There are so many fun events in our region! Here’s a collection of many events that are guaranteed to nurture the mind and spirit.
Fox Valley Orchestra Gala Fundraiser
July 1, 5 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres, live music, silent auction, cash raffle. Grand Gallery, Paramount Arts Centre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Tickets: foxvalleyorchestra.org.
July 6, 8:15-9:30 p.m. Learn how glow worms glow and lightning bugs light, then watch thousands of fireflies rise from the prairie. Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve, 13N240 Engel Road, Burlington. $1 per person. Also July 7, 8:15-9:30 p.m., Burnidge Forest Preserve, 14N273 Coombs Road, Elgin. Registration required: (847) 741-8350, kaneforest.com.
Comic Book Mania! Convention 2012
July 7, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Many special guest artists, including Eisner Award and Inkpot Award winner Dave Dorman. Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments (advance register req.), comics vendors. Free. Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove, Elgin, (847) 742-2411, gailborden.info.
Stargazing: Planets Orbiting Distant Stars
July 13, 8-9 p.m. Learn about exoplanets from a Northwestern University professor, followed by outdoor viewing, weather permitting. Ryerson Woods Conservation Area, 21950 N. Riverwoods Road, Deerfield, (847) 968-3321, lcfpd.org.
July 14, 6-9:30 p.m. Meet the resident colony of little brown bats; live bat demonstrations, learning stations, crafts. At dusk, ecologists catch bats in mist nets. $5 adult/$3 child. Lakewood Forest Preserve, 27277 N. Forest Preserve Road, Wauconda, (847) 968-3321, lcfpd.org.
Living History Open Houses
July 22, Aug. 12, noon-4 p.m. Visit this restored 1854 Greek Revival house, where volunteers in historical attire portray families who lived in the area during different eras. Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Footsteps: A Guided Tour of Century Walk Art
July 15, 1-2:30 p.m. A museum educator shares stories about the artists and inspiration behind 10 murals, mosaics, reliefs, mobiles and sculptures located within a half-mile walk of the museum. $12; $10 members. Naper Settlement Visitor Center, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.org.
Dissection Workshop: Sheep Brains
July 15, Aug. 10, 1-2:30 p.m. A sheep brain is structured similarly to a human brain. Ages 8 and up (under 12 yrs must have an adult present). $15 per brain. Observing adults are free. Midwest Museum of Natural History (MMNH), 425 W. State St., Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
July 21, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Work with staff to feed and handle the Museum’s live reptiles. Space limited; registration req. MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
July 19, noon. A Brown Bag Lunch presentation by this well-known Elgin historian. Free. Elgin Area Historical Society, 360 Park St., Elgin, (847) 742-4248, elginhistory.org.
Hands-On History: Basic Blacksmithing
July 21, 9 a.m.-noon. Learn the basics of blacksmithing and try your own hand at it. Paid registration due by July 15. Glacial Park, Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.
July 28, Aug. 27, 7-8:30 a.m. Meet at the museum for a short introduction, then head for the zoo to assist the zookeeper in feeding the bison, deer and elk at Lords Park Zoo. $2/adult, $1/child, members free. Registration req./limit 12. Elgin Public Museum, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin, (847) 741-6655, elginpublicmuseum.org.
Sustainability 101: Ecological Burials
July 31, 6:30-8 p.m. The Chicagoland Green Burial Society discusses current options, history, legality, logistics and resources for ecological burials. Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
National Night Out Against Crime
Aug. 7, 5:30-8 p.m. Joint effort of McHenry County Conservation District, Sheriff’s Office and the Wonder Lake Fire Department to promote crime prevention and safety programs. Free food and beverages, special demonstrations, information booths, police and fire equipment displays. Harrison Benwell, 7055 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake, mccdistrict.org/web/special-events.
Fossil Find at Vulcan Quarry
Aug. 11, Sept. 29, 9:30-11 a.m. Learn about fossils and mining and then head into the field to find our own fossils – keep whatever you find. Space limited. Event: Vulcan Materials Quarry, Sycamore. Register with MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
Bill Kurtis: Death by Food
Aug. 16, 11 a.m. The co-anchor of CBS 2 News in Chicago and award-winning journalist will speak about the obesity epidemic in America. As the founder of the Tallgrass Beef Company and an investor in the Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, he’ll also discuss his entrepreneurial adventure in the middle of a recession. Gail Borden Library, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.
Aug. 16, noon: A Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Elgin City Cemeteries. Elgin Area Historical Society, 360 Park St., Elgin, (847) 742-4248, elginhistory.org.
Aug. 17, 1-3 p.m. Work with staff to care for the Museum’s live reptiles. You’ll learn how to prepare diets, feed, and handle snakes, lizards, and more. Space limited; registration req. MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
Monarchs & Milkweed
Aug. 19, 1-2:30 p.m. A brief overview of Monarch butterflies, their life cycle, migration patterns, and programs that track their migrations, followed by a trail walk in search of Monarchs and their larvae. Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779.
Sept. 8, 10:30 am-noon. Janie Grillo from Monarch Watch brings in Monarchs in all stages of life: eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult for an indoor presentation, followed by an outdoor butterfly release, weather permitting. $4 plus museum admission. MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmnh.org.
Art of the Land
Sept. 21-22, 6-10 p.m. Art show/sale to benefit The Land Conservancy. Nature-inspired works by local artists, spoken word cafe, food, wine, music. Starline Gallery, 300 W. Front Street, Harvard, (815) 337-9502,
25th Annual Cemetery Walk
Sept. 23, 11-3:30pm. Visitors to scenic Bluff City Cemetery are guided to gravesites of “former” residents, portrayed by actors in period costumes, who share something of their lives and times. Presented by Elgin Area Historical Society. Bluff City Cemetery, 360 Park St., Elgin, (847) 742-4248, elginhistory.org.
“Open Hearts, Open Minds: Exploring Gang Involvement and Its Impact”
Sept. 30, 2-4 p.m. Judge Manuel Barbosa and a panel of experts will engage with the audience in a bilingual conversation on the causes of gang involvement and its impact on our community. Gail Borden Library, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.