News - McHenry County

5 things to do in McHenry County: Marengo Settlers Day, Woodstock Rail Fest, Vintage Shop Hop

Also this weekend: ‘Hocus Pocus’ screening outside in Lake in the Hills and an indigenous storytelling event in Crystal Lake

Keira Gorman, 7, of Rockford, exchanges glances with the animals at the petting zoo during the annual Settlers Days events on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 in Marengo.

1. The Vintage Shop Hop featuring more than 400 vintage shops and boutiques across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin returns for its fall edition this Friday and Saturday.

More than 20 McHenry County businesses – including in Cary, Crystal Lake, Harvard, Hebron, Marengo, McHenry, Richmond, Spring Grove and Woodstock – are participating in the event.

To see a list of participating businesses, their addresses and hours, go to

2. Marengo’s Settlers’ Days kicks off Friday with a Roaring ‘20s theme, live music, parades, fireworks, a car show and a prince and princess costume contest.

The carnival will operate each day in the parking lot at Marengo City Hall, 132 E. Prairie St., opening at 5 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Pre-sale ride bracelets can be bought for unlimited rides from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday or 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday. The last day to purchase them is Friday, and a list of places where they can purchased is available on the festival’s website,

Friday also will feature the fireworks, originally planned for the Fourth of July, but canceled because of bad weather. They will follow the Marengo Community High School football game.

An arts and crafts fair will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Marengo Community High School, 110 Franks Road, and the car show will open at 10 a.m. Saturday at Calvin Spencer Park.

Rich Belmonte and son Mike Belmonte, both of Crystal Lake, check out the engines at the car show at Calvin Spencer Park during the annual Settlers Days events on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 in Marengo.

Saturday Night on Main Street, which runs 5 to 10 p.m., will feature live music, food vendors, crafts, kid activities, street performers and a beer tent. Three bands instead of two will take the stage, including local bands, Nobody’s and Ember’s Rise, and headliner Boy Band Review.

A children’s pet parade will step off at 10 a.m. Saturday from the First Baptist Church parking lot and the main parade will hit the streets at 2 p.m. Sunday, traveling Route 23 through downtown Marengo, before turning and heading east on Washington Street.

For a full schedule of activities, go to

Dogs are paraded through town in the Children's Pet Parade during the annual Settlers Days events on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 in Marengo.

3. Watch “Hocus Pocus” outside at a movie night hosted Friday evening at the Lake in the Hills Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the movie will start at dusk.

The pre-registration fee is $2 a person, which will rise to $3 a person the day of. Every attendee will get a glow bracelet and a bag of popcorn.

Attendees are welcome to bring chairs, blankets, a picnic dinner, and non-alcoholic beverages

Go to to register.

4. The Woodstock Rail Fest returns with more than a dozen trains on display this Saturday and Sunday around the historic Woodstock Square.

Many local businesses and Square venues – including event organizer M.D. Trains – will host a variety of model train setups provided by regional collectors and clubs. Trains will be displayed in store windows around the Square for easy viewing from outside and outdoor and larger indoor venues with train displays will have more capacity for up-close viewing.

Train locations include A New Interiors Anew, Anime & Things, Avant Cycle Cafe, Casting Whimsy Tea, Cesaroni’s Cafe and Deli, Dickinson’s Little Vaudeville, Ethereal Confections, GriffoNest Games, Home State Bank, My Little Bow Peeps Shop, M.D. Trains, Oliver’s Bar and Grill, Read Between The Lynes, Silver Prairie Natural Soap Company, Thoughtfulness Shop, Warp Corps, Winestock Market and Lounge and the Woodstock train station.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

5. Songs, drumming and storytelling from members of the Lil’wat Nation will fill the Crystal Lake Park District’s Nature Center, 330 N. Main St. in Crystal Lake.

The free, drop-in “Indigenous Voices: Storytelling and More from Lil’wat Nation Storytellers” event will take place 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, go to

Would you like your event featured in this weekly feature? The first step is submitting your events to the Northwest Herald’s community calendar at where they are then considered for inclusion in this feature.