trip appealing in the summer, but if you need an excuse, take your pick. —Sam Worley


Summer Camp Music Festival Umphrey's McGee, Keller Williams, and Yonder Mountain String Band are a few of the dozens of jam bands scheduled at this sleepover fest.  Fri-Sun 5/28-5/30, Three Sisters Park, 17201 N. State Route 29, Chillicothe, Illinois, 866-278-8837,, $170, VIP upgrades $150-$1,200.

Chocolate Fest In addition to chocolate tastings and a chocolate-sculpting contest, there's entertainment ranging from duck races to BMX bike shows.  5/28-5/31, Fri 4 PM-midnight, Sat-Sun 10 AM-midnight, Mon noon-8 PM, 681 Maryland, Burlington, Wisconsin, 262-763-3300,, $8, $7 in advance, $7 seniors, kids 5-12 $3, $2.50 in advance, under 5 free.


Route 75 Garage Sale Now in its eighth year, Illinois' longest garage sale stretches along 40 miles of State Route 75 between Freeport and South Beloit.  Fri-Sat 6/4-6/5,

Verge Music Festival A new fest whose lineup includes Weezer, She & Him, Eagles of Death Metal, AFI, and others.  6/4-6/5, Fri 5 PM-midnight, Sat 2 PM-midnight, Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor, Milwaukee, 414-273-2680,, $35, $25 in advance; two-day passes $70, $40 in advance.

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival Cheese carving, a cheesecake contest, and a cheese-curd-eating competition, among other themed activities. Also: $1 carnival rides, a petting zoo, live music, and a wine tasting.  6/4-6/6, Fri 5 PM-midnight, Sat 11 AM-midnight, Sun 11 AM-5 PM, Doyle Park, 100 Van Buren, Little Chute, Wisconsin, 920-788-7380,, $5, $4 in advance, $1 off kids 4-12, under 4 free.

American Players Theatre This year's season at the theater in the woods includes performances of Shakespeare's As You Like It and All's Well That Ends Well, George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara, and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.  6/5-10/17, performance times vary, American Players Theatre, 5950 Golf Course Rd., Spring Green, Wisconsin, 608-588-2361,, $39-$64.

International Carillon Festival The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, a tower of 67 tuned bronze bells played manually using a keyboard, hosts six nights of performances by carillonneurs from around the world.  6/6-6/12, 7 PM (except Wed 6/9), Washington Park, 5531 S. Martin Luther King, Springfield, Illinois, 773-256-1248,

Bill Monroe's Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival The oldest continuously running bluegrass festival in the world, held on the estate of the "father of bluegrass," with more than 50 acts, including Ralph Stanley, James King, and Special Consensus.  6/12-6/19, Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park & Campground, 5163 SR 135 N., Morgantown, 812-988-6422,, advance single-day tickets $15-$30, advance three-day pass $75, advance eight-day pass $150 (camping extra).

Milwaukee Summerfest Milwaukee claims this sprawling event, featuring more than 800 bands, is the world's largest music festival. Headliners this year include Santana, Brooks & Dunn, the Roots, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Moody Blues, Weezer, and Public Enemy.  6/24-7/4, noon-midnight, 200 N. Harbor, Milwaukee, 414-273-2680,, $15, $8 before 4 PM Sun-Thu, $33 three-day passes, seniors and kids age 3-10 $3, kids under 3 free.

Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering Workshops and performances, including the Wazo County Warblers & the Fly Boys, Special Consensus, and the Hot Club of Detroit.  Fri-Sun 6/25-6/27, Tippecanoe Battlefield Park, 200 Battleground, Battle Ground, Indiana, dcwi.comfiddlers, price TBA.

Grand Haven Sand Sculpture Contest Individuals and groups compete to build the best sand sculpture.  Sat 6/26, 10 AM-noon, registration 9-9:45 AM, Grand Haven City Beach, Grand Haven, Michigan, 616-842-4910,

Cornerstone Festival Massive Christian music festival.  Mon-Sat 6/28-7/3, Cornerstone Farm, 23325 N. Cornerstone, Marietta, Illinois, 773-989-2087,, passes $141-$155, family passes $308-$375 (both include camping), kids under 11 free.


International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship The farm that hosts this annual competition claims that Brian "Young Gun" Krause—son of renowned spitter Rick "Pellet Gun" Krause—holds the world record, which is 93 feet, 6.5 inches. Challengers can show up for qualifying rounds at 10 AM; for cheerleaders and other spectators, the championship rounds are at 1 PM.  Sat 7/3, 10 AM, Tree-Mendus Fruit, 9351 E. Eureka Rd., Eau Claire, Michigan, 269-782-7101,, 25-cent donation.

Bristol Renaissance Faire Jousting, wenches, ale, ax throwing, archery, falconry, turkey legs fit for Henry VIII, and more.  7/10-9/6, 10 AM-7 PM, I-94 and State Line, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 847-395-7773, renfair.combristol, $18.95, children 5-12 $9.50, $1 off in advance, kids under 5 free.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
July 15
Galleries & Museums
May 28

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