Your guide to summer in McHenry County: Festivals and other events

Attendees filter into the carnival during the annual Lakeside Festival at the Dole and Lakeside Arts Park on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Crystal Lake.

Summer in McHenry County is in full swing this weekend with Harvard Milk Days underway and the Woodstock Food Truck Festival on the Square set for Saturday.

The fun is set to continue with festivals, free concerts, outdoor movies and other events across the county.

The Northwest Herald has three articles to provide a taste of what to expect this summer, including this one. To find a list of farmers markets, click here, and for a list of summer concerts and other reoccurring community events, go here.

Also, keep checking the Northwest Herald for its weekly 5 Things to Do in McHenry County feature, which will provide up-to-date information the week of events and also will highlight events not included here. The Northwest Herald also will publish a separate guide ahead of Independence Day.

A community calendar is available online at under Event Calendar.

Harvard Milk Days: The festival grounds at Milky Way Park, 300 Lawrence Road, open at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday with a food court, marketplace, carnival, petting zoo, chainsaw carver and cow chip lotto.

This year’s live entertainment features That Gurl, a 1970s tribute band, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, capped with fireworks at 10 p.m. Sunday.

The parade will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday on Ayers Street and follow the traditional parade route.

A farm equipment and tractor display will be available from 9 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. A milk-drinking contest is set for 4 p.m. Saturday followed by a milking contest at 5 p.m. and a talent show at 6 p.m.

For a full schedule of events, visit

Food Truck Festival on the Square: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday on the historic Woodstock Square.

The second annual festival will feature food trucks, of course, but also live entertainment. For more information, go to

Woodstock PrideFest: Various events planned June 11 and 12.

The Rainbow Run will take place June 11 at Emricson Park. Check in begins at 10 a.m., with staggered starts beginning at 10:30 a.m. The race includes one loop with three color stations. The cost is $20 and includes an event T-shirt for the first 200 people who register.

Pride Promenade will take place from noon to 5 p.m. June 11 and 12 around town. A reverse parade will take place, in which participants check out the celebratory displays at local homes and businesses. A map can be found on the Facebook event page the morning of June 11.

A pub crawl will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. June 11 with check-in at the bandstand on the historic Woodstock Square. Tickets are $20 and include two drink tokens. The first 200 tickets come with a pair of Woodstock Pride sunglasses and stickers. Participating locations include Chop Suey Hut, Napoli’s Pizza, Ortmann’s, Red Iron, D.C. Cobb’s, The Cabin, Benton Street Tap and Public House of Woodstock.

Woodstock’s PrideFest will take place June 12 with a parade, music and other entertainment, vendors and food on the historic Woodstock Square. The parade begins at 11 a.m. followed by an opening ceremony at noon and vendors and food trucks from noon to 5 p.m.

For information, go to

National Alliance on Mental Illness McHenry County’s Cookout for a Cause: 3 to 6 p.m. June 12 at the Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area in Cary.

The free event will include an auction, a scavenger hunt, music and door prizes in addition to food from Taylor Street Pizza Algonquin.

Space at the event is limited, so registration is required at

Picnic in the Park: 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 17 Deicke Park, 11419 S. Route 47 in Huntley. A free family event with a DJ and bounce house. Attendees can bring their own food or buy from the BBQ King food truck.

VetFest: 3 to 11 p.m. June 18 at the Huntley American Legion Post 673, 11712 Coral St. Event will include food and drink plus activities for kids from 3 to 6 p.m. and live music starting at 4 p.m. Bucket Number 6 will perform from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by Rumor Hazit from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Hi Infidelity from 9 to 11 p.m.

First Day of Summer Beach Party: 5 to 8 p.m. June 21 at Indian Trail Beach, 228 Indian Trail in Lake in the Hills.

The party will include beach blanket bingo, sandcastles, giant volleyball, s’mores, a variety show from RC Juggles and a DJ. Kona Ice will be on-site from 5 to 7 p.m.

The event is free for Lake in the Hills residents and $2 for nonresidents who register. The deadline to register is June 18, and registration can be completed online at

Tickets can be bought at the door for $2 for residents and $4 for nonresidents.

Woodstock’s Summer in the Park: June 22 through 26 on the historic Woodstock Square and at Woodstock Water Works, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road.

A City Band concert, ice cream social, games and prizes will take place 7 to 9 p.m. June 22 at the Square followed by 6 to 10 p.m. June 23 with a vendor fair, balloon creations and showing of “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” in the park.

On June 25, the festivities will move to the Woodstock Water Works with the Aqua Fiesta Party from 1 to 4 p.m. with a DJ, bags tournament and beer garden.

Back to the Square on June 26 with from noon to 4 p.m., food, kids games, prizes, petting zoo, pony rides, bounce house, balloon creations, bingo, a Theatre 121 children’s show and Woodstock area nonprofit booths.

Friday Night Fish Boil for Hatchery Park: 5 to 10 p.m. June 24 at Horse Fair Park, 8105 Blivin St. in Spring Grove.

The event will feature all-you-can-eat cod, barbecue chicken and ribs from Fitzgerald’s Genoa City Junction. Beer, wine and other beverages also will be available.

The Judson Brown Band will perform from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Silent auctions help raise money for repairs and updates at Hatchery Park.

Lakeside Festival: June 30 to July 3 at the Dole and Lakeside Arts Park , 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. The hours are from 3 to 11 p.m. June 30, from noon to 11 p.m. July 1 and 2, and from noon to 10 p.m. July 3.

The festival will include 15 bands on two outdoor stages over the four days, food and drinks, a baggo tournament, and carnival rides and games. Among the activities for kids are face-painting, a balloon twister, a stilt walker, team mascots and a magician.

