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Celebrate Summer: Visit the Festivals & Fairs of NW Illinois

Summer Festivals to put on your “must-do” itineraries

Summer in Northwest Illinois is a time for celebration, community, and a whole lot of fun. Our four-county region—Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties—comes alive with vibrant festivals and county fairs that offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a local looking to enjoy the best of the season or a visitor seeking to experience authentic Midwest culture, our summer events are not to be missed.


Jack Hughes

2024 FESTIVALS


FIRST UP–our 2024 summer festivals in date order,
AND THEN–our 2024 county fairs, also in date order.

Polo Town & Country Days

Polo Town & Country Days

June 13-16 | Polo, IL | Ogle County
Kicking off the summer festivities is the beloved Polo Town & Country Days. In its 58th year, this event is a staple in Ogle County. It kicks off with fireworks and ends with its annual parade. In between are carnival rides, delicious food, and live music–all held in the middle of downtown Polo. It’s the perfect way to dive into the summer spirit with family and friends. LEARN MORE

Rock Falls Summer Splash

Rock Falls Summer Splash

June 21-22 | Rock Falls, IL | Whiteside County
Join us in Rock Falls for the Summer Splash, a two-day extravaganza filled with water-themed activities, local vendors, and entertainment, all set along the beautiful Rock River at RB&W District Park. This year’s Summer Splash begins with a unique Wild Game Cookout featuring the popular Alligator Brats. It’s an ideal family-friendly festival to enjoy the vibrant community atmosphere by the river.  LEARN MORE

Lanark Old Settlers Days

Lanark Old Settlers Day

June 28-30 | Lanark, IL | Carroll County
Step back in time at Lanark Old Settlers Day, where history meets fun. Enjoy a weekend of camaraderie, entertainment, and local charm in the heart of downtown Lanark. This event celebrates life in rural Northwest Illinois with craft vendors, a parade, bingo, pork chop dinner, kids’ games, a beer garden, and plenty of family-friendly activities. LEARN MORE

Dixon Petunia Festival

60th Petunia Festival

July 3-7 | Dixon, IL | Lee County
A true gem of Lee County, the Petunia Festival in Dixon celebrates its 60th year with a bang. Its concert series is unparalleled in the area. Two stages are set on the Dixon Riverfront Plaza, each featuring talented bands from 5 p.m. to late in the evening. Expect fireworks, concerts, a carnival, an outdoor art festival, and the famous Petunia Parade. It’s a festival that embodies our region’s charm and hospitality. LEARN MORE

ByronFest

ByronFest

July 12-14 | Byron, IL | Ogle County
ByronFest, one of the finest family festivals in Northern Illinois, is held annually during the second full weekend in July. Enjoy live bands each day, a carnival, a bag tournament, a 5K, a quilt show, a car show, and a parade. Situated in downtown Byron, this festival offers a lively atmosphere perfect for all ages. LEARN MORE

Tampico Days

Tampico Days

July 18-21 | Tampico, IL | Whiteside County
Experience the small-town charm of Tampico Days, Ronald Reagan’s birthplace. This four-day celebration promises a variety of activities and entertainment suitable for all ages in downtown Tampico. The Main Street Historic District festival includes a parade, family games, a classic car show, and live music, making it a delightful weekend outing for everyone. LEARN MORE

Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival

Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival

August 16-18 | Rochelle, IL | Ogle County
Celebrate the historic Lincoln Highway in downtown Rochelle with its annual heritage festival. Enjoy a car and motorcycle show, a craft fair, a beer garden, and live music. The festival guarantees music for all tastes, kicking off with Blue Steel and wrapping up with diverse performances throughout the weekend​. It’s a perfect way to honor our local history and have a great time. LEARN MORE

Rock Falls River Chase

Rock Falls River Chase

August 16-18 | Rock Falls, IL | Whiteside County
River Chase in Rock Falls is another summer highlight. It features stock outboard boat races with 9- to 70-year-old racers! They compete in different classes of boats, ranging in speeds from 35 to 80 mph and more. This thrilling event brings the community together by the water. LEARN MORE

Amboy Depot Days

Amboy Depot Days

August 22-25 | Amboy, IL | Lee County
Rounding out the summer is Amboy Depot Days. Known for its vast car show, the very famous 50/50 drawing (winners have walked away with over $100,000 a couple of times), and the traditional Depot Days Parade, this event is a festive farewell to summer, packed with fun. LEARN MORE


2024 COUNTY FAIRS


County Fairs embrace our Region’s Agricultural Heritage

County fairs are usually agricultural in nature. They showcase local farming, livestock, crafts, and community achievements and celebrate rural and community life. They are generally longer in duration than festivals. Our four county fairs will always draw local attendees, but they also give visitors to Northwest Illinois a chance to experience our past and present culture. 

How often will you get the thrill of a demolition derby, harness racing, monster truck race, or chicken poo bingo? More on that one later.

