This weekend my family and I enjoyed our fourth Prairiefest near downtown Oswego in the fields between Oswego High School. This popular summer festival is always a can’t-miss for me – it’s always a good time. Prairiefest is one of the largest regional summer festivals and combines many of the popular events that visitors love. The event is centered around a large stage where numerous music acts perform through the weekend. This is surrounded by a large food concourse that includes perhaps one of the greatest variety of different concessions of any festival we regularly attend. Perhaps our favorite is Wild Bill’s Soda where you can buy a tin cup for $9-$10 and get free refills all day of a variety of old west-themed sodas including Birch Beer, Sarsaparilla and traditional Root Beer. Food options range from your traditional hot doogs, corn dogs and fries up to Mexican or Italian restaurant fare. Prairiefest is managed and presented by the Oswegoland Park District and they do a great job presenting visitors a variety of food options with very few overlaps.
This year as in years past, Vogel’s Exotic Animals was in attendance at Prairiefest. This is an extremely popular feature with the kids and my daughter had a blast. The first thing you see when you get to the area are two monstrous tortoises crawling around the area. This is the warm up. Inside the main tent, you can watch Lemurs, Kangaroos, Porcupines and a number of other exotic animals. Outside the viewing tent, there are camel or pony rides for the kids and a seperate petting zoo with goats, chickens, ducks, piglets and other animals. My daughter literally went nuts for the petting zoo. I could barely keep up with her going from area to area to see each animal.
Aurora Memorial Day Parade
Yesterday I attended the Memorial Day Parade in Downtown Aurora with my family and the day could not have been nicer! This is my first year attending this event and I can honestly say I will be back next year. The parade started at noon and made a box down Benton, over on 25 then back on Downer Place. The judges booth was located on Downer right across from the GAR Memorial Hall. My family and I arrived downtown early – right around 11AM and parked west of Rt. 31 and walked down New York into the downtown area. We walked over to the new Waubonsie Community College Downtown Campus to check out the building and landscaping around the river. Everything looks superb – check back for my insider’s report on the open house on June 3rd.
We walked over to the Aurora Sci-tech Museum to look at the recently repaired Swimming Stones kinetic water sculpture by Chris Tobin right across the street. There were lots of children enjoying the spraying water in the 90-degree heat. I thought that the grassy area near there would be an ideal place to watch the parade, but the lack of shade was an issue so we moved on looking for a better spot. I wanted to walk over to the GAR Hall to take a look at it and we passed by the Fox River – it’s definately at flood stage – so much so that the walkway under at least the Galena Blvd bridge was completely under water. We arrived at the GAR Memorial Hall and realized that was where the judges stand was. We joined a group of people on the grass in front of the hall and listened to the pre-parade program that included vocal performances by the Waubonsie Valley High School Varsity Choir as well as speeches by several veterans.
Flavors of Greece Festival Illinois
This weekend my family and I attended one of our favorite spring festivals – The Flavors of Greece Festival at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles. This annual festival is hosted by St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church located in Aurora, IL. My family and I have been visiting for the past 5 years although the festival itself was created in 1979. A good friend of ours, Gretchen, has been attending this festival for decades and is also a favorite of hers. For the past couple years, this festival has moved to the new large exhibition building in the Kane County Fairgrounds and has expanded every year.
This year, the old standbys that we love including the greek market, food tent, dancing and Ouzo were there again. This year we were especially excited to see a HUGE addition to the festival – cooking demonstrations throughout the day on how to cook Greek food sponsored by KitchenAid. Now, truth be told, I like to re-live the Flavors of Greece Festival throughout the year at my home. That usually involves a huge plate of Souvlaki (marinated, grilled pork medallions) with homemade Tzatziki Sauce (cucumber, garlic and yogurt) so I’ve generally been making these items for years. But I did learn some great tips at this year’s demostration on cooking Souvlaki. We did miss a later demonstration on working with Phyllo but the chef doing the demonstration (who I regrettably didn’t catch the name of) was engaging and informative and the crowd listening was packed.
Flavors of Greece at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles is one of our favorite Illinois Greek festivals. Read about our annual trip to the St. Athanasios Greek Festival in St Charles.
Aurora, Illinois annually celbrates the Cinco de Mayo holiday with a festival near Downtown Aurora. Find out more about Cinco de Mayo in Aurora and other Fox Valley festivals.
Wine on the Fox Oswego is a fun spring wine festival that features many local Illinois wineries. If you’re looking for some spring entertainment in Oswego, raise your glass at Wine on the Fox.