Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Elmhurst Craft Beer Fest
Sept. 15, 1-5 p.m. Sample more than 100 brews and ciders along with live music and delicious food. Elmhurst Heritage Foundation, Elmhurst History Museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst, elmhurstcraftbeerfest.com.
Sept. 16, 10 a.m. Build a kite or bring your own; watch professional kite flyers fill the sky with enormous kites. Lippold Park Lacrosse Field, 851 W. Ill. Rt. 176, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Long Grove Apple Festival
Sept. 21-23, Fri. noon-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. to 6 p.m. Pie eating contests, live music, Kid Zone, ballroom dancing, tug-of-war, and hundreds of products from apple popcorn to apple lattes. Downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, (847) 634-0888, longgrove.org.
Huntley Fall Fest
Sept. 21-23, see website for times. Featuring entertainment, a beer garden, food vendors, carnival midway, fall activities and a fireworks display. 12015 Mill St., Huntley, (847) 669-3180, huntleyfallfest.com
Fall Kayak Trip
Sept. 22, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Paddle eight miles from Pioneer Road Landing to Nippersink Canoe Base, and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery along the way. Reg. online. Pioneer Landing, 7049 Pioneer Road, Richmond, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
Nature Night Out: Adult Archery
Sept. 22, 5 p.m. Have fun and relieve stress at this one-day archery class for all levels. 18 and up. Reg. online. The Nature Center, 330 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Sept. 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Autumn activities include corn cannons, wagon rides, old-fashioned games and crafts, pony rides and pumpkin painting as well as historic demonstrations of blacksmithing, butter making and corn shelling. Primrose Farm, 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles, (630) 513-6200, stcparks.org.
A Walk through Sleepy Hollow
Sept. 28, 7:30-10 p.m. Ichabod Crane’s story comes alive as you walk from scene to scene with a guide, while a cast of characters tells you the legendary tale. Will the Headless Horseman visit? Age 14 & up. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora, (630) 892-1550, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
Run Wild 5K
Sept. 29, 7 a.m. registration, 8:30 a.m. race starts. This 5K Race for Open Space goes through woodland, prairie and riverfront habitats, offering fall colors and views of wildflowers, grasses and towering oak and hickory trees. Reg. online. Hickory Grove Highlands, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary, mccdistrict.org.
Johnny Appleseed Festival
Sept. 29, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy pony rides, petting zoo, pumpkin train, pumpkin bowling, clowns, face painting, wagon rides, scarecrow and apple pie contests, craft fair, Johnny Appleseed actor and live music. Downtown Crystal Lake, (815) 479-0835, downtowncl.org.
Family Wagon Ride
Oct. 2, 6 p.m. Bundle up and join friends and family for a ride. Reg. online. Sterne’s Woods, 5617 Hillside Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Autumn on the Fox Art & Craft Show
Oct. 5-7, Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. More than 150 artists and crafters display handmade items in a beautiful park along the river. Pottawatomie Park, 8 North Ave., St. Charles, (630) 387-1151, artoftheheartland.com.
St. Charles Scarecrow Fest
Oct. 5-7, events daily. More than 100 handcrafted scarecrows on display. Huge juried craft show, carnival, food, live entertainment, many free children’s activities, more. Downtown St. Charles, (630) 377-6161, visitstcharles.com.
Oct. 5-20, Fri.-Sat. 5:30, 6:30 & 7:30 p.m. Cruise around the fields by the light of the moon, then gather around a bonfire for a marshmallow roast, hot chocolate and hot cider. Reg. rec. Primrose Farm, 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles, (630) 513-6200, stcparks.org.
Prairie State Half Marathon, 10K & 3-mile
Oct. 6, 7 a.m. registration, 8:30 a.m. race starts. The course takes runners past the famous covered bridge and through the historic downtown streets and neighborhoods of Long Grove. Proceeds go to WINGS’ programs combatting domestic violence. 343 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, (224) 757-5425, longgrove.org.
Kane County Flea Market
Oct. 6-7, Nov. 3-4, Dec. 1-2, Sat. noon-5 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Hundreds of dealers comprise one of the longest-running antique markets around. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, (630) 377-2252, kanecountyfleamarket.com.
Oct. 6-7, Fri. 4:30-11 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Authentic German food, music and beer; lederhosen and stein-hoisting contests and a German spelling bee. North River Street, downtown Batavia, downtownbatavia.com.
Lake Geneva Oktoberfest
Oct. 7-8, Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. to 5 p.m. Tasty brats, potato pancakes, cider doughnuts, pretzels and beer, music, pony rides and a giant pumpkin weigh-in. Main and Broad streets, Lake Geneva, visitlakegeneva.com.
Dearly Departed: A Royal Affair
Oct. 12, 6 p.m. Step back in time to experience a true tale of adventure and mystery about a debonair and successful local businessman who met an untimely death. Featuring a cast of players, dramatic sets and elegant costumes. Tickets online at cl-hs.org. Crystal Lake Historical Society, Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
DIY Scarecrow Day
Oct. 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Bring old clothing, shoes, hats, gloves and accessories to dress your scarecrow. Basic structure, bales of straw and building guidance provided. Proceeds benefit the Long Grove Lions Club. Towner Green, 130 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, (847) 634-0888, longgrove.org.
