5 things to do in McHenry County: Festivals, fireworks and train rides

1. McHenry’s Fiesta Days, planned July 8 to 18, continues through the weekend with bands, food vendors, beer tents and fireworks Sunday night, July 11.

Cask and Barrel Night, an all-inclusive whiskey and beer tasting event, the first event in the lineup, was set to run from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Road in McHenry. Tickets cost $50.

Music Fest Weekend will entertain Friday through Sunday with a carnival, bands, food vendors and beer tents. A Beach Bash offers children’s activities such as inflatables and face painting from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, all at Petersen Park. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at noon Sunday.

Fireworks – a new addition this year – will cap the weekend at 9:30 p.m. Sunday with more activities to come the following week.

For more information, go to mchenryfiestadays.com.

2. Rockin’ Ribfest also was set to start Thursday, returning to Sunset Park in Lake in the Hills with several music acts and food vendors.

Admission to the festival costs $5, and is free for children age 12 and younger. Carnival wristbands can be bought for $25 for unlimited rides.

This year’s festival will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Several musical groups will play each day of the festival, including Modern Day Romeos; the Boy Band Night; Steve Augeri, the former lead singer of Journey; and 7th Heaven.

Eight rib vendors from around the country will be in attendance: Pigfoot BBQ & Rib Co. from Mentor, Ohio; Texas Outlaw BBQ from Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Cowboy BBQ and Rib Co. from Fort Worth, Texas; Fine Smoke BBQ from Columbus, Ohio; Hog Wild BBQ from Olive Hill, Kentucky; After Hours BBQ from Orville, Ohio; Armadillo’s BBQ from Atlanta, Georgia; and Mojo’s Rib Shack from New Franklin, Ohio.

For more information, go to lithribfest.com.

3. The friendly blue train engine known as Thomas will host train rides at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

The Day Out With Thomas events will run this Saturday and Sunday as well as the following weekend, July 17 and 18.

Tickets should be purchased online ahead of time and cost $21 per person. The tickets include a 20-minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine; unlimited rides on streetcars; entertainment, including live music and magic shows; and access to museum exhibits.

Rides on another train behind Percy – the little green train – are available for an additional $10.

Parking at the Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road in Union, opens at 7:30 a.m. every day and gates open at 9 a.m.

For more information, go to irm.org.

4. The McHenry County Garden Walk featuring nine gardens will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The event is hosted by the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners and starts with the Demonstration Garden at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

Attendees can tour the nine featured gardens at their own pace, and Master Gardeners will be on-site at each garden to answer questions and offer educational materials.

Advanced tickets are no longer available, but day-of tickets can be purchased for $17.

For information about Garden Walk, go to www.mchenry.edu/gardenwalk, email conferencecenter@mchenry.edu, or call 815-479-7570.

5. Northern Illinois Charity Riders will present a Ride for a Cause and family picnic Saturday to raise money for the Autism Hero Project.

The event will take place at Loyal Order of Moose, 3535 N. Richmond Road in Johnsburg, with registration for the ride from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The ride will start at 11 a.m.

The fee for the ride is $15 for a single rider and $25 for a driver and passenger. The cost includes the picnic.

The picnic – featuring activities, games, live music, raffles and a magic show – will follow the ride, starting at 3 p.m. Attendees can bring their own food or opt in for all-you-can-eat hamburgers and hot dogs at $5 for children and $10 for adults. Chips, water and kid juices also will be provided.

For more information, go to Northwest Herald’s community calendar at shawlocal.com/northwest-herald/local-events/ and following the Eventbrite link.

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