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Who doesn’t love a good festival? Kankakee County, Illinois, is a popular destination for weekend trips in the Chicago area all year-round—especially when those trips coincide with fun, local events. These are events that celebrate the local culture, heritage and people that define Kankakee County, so start planning a trip to Kankakee County this year to celebrate the season.
Top Spring Events in Kankakee County
One of the best local festivals to kick off the spring season is the Rhubarb Festival, an event where visitors can taste test various renditions of delicious rhubarb pies entered into a best-of contenst. The annual festival is held on the grounds of the at Kankakee County Museum—which transforms into a spring oasis for the Rhubarb Festivals with gorgeous flowers and blossoming plants. The festival also includes a parade and a car show—but the unequivocal star of this event is the rhubarb pie.
Top Summer Events in Kankakee County
There are a lot of reasons summer in Kankakee County is a good time to visit!
During the summer, Kankakee County’s agricultural cup runneth over, and you can be the beneficiary of the explosion of good, local farmers selling their best products at local farmers’’s markets. The Kankakee Farmers’ Market, hailed as one of the top 10 best farmers’’s markets in the state, takes place every Saturday, while the Grant Park Farmers’ Market is held every Tuesday throughout July and August. Other weekly markets include Momence Farmers’ Market (Wednesdays). Plus, a trip to the farmers' market is fun and entertaining! Some of them also have fun cool features like musicians and food trucks.
Also during the summer in Momence is Driving the Dixie, a one-of-a-kind event where guests are issued “passports” before driving around to certain destinations on a scavenger hunt. Participants can increase their chances of winning the prize drawing after visiting each location, including the Sears Roebuck homes, Blue Island and more.
Summer means Bourbonnais will be hosting the lively Friendship Festival, too. Since 1976, this community event has been inviting friends, old and new, to their community to enjoy the sights and smells of the fest located in the heart of their community. Enjoy good music, good eats and good times at the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival.
Finally, plan a visit to downtown Kankakee for Merchant Street MusicFest. For two days, well-known musical acts headline the event, which in addition to music features an Artist Alley with crafts and other goods, and dozens of food vendors scattered throughout Festival Square. Merchant Street MusicFest is a kid-friendly event with a designated KidZone—face painting and bounce house included.
Kankakee County’s Gladiolus Festival is another favorite summertime event in downtown Momence. Annually since 1938, the town has held its own Princess and Queen Coronation before celebrating with a parade and carnival. Local vendors fill the downtown district, selling everything from crafts, to antiques, to lunches. And, if you’re into vintage automobiles, you’ll love the festival’s parade of old cars.
Top Fall Events in Kankakee County
Don’t let fall pass you by without celebrating Oktoberfest in Kankakee County. Downtown Manteno transforms into a three-block festival showcasing their traditional main street with carnival rides, food and craft vendors and some of the best bands in Chicagoland. And don’t miss the lighted parade, it’s a county favorite!
The a family-friendly festival lineup that includes live concerts, parades, games and delicious Bavarian food and brews. The events are so popular and well-planned that thousands of people attend from across the region annually.
Another seasonal celebration during the fall is A Night in Sleepy Hollow, an event that re-enacts Washington Irving’s story “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” For less fright and more fun, you can attend the St. Anne Pumpkin Festival, where you can pick your own pumpkin and watch a pumpkin-themed parade in downtown St. Anne.
And if you’re a foodie, don’t miss the Greek Festival of Kankakee during the fall. At this autumn celebration, you’ll get the chance to sample authentic meals such as gyros, spanakopitas, loukoumades (Greek doughnuts), yoghurts and more. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church hosts the event every year.
Top Winter Events in Kankakee County
Kick off the holiday season at the annual Gallery of Trees in downtown Kankakeeat the Kankakee County Museum, where dozens of trees are adorned with themed decorations as part of a contest that puts local businesses against one another. You can also get into the holiday spirit by watching a live lighted Christmas parade in downtown Bradley, always featuring cleverly made floats and Santa Claus cruising by on a red fire engine.
The holidays come alive at Grant Park’s Christmas in the Village, which is centered around a towering, gorgeous Christmas tree in the middle of the downtown. Or, head over to Manteno to the Lighting of Main Street to watch the entire downtown area shimmer with millions of LED lights.
This is just a snapshot of all the great annual festivals and events you can plan a trip to Kankakee County around. Check out our always-changing calendar on our website here.