Cary Summer Celebration: July 1 at Lions Park, 1200 Silver Lake Road.

A performance by The Hat Guys will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. with fireworks scheduled to start shortly after the band’s performance.

The public is invited to pack a picnic or buy food and beverages at the park from one of several food trucks. Admission to the celebration is free, with $10 pavement parking and $5 grass parking.

The park opens at 6:30 p.m.

For information, call the Cary Park District at 847-639-6100.

Red White & Blue Feastival: 2 to 10 p.m. July 2 with food trucks, a beer tent, live music, a cornhole tournament and other family-friendly games, and fireworks at Milky Way Park, 800 Lawrence Road, Harvard. Admission is free, but parking is $5 a car.

For information, go to

Lake in the Hills’ Rockin’ Ribfest: The festival, featuring ribs from across the country, live music and other entertainment, runs July 7 to 10 at Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road in Lake in the Hills.

The cost is $5 for adults and free for military with military ID verifying active status, as well as children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult.

For more information, go to

McHenry Fiesta Days: The event kicks off from 6 to 10 p.m. July 7 with the third-ever Cask and Barrel Night. This limited-ticketed event offers whiskey from more than 40 distilleries and samples of craft beer from local breweries.

The carnival runs from 5 to 11 p.m. July 8, 1 to 10 p.m. July 9 and noon to 9 p.m. July 10 at Petersen Park, 4300 Peterson Park Road in McHenry. The first two days, Friday and Saturday that week, of the Music Fest also are ticketed. Sunday’s bands are free starting at 5:30 p.m. The Beach Bash for kids runs from noon to 4 p.m. July 10.

The second weekend moves events to Veterans Park, 3400 Pearl St., McHenry, with the parade marshal ceremony from 5 to 9 p.m. July 14. The Art and Street Fair Runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 16 and 17. The parade is at 1:30 p.m. July 17. The route starts on Main Street, traveling to Green Street and Pearl Street and ending on Riverside Drive.

For information, go to

McHenry County Historical Society and Museum’s 35th annual Heritage Fair: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 10 at the museum, 6422 Main St.

Highlights are set to include a colossal Garden Glitz plant sale, the annual white elephant sale, a return of a fortified vintage fashion sale, book sale, silent auction, children’s activities, bake sale and a pie-baking contest.

Pies will be sold by the slice immediately after the judging at the Heritage Fair’s bake sale. The grand champion will receive a trophy, and their name will be engraved on a permanent trophy at the museum. For rules, go to

The Heritage Fair Car Show will return along downtown Main Street in front of the museum along with DJ Jose Ramos. As in the past, the free show will feature sports, classic and antique cars. Top cars will receive trophies, including one for Best of Show. A one-of-a-kind, handmade People’s Choice trophy and door prizes also will be presented.

The day also features free admission to the museum and plenty of food from Tacos Express, Boy Scout Troop 153 and the Kettle Corn Cookery.

Gavers Barndance: 5 p.m. to midnight July 16 at Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock.

Put on by the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation, the event features three live acts and a barbecue dinner, which is included in the cost. The event is for those 21 years old and older.

Tickets are $50 each and can be bought online by July 7.

Take advantage of the four for three deal and save $50. General admission ticketholders can bring blankets or portable chairs. Reserved tables are available by becoming a sponsor.

Crystal Lake Cardboard Regatta: The annual event where cardboard boats take their chance on Crystal Lake’s namesake lake returns this year July 23 to Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, as a fundraiser for the Crystal Lake Parks Initiative Foundation. The rain date is July 24. The cost is $5 at the gate, and kids younger than 3 are free. Food trucks and a beer garden will be on-site.

Check-in begins at 9 a.m. The beach opens at 10 a.m., on-site boat-building begins at 11 a.m., and the races begin at noon. Live music will be provided by the Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline at 11:30 a.m. and Bourbon Country at 2 p.m.

For information or to register, go to

Algonquin Founders’ Days Festival: July 28 to 31 at Ted Spella Community Park, 2610 Harnish Drive.

This year marks the festival’s 60th anniversary and includes over 40 events, including live music, food and drinks, a carnival, and market bazaar.

The festival runs from 4 to 10 p.m. July 28, 4 to 11 p.m. July 29, 2 to 11 p.m. July 30 and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 31.

A Founders’ Day Christmas in July Parade will run through Main Street in downtown Algonquin beginning at 11 a.m. July 30.

For a full schedule of events, go to

McHenry County Fair: The 74th annual McHenry County Fair is set from Aug. 2 to 7 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock.

Grandstand events, including ticketed events, for this year include:

  • Miss McHenry County Fair Pageant, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 2
  • Illini State Pullers, Antiques and Stock Tractors, and Veteran’s Salute, time to be determined, Aug. 3
  • ATV Big Air Tour, 7 p.m., Aug. 4
  • Big & Rich with special guest Sara Evans, gates open at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 6
  • Demolition Derby, 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Aug. 7

For information, including prices and event schedules, go to

Monarchs and Music: The Monarch Fair will run from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Aug. 14 at Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive in Crystal Lake. Featuring free family fun, this Crystal Lake Park District event will include performances by the Crystal Lake Community Band and its affiliates, including from 1 to 1:45 p.m. for the full band, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. for Knock on Wood Clarinet Ensemble, from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. for Cor Corps Horn Ensemble and from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. for the jazz band.

McHenry Area Rotary Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival: Aug. 19 through 21 at Petersen Park, 4300 Peterson Park Road, McHenry.

This three-day fundraising event for the McHenry Area Rotary features live blues music, barbecue and other food vendors, and an array of craft beers, as well as other beverages. Hours are 4:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 3:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets, performance and other details are available at

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