June 16, 2021
Where to Eat & Drink


Feeding frenzy

As springtime emerges, food festivals take form

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Looking for the right way to satisfy your cravings for spring? Whet your appetites with this list of unique food-centered events across northern Illinois this season.

Beer, Bacon & Bikes
Downtown McHenry
April 7, 1-4 p.m.

The 2nd annual Beer, Bacon & Bikes event, for 21+, includes a tour through some of McHenry's shops and restaurants for craft beer samplings from local breweries, appetizers and treats from local dining places, and downtown shopping. $30-$35 including complimentary tasting glass, craft beer tasters, food samples and choice of craft beer howler. For additional information visit www.McHenryDowntown.biz.

Gluten-Free and Allergen Friendly Expo
Schaumburg Convention Center
1551 Thoreau Drive North, Schaumburg
April 7-8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Started in 2007, the Gluten-Free and Allergen Friendly Expos which are held at various locations across the U.S., are the largest special diet consumer events in the county. They are designed to meet the needs of those with Celiac disease as well as other gluten-sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases and autism. The vendor fair will feature more than 100 different brands as well as samples and discounted products for sale. Informational classes will be held. Parking is free. Tickets are $5/kid ages 3-12, $15/adult for one-day passes, and $7/kid, $25/adult for weekend passes. Sunday family passes for 2 adults and up to 6 kids are $35. For additional information visit www.gfafExpo.com.

Cochon555
Hilton Chicago
720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
April 8, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

The annual event is one stop in a U.S. tour promoting the heritage breed pig. Five area chefs will prepare over 1,200 pounds of heritage pork raised on family farms. Guests and judges will vote on the best fare, with the winning chef crowned as the Prince or Princess of Porc. The event also features local distilleries and artisan winemakers for beverage pairings. Cochon555 was launched in 2008 to help increase knowledge about heritage breed pigs and support local farmers. A portion of the proceeds benefit Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri. Tickets are $130-200. For additional information visit www.Cochon555.com.

Brew and Vine Festival
Tinley Park Convention Center
18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park
April 14, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

The adults 21+ indoor event features approximately 200 craft beers from across the Midwest, a variety of wineries, unique fare from small Chicagoland restaurants and live entertainment from local and regional musicians. Tickets will be available soon. For additional information, visit www.TinleyParkBrewandVine.com.

Food Truck Festival
Green Lake Woods
15810 Torrence Ave., Calumet City
April 21, 10 a.m.-sunset

One of the largest food truck gatherings in the Midwest, the event includes approximately 40 gourmet food trucks, a wide selection of beers and wines, live musical entertainment and more. Likely vendors include Gino's Steaks, The Fat Shallot, Aunt Vee's Cupcakes, Lunchbox, Jerk Modern Jamaican Grill, Yum Dum and The Crave Bar. $5/VIP admission, $5-$8/beer, wine and cocktails. For additional information visit www.ChgoFoodTruckFest.com.

Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival
Downtown Wakarusa, Indiana
April 27-29, Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Indiana has an active maple syrup industry. The annual event, started in 1971, takes place in the heart of Amish country and features all you-can-eat-pancakes and sausage served with maple syrup, educational tours of maple sugar camps, rides in Amish buggies, a lumberjack show, magic acts, and more. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/WakyMapleSyrup/ or call (574) 862-4344.

Ballpark Brew Fest
Schaumburg Boomers Stadium
1999 S. Springinsguth Rd., Schaumburg
May 5, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.

The 6th annual event will feature more than 100 beers from over 50 breweries, food vendors and live musical entertainment. VIP and general admission passes include 25 three-ounce samples. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. $50/VIP with early entry privileges, $25/general admission, $10/designated driver. For additional information visit www.BallParkBrewfest.com or call (800) 745-3000.

Midwest Morel Fest
Jordon Block Park, Main and Rte. 23/71N, Ottawa
May 5, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

It's all things-mushroom at the annual Midwest Morel Fest. The event includes a market place for handcrafted items, Home Brewers Tasting Test and Competition, live music, food and more. Morel University provides the opportunity to learn about morels.  The guided hunt at 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. takes place on a private site, with a guide helping locate morels. The Championship Hunt taking place at the same time on a separate private site, is a competition among experienced morel hunters. Morel University and Championship Hunt are each $15-$35 with online registration available at www.PickUsOttawaIl.com. For additional information call (815) 434-2737.

Wine on the Fox
Wine Fest
Hudson Crossing Park
65 N. Harrison Street, Oswego
May 5-6, Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 12 noon-6 p.m.

Attendees can celebrate Illinois wines, food and music at the premier wine-tasting festival. The event is free and open to the public. Wine tasting is $15 per day and includes five tasting tickets and a souvenir wine glass. Additional wine tasting tickets are $1. Advance purchase of a two-day pass is available for $25. Designated drivers receive a complimentary bottle of soda or water courtesy of the Rotary Club of Oswego. For additional information visit www.GoOswego.org.