Oct. 13, 5:30-7 p.m. Can you find Bigfoot? Spend an evening searching for this mysterious creature; navigate a prairie maze, warm up by a campfire, play games and enjoy storytelling. Reg. online. Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, (630) 513-4399, stcparks.org.
10th Annual Run & Roll for the Dole Duathlon
Oct. 14, 8 a.m. start. Participate in a 2-mile run, 13-mile bike ride and another 2-mile run through Crystal Lake and Lakewood. Proceeds benefit the Lakeside Legacy Foundation. Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 455-8000, lakesideartspark.org.
Oct. 19-21, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fresh fall produce to purchase or pick, tractor rides, plant sales, pottery, folk art, antiques dealers, barn sales, pumpkin and apple launchers, and much more, as you make your way down country roads filled with goodies on this self-guided tour. Starting point at 16105 Garden Valley Road, Woodstock, autumndrive.net.
Nightmare on Chicago Street
Oct. 20, 6-11 p.m. Party in the “safe zone” during a zombie invasion. Live entertainment, costumes, food and other vendors, live graffiti artists, hookah lounge and special guests. Downtown Elgin, between Douglas Avenue and Villa Court, nightmareonchicagostreet.com.
All Hallow’s Eve
Oct. 20, 4-8 p.m. Storytellers, games an dcostume parade with the lights on from 4-6 p.m. Radio players entertainment and spooky campfire stories with the lights off from 6-8 p.m. Arlington Heights Historical Museum, 110 W. Freemont St., Arlington Heights, (847) 255-1225, ahmuseum.org.
Fox Valley Antiques Show & Sale
Oct. 20-21, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. Some 55 dealers from 15 states display antiques. Proceeds benefit local historical preservation and educational endeavors. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, (815) 575-1272, CSADA.com.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 24-28, events daily. Thousands of pumpkins decorate the courthouse lawn; food vendors offer pumpkin pie, caramel apples and other fall favorites; activities include arts and crafts shows, carnival rides, a 10K Pumpkin Run road race and a parade on Sun. at 1 p.m. Downtown Sycamore, discoversycamore.com.
McCormick House Murder Mystery
Oct. 26-27, 6-9:30 p.m. Spice up the Halloween season with cocktails and dinner, then solve a mystery centering on the murder of an infamous pirate captain in the 1740s. Reg. at (630) 260-8162. Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, (630) 668-5161, cantigny.org.
Truck or Treat
Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-noon. Don your Halloween costume and bring a bag for treats; activities continue at the Crystal Lake plaza noon-3 p.m. Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Chicago Toy Show
Oct. 28, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. This international show draws exhibitors from Europe, Japan, Canada and all over the U.S. Antiques, collectibles, toys and dolls from the late 1880s to current day. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (847) 772-6760, chicagotoyshow.com.
LEGO Train Exhibit
Nov. 3-4, Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. See one-of-a-kind creations. Northern Illinois LEGO Train Club. Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, (847) 742-2411, gailborden.info.
Harvest Gathering of 1858
Nov. 4, noon-4 p.m. Step back in time to try your hand at corn shelling, grinding corn into flour or making a corn husk doll. See bread baking in a wood-burning stove and visit with a Cavalry sergeant and his horse as they demonstrate the weapons used to protect the frontier lands. Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park, Ill. Rt. 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Elmhurst Tree Lighting
Nov. 16, 6-8 p.m. Santa joins families for hot chocolate, cookies and carols. The gazebo at Wild Meadows Trace Park, 511 S. York St., Elmhurst, (630) 993-8900, epd.org.
Illumination at Morton Arboretum
Nov. 16-Jan. 1. Take a walking tour winding through 50 acres of the arboretum, offering an interactive experience as vividly colored trees respond to your touch and voice; warming tents and fire pits available along the route. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Ill. Rt. 53, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.
Nov. 23-24, see website for times. Enjoy seasonal music, sleigh rides, holiday movies and lighted parade floats. Main St. between 6th St. and 4th Ave., St. Charles, (630) 443-3967, visitstcharles.com.
Lighting of the Square
Nov. 24, 5-9 p.m. With the flip of a switch, tens of thousands of twinkling lights are illuminated on trees and buildings in a Victorian-era setting. Enjoy carolers, children’s activities and a stroll through the Gingerbread House Walk at the Old Courthouse. Woodstock Square, Woodstock, (815) 338-4300, woodstockil.gov.
Nov. 24-Dec. 17, Sat.-Sun. noon-5 p.m. Strolling costumed carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, a picturesque covered bridge, cobblestone walkways lined in luminaria, 80 decorated trees and the Christmas Tree Parade help create a winter wonderland. Downtown Long Grove, (847) 634-0888, longgrove.org.