The Scene

Rockin’ Ribfest, Fiesta Days among McHenry County festivals still to come this summer

"They call me the grillmaster. My favorite part is cooking ribs and satisfying customers." Says Dee Price, of Cleveland, Ohio, as he works the grill with ribs from Cowboys BBQ & Rib Company of Fort Worth, Texas during the final day of the Lake in the Hills Rotary Rockin' Ribfest on Sunday, July 10, 2022 at Sunset Park in Lake in the Hills. The annual festival featuring award winning BBQ and Rib vendors, carnival and live music, ran from July 7-10.

There’s no shortage of festivals to enjoy this summer in McHenry County. From art and music celebrations to food and family fun, there’s something for everyone to experience.

Here’s a quick look at some of the festivals happening in McHenry County in July and August.

Lake in the Hills Rockin’ Ribfest

Feast on barbecue ribs from vendors from Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Kentucky. Or, if you prefer, enjoy sampling from the many additional food vendors like Barones, Happy Dawg, Happy’s Badass Bavarian, Smash’d Burgers and more. Musical entertainment includes performances from Jefferson Starship, Radio Gaga, Anthem, the Disco Circus and more.

The festival runs July 11-14 at Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road, and is a fundraiser for the Lake in the Hills Rotary Club. The carnival runs from 5-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 1-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday.

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. More info:

McHenry Fiesta Days

This popular 11-day summertime event, which runs July 11-21, kicks off with the Cask & Barrel Night, featuring whiskey and craft beer tastings.

A performer from Academia de Danza Aztlan dances during the McHenry Fiesta Days Parade along Main Street on Sunday.

Bands performing during the Music Fest Weekend from July 12-14 include Beyond the Blonde, Hairball, Boy Band Review and Hello Weekend. The Art and Street Fair is July 20, and includes Art and Crafts in the Park, craft stations and more. Other festival events include a variety of food vendors, car show, beach bash, fireworks, carnival and other activities. The festival wraps up with the parade July 21. Festival events are at Petersen Park and Veterans Memorial Park in McHenry. More info:

Marengo’s Day in the Park

Enjoy an afternoon and evening at Indian Oaks Park with a car show, beer tent, petting zoo, craft fair and more from 2-11 p.m. July 13. Musical artists Jack Belz, Travis County Band, Creepy Uncle Jack and Lucas Matthew Band will perform throughout the day. Other activities include a dunk tank, bucking bull, trackless train rides, fireworks and more. Participating food trucks include Stix and Noodles, Rolling Smoke BBQ, Your Sister’s Tomato, Sandie Dogs and more.

Indian Oaks Park is located at 825 Indian Oaks Trail in Marengo. More info:

Algonquin Founders’ Days Festival

This year’s theme is Founders’ Days Goes to the Movies, with people encouraged to come dressed as their favorite movie character for a chance to win a prize. New this year is a Founders’ Brewfest, happening Thursday, July 25, at Main Street and Riverfront Park in downtown Algonquin. A few of the participating breweries include Half Day Brewing Company, Scorched Earth Brewing Company, Sew Hop’d Brewery and more.

Additional festival activities July 26-28, which include live music, cardboard boat regatta, car show, bazaar and food vendors, will be at Spella Park, 2610 Harnish Drive. Bands include 7th Heaven, Rok Brigade, Arra, Hairbanger’s Ball, Pino Farina Band and Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama. More info:

McHenry County Fair

Classical rock band .38 Special headlines the musical entertainment Aug. 3 at the McHenry County Fair, running July 30-Aug. 4 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock.

Ty Davison rides a bull at the Tuff Hedeman Tour during the 75th Anniversary of the McHenry County Fair in Woodstock on Friday, August 4, 2023.

Returning favorites include the Miss McHenry County pageant July 30, monster truck rally Aug. 1, bull riding Aug. 2 and demolition derby Aug. 4. Other activities include carnival rides, draft horse pulls, animal exhibitions, crafts, food vendors and more. More info:

McHenry Area Rotary Bands, Brews and BBQ Festival

It’s three days of live music, delicious barbecue and cold brews along the scenic shore of Lake McCullom! The McHenry Area Rotary’s Bands, Brews and BBQ Festival is Aug. 16-18 at Petersen Park, 4300 Peterson Park Road, McHenry.

Food vendors include Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ, Big E BBQ, Little Rock Stock Cafe, Riverside Chocolate Factory, Dr. Veggie, Suzie’s Fun Foods, Perk N’ Pickle and Genoa Italian Concessions. Wash it all down with a wide variety of brews from Crystal Lake Brewing, Sew Hop’d, Revolution and many others. Performers include Jimmy Nick, Recaptured: A Tribute to Journey, 8 Miles South, Tennessee Whiskey, Wild Country and more. More info:

Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Fest

Wrap up the summer with one last celebration on Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 with the Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Fest at Sunset Park.

The kids will be entertained all day at the carnival, while adults can hang out in the beer tent or wine tasting Saturday and Sunday with Village Vintner and Whiskey and Wine. A $15 ticket includes seven premium wine tastings and a souvenir glass. Food vendors include Da Pizza Company, Sweets in Heaven, Genoa Italian Concessions and others.

Additional festival activities include a classic and custom car show, pickleball tournament, Sunset Market, parade and more. New this year is a community picnic from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 31 for family games and entertainment.

Sunset Park is located at 5200 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills. More info:

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