Viva Cinco De Mayo Festival
Toyota Park
7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview
May 11-13, Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.-9 p.m.

In celebration of Hispanic families and community, Viva Cinco De Mayo is a family event featuring ethnic food, Mexican beers, arts and crafts, a carnival, live music, activities and games. For additional information visit www.VivaCincoDeMayoFestival.com or call (708) 378-0102.

Amps & Eats Festival
Metal Monkey Brewing
515 Anderson Drive, Romeoville
May 12, 12 noon

The annual food truck festival features live musical entertainment by Illinois bands. Specific food trucks and live entertainment to be named soon. Tickets are $15-$20.

Grapevines & Wines
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
May 17, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

The Botanic Garden's spring wine tasting event includes sample wines from around the world. Light fare and wine by the glass will be available for purchase. Tickets $27-$30/members, $32-$35/nonmembers.  For additional information visit www.ChicagoBotanic.org

Chocolate Fest
Downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove
May 18-20, Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m-6 p.m.

The annual family event includes a chocolate scavenger hunt, local vendors offering chocolate creations, and interactive activities including pie-eating contests, potato sack races, dancing, and a bubble show. Festival sponsor Long Grove Confectionary will have an experience tent with live demos and free activities. The festival will also include live entertainment. Admission is $5. For additional information visit www.LongGrove.org.

Food Truck Social
Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago
May 19, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Meals on wheels are featured at the Food Truck Social. Available fare includes doughnuts, pierogis, tacos, grilled cheese and more.  Attendees can experience the zoo after hours, along with games, DJs, and beverages available for purchase. $8-$10/person, children under the age of 12 months free. For additional information visit http://www.lpzoo.org/food-truck-social

Wine in Bloom
Massbach Ridge Winery
8837 S. Massbach Rd. Elizabeth
May 26, 2018, 11a.m. – 5 p.m.

Get your first glimpse of spring in the vineyard, join us for a wine tasting outside on the porch, stroll through the vineyard and enjoy wine and entertainment all afternoon. Admission is $5. For more information visit www.massbachridge.com

Skokie Festival of Cultures
Oakton Park
4701 Oakton St., Skokie
May 19-20, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Now in its 28th year, the annual festival is considered to be among the premier ethnic celebrations in Illinois, representing more than three dozen cultures.  The 'Tour of the World' includes ethnic folk music and dance, arts and crafts, a merchandise bazaar, cultural booths, and ethnic food and craft beers. For additional information visit www.SkokieCultureFest.org.

Rhubarb Festival
Kankakee County Museum
801 South 8th Avenue, Kankakee
May 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Launched in 1991, the annual event celebrates rhubarb, the illustrious pie plant. The festival includes baking competitions and sales of pies, jellies, jams, and more. There will be vendors, food, live entertainment and games. Attendees will be able to tour the one-room school house and boyhood home of Lennington Small, Governor of Illinois from 1921-1929. For additional information call  (815) 932-5279.

Red, White and BBQ
Ty Warner Park
700 Blackhawk Dr., Westmont
May 25-27, Friday 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday noon-10:30 p.m., Sunday noon-9 p.m.

The annual event, which is the Illinois State Championship Contest and the largest sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) contest in Illinois, includes two professional and one amateur BBQ competitions with more than $20,000 in awards. Also featured are the best BBQ vendors in the Midwest, a beer tent, live musical entertainment, demonstrations, commercial and craft vendors, carnival rides and games and more. Admission is free, special rates for carnival rides available. For additional information visit www.WestmontBBQ.com.

Tri-City Craft Brew Festival
Lincoln Park
4th Street and Main Street, St. Charles
June 9, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

The annual festival is a four-hour sampling event of craft beer and hard cider, for all levels of beer enthusiasts. More than 80 beers from craft breweries around the country will be offered including Wild Onion Brewery, Tocayo Brewing Company, Crystal Lake Brewing, Penrose Brewing Company, Goose Island and more. The Tri-City Craft Brew Festival is for ages 21+ and will include live musical entertainment and access to local food vendors and food trucks.  Designated drivers will receive unlimited free soda and water. Tickets are $65-$70/VIP admission, $45-$50/general admission, and $15/designated driver. For additional information visit www.TriCityCraftBrewFestival.com

Piyesta Pinoy
Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center
375 W. Briarcliff Rd., Bolingbrook
June 9, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

The 5th annual festival which celebrates Filipino heritage and culture, includes live music and dance, cultural exhibits, arts and crafts, games, a costume parade, dance competition, educational workshops and authentic Filipino cuisine. The event is coordinated by the Philippine American Cultural Foundation in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago and the Village of Bolingbrook. For additional information visit www.PiyestaPinoy.org.