Lee County Fair & 4H Show

Lee County Fair & 4H Show

July 25-28 | Amboy, IL | Lee County
The Lee County Fair & 4H Show in Amboy celebrates Lee County’s agricultural heritage at the Lee County Fairgrounds in Amboy. Enjoy livestock shows, where every animal is judged–from rabbits to swine. It’s a great way to support future local farmers and enjoy some rural fun. The rodeo with large bucking bulls will provide heart-stopping thrills, including tractor pulls and carnival rides. Kids will love making mud pies at Kids’ Korner or taking pony rides on the midway. LEARN MORE

Ogle County Fair boy with sheep
Ogle County Fair

171st Ogle County Fair

July 31-August 4 | Oregon, IL | Ogle County
One of the oldest fairs in the state, the Ogle County Fair is a must-visit. Established in 1853, the very first county fair was held on the Ogle County Court House lawn. It is now held at the Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon.  With its classic fair attractions—livestock exhibitions, demolition derbies, and carnival rides—it offers timeless fun for all ages. Added highlights this year are the Big Hat Rodeo and Kids Power Wheel Derby.  LEARN MORE

Carroll County Fair burning truck
Carroll County Fair

72nd Carroll County Fair

August 6-10 | Milledgeville, IL | Carroll County
Take a road trip to the Carroll County Fair at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Milledgeville, where tradition meets entertainment. The grandstand hosts many exciting motor events, including the legendary demolition derby. This event is a summer staple, featuring thrilling rides, livestock competitions, a cake walk, power wheel and bike races, line dancing, and delicious fair food. LEARN MORE

Whiteside County Fair

153rd Whiteside County Fair

August 13-17 | Morrison, IL | Whiteside County
The Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, at the Whiteside County Fairgrounds, boasts a long history of community celebration. There’s no shortage of excitement with harness horse racing, a midway full of rides, and grandstand events. Don’t miss experiencing Chicken Poo Bingo–held every day. LEARN MORE

Mark your calendars and GPS maps!

Each of these events offers a vibrant and unforgettable experience, showcasing the heart and soul of Northwest Illinois. Whether you’re dancing to live music, enjoying a thrilling demolition derby, or savoring delicious local cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, mark your calendars, invite your friends and family, and dive into the joyous celebrations that define our summer.

Don’t miss the chance to create lasting memories at these spectacular festivals and county fairs. See you there!

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🌞🎶 Ready for a weekend of fun in NW Illinois? Check out these events:

June 20: 🦅 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀 & 🎸 𝗗𝗶𝘅𝗼𝗻'𝘀 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁
June 21: 🎷 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗲 in Dixon & 🌊 𝗥𝗼𝗰𝗸 𝗙𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀' 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗵 (continues on Saturday!  Grab your friends and family and join us for an unforgettable time! 🌟 

#VisitNWIllinois #enjoyillinois #middleofeverything @visitrockfalls @visitcarrollcountyil @visitleecountyil #WeekendPlans #SummerEvents @enjoyillinois
FB: Calling all #nature enthusiasts and #birding in #ThompsonIL, on a silent golf cart ride, spotting birds, plants, and flitting butterflies along the way!

The deets:
🦅Tours run from 8 AM to 10 AM, perfect for those morning birdies! ⏰ dates!)
Happening every 1st & 3rd Thursday + 3rd Saturday from Spring to late Summer (May - September)
🦅This is your chance to experience the refuge like never before—all for FREE! Don't miss out – register today! 
🦅Spots are limited (7 only!), so register ASAP! [Link in bio!] ➡️
🦅This is your chance to experience the refuge like never before – all for FREE! Don't miss out – register today!
🦅Happening every 1st & 3rd Thursday + 3rd Saturday from Spring to late Summer (May to September)

#birding #birdingtours #enjoyillinois #GolfCartBirding #WildlifeAdventure #FreeEvents  #GetOutside #VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything @enjoyillinois @visitcarrollcounty
This Father's Day, create special moments in NW Illinois. 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 your adventures with us using #𝗙𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗗𝗮𝘆𝗜𝗻𝗡𝗪𝗜𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗼𝗶𝘀!"
https://swiy.co/NEot

#VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois
Nothing beats freshly brewed coffee, locally made macaroons, or an iced drink on a hot Friday morning! ☕️✨ Check out @CoffeeCrushDixon for a cozy start to your day. 👉👉 𝗕𝗢𝗡𝗨𝗦: The annual nesting of Mama Duck on the property provided 16 ducklings this year! 

#LocalSpotlight #CoffeeLove #VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois #leecountyIL #discoverdixon #SupportLocal #CaféCulture #MorningBoost #NWILCoffee @discoverdixon @visitleecountyil @thenoblecakery
Here's a sneak peek of what's coming up this weekend in #NWillinois! Lots of art and music, plus a carnival to keep everyone happy. Go to our EVENTS CALENDAR at bio link for a complete listing of things to do.

#VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything @enjoyillinois #enjoyillinois @visitleecountyil @discoverdixon
Bring the kids to #FultonIL to see the amazing De Immigrant Windmill and explore Wierenga’s Heritage Canyon. History and heritage, NW Illinois has it all. 🌾🪨

 #VisitNWIllinois @VisitFulton @enjoyillinois #middleofeverything
It's #roadtrip adventure in 𝗪𝗵𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘆! 🚗 Whether it's an invigorating paddle on the 𝗛𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗽𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗹 🛶, finding antique treasures at 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀 & 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀🏺, hitting the 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗕𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 all around #FultonIL 🚴‍♂️, or avoiding singed eyebrows when ordering the Forest Inn Restaurant & Lounge's Saganaki 🔥. #OPA! 🎉

#visitNWillinois #enjoyillinois #middleofeverything @visitrockfalls  @sterlingmainstreet  @visitfulton @enjoyillinois #whitesidecountyIL #paddling #SterlingIL #RockfallsIL
Let's show some #MidweekLove 🥰 in NW Illinois!  This week, tap into the beauty of art at the "𝗪𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗘𝘅𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻" opening June 11, or groove to the timeless tunes of 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝗻𝘀, the ultimate CCR tribute band on June 12. Then, dive into the hometown charm of 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗼 𝗧𝗼𝘄𝗻 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀  June 12-16, and wrap up with soulful beats at the 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗖��𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀  in Dixon on June 13. Don't miss out on these midweek gems! READ ABOUT the events 
 at EVENTS link found at bio link. 

#VisitNWIllinois #MidweekEvents #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois @whitepines_resort  @tnps_dixon #DixonMunicipalBand  #PoloTownandCountryDays @enjoyillinois

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