By Megan Horst-Hatch
If you’re ready to put winter behind you and have some fun this spring, then visiting a festival is in order. Whether you want to spend time in a beer festival, a juried art show, dancing to tribute bands or watching international films, there is something for everyone in the Chicagoland area this spring. You also don’t need to stick to one area of Chicago to join in the fun, either, as events span across the area. To get started, consider checking out the following festivals.
Chicago Beer Festival
210 S. Canal St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Date: March 30
Are you a beer snob? Then mark the Chicago Beer Festival on your calendar. Admission to the one-day event, which celebrates the art of beer, includes unlimited tastings of a variety of imported and domestic beer, including brews from the Chicagoland area. This year’s lineup of beer includes Finch’s, Lake Bluff Brewing Company, Tommyknocker Brewery and Tighthead Brewing Company. The festival is conveniently located in Union Station, making it a great central location for festival-goers arriving from all over the Chicagoland area. Don’t worry about getting hungry; food is sold separately at the festival. You will want to book your tickets in advance, as tickets will not be sold at the door.
Chicago Latino Film Festival
International Latino Cultural Center
676 N. LaSalle Drive, Suite 520
Chicago, IL 60654
Dates: April 11-25
For film buffs looking for a way to broaden their horizons, consider checking out the Chicago Latino Film Festival. The 29th annual festival features more than 100 films in genres like documentaries, animation and fiction. The festival has an international flavor, with films from Latin America, Portugal, Spain and the U.S. represented. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can still come to the festival; films not originally in English will have English subtitles. Organized by the International Latino Cultural Center, the festival annually attracts approximately 40,000 viewers. Films will be shown at AMC Loews 600, and a discussion with each film’s cast and crew will follow the movies.
NSUC Art Fair 2013
North Shore Unitarian Church
2100 Half Day Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
Dates: April 27 and 28
Get a head start on art fairs this season with North Shore Unitarian Church’s (NSUC) annual art fair. The juried event features more than 65 artists and includes photography, jewelry, ceramics, paintings, glass, sculpture and mixed media. Children are welcome to attend the art fair, with NSUC offering an art workshop for children between the ages of four and 12. Entertainment is planned for the event, and the church’s in-house cafe will sell food during the event. You needn’t worry about April showers at the NSUC Art Fair, either, as it is held indoors in the church.
Long Grove Chocolate Fest
Old McHenry Road and Robert Parker Coffin Road
Long Grove, IL 60047
Dates: May 3, 4 and 5
Calling all chocolate connoisseurs! The annual Long Grove Chocolate Fest is a three-day celebration of all things chocolate, where you can sample chocolate-covered goodies and candy while visiting Long Grove’s historic downtown. Not a chocolate fan? No worries; the fest has food tents and musicians planned for the event as well. This is also a kid-friendly event, with carnival rides planned. The fest serves as a great time to check out the town’s numerous boutique stores, which offer everything from antiques to handmade items imported from all over the world.
Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
North Sheffield Ave. from Belmont Ave. to School St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Date: May 25 and 26
If you’re looking for a way say to goodbye to spring, look no further than the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. Held over Memorial Day weekend in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, the annual event features local musicians, with last year’s entertainment including Trippin’ Billies, Our Name is Jonas, School of Rock and Wedding Banned. Sponsored by Central Lakeview Merchants Association, the outdoor event is a must-see for music lovers and also features food, drinks and artwork by local artisans. You can leave your car at home, too, as the festival is near the Belmont stop on the El’s Red Line.
Related: Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.