Want to escape the heat of the city and see what is going on in other parts of central Illinois? Some small towns put on big summer events and they are worth the extra miles to get to them. If you decide to venture beyond Springfield proper, check out these fairs, festivals and celebrations.
Assumption Fest (Jun 27-29, Thu-Sat) has been a summer staple for a lot of years. Food will be available as will a beer tent, parade, bags tournament, and kid and adult tractor pulls. The Majestik Spectacular stunt show will return this year and Tennessee Borderline will provide live music on Saturday evening. Free admission. Chestnut St., Assumption. 217-820-1690.
American Legion Post 759 has been hosting their annual Chatham American Legion Homecoming (Jun 27-29, Thu- Sat) for 72 years. It’s been billed as an old-fashioned street festival with good food, cold beverages, great bands, carnival rides and fun for the whole family. Free admission. Chatham Town