The Dole in Crystal Lake: A Legacy of Community Engagement

A picturesque setting and colorful artist studios create a backdrop for a summer of fun, including a farmers market, outdoor music and one of the area’s longest-lived festivals.

(The Dole photo)

The Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake is a gift to the entire community, and one only needs to look at its engaging events and programs to see its impact.

Music Under the Trees, Lakeside Festival and the Farmers Market+ are just the beginning. The Dole continually ups its own high standards by consistently offering something unique and new for the community to enjoy.

The Mansion was built in 1865 for Charles Sidney Dole, an influential grain trader in Chicago. In the 1920s, the mansion’s annex was built to house the city’s first country club. A century later, managed by the nonprofit Lakeside Legacy Foundation, this historic property is being preserved, protected and treasured.

The property’s 12 beautiful acres are enhanced by majestic oak trees and views of the sparkling Crystal Lake. This sets a scenic backdrop for the popular Farmers Market+ on the front lawn of the Mansion. It pops up outdoors every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. between May and October. With a variety of food vendors, musicians, entertainers and family-friendly activities, it’s no surprise this market has been voted the No. 1 farmers market in Illinois for two years in a row. Farmers offer the freshest of produce. Bakers bring their fresh-baked goods. Plus, there’s much more including local artisans, chefs and gourmet food producers. As an additional attraction, there’s free admission and plenty of parking.

The Lakeside Festival returns this year from June 29 through July 2, and it’s one of the largest and longest-running summer festivals in McHenry County. Four fun-filled days for the entire family are packed with live music; delicious food, beer, and wine; carnival rides; kids’ games; adult baggo tournaments and other memorable activities for the family.

The arts also are an important part of The Dole’s mission. In addition to the artist studios on-site, The Dole hosts 4th Fridays Art Event featuring a different juried art and photography exhibit each month. Stop by to see the work of three curated art exhibits, all contributed by local artists. Enjoy an upbeat experience and music in the background while viewing these impressive works.

Perhaps you’ll be inspired to take part in the creative arts yourself. Look no further than The Dole to help you cultivate your own imaginative side. Art classes, art camps and paint parties are available at Creative Arts Inc., an art studio located in the “art cottage” on the grounds of The Dole.

If all of these amenities aren’t enough, there’s always time to take a break, kick back and visit Lou’s Lounge at The Dole, an intimate concert venue inside the mansion’s annex. This one-of-a-kind lounge entertainment venue provides refreshments and pleasing sights and sounds for guests with endless possibilities for musicians, actors, directors, authors and ensemble groups.

If you’re looking for fun, pay a visit to The Dole this summer. It’s simply a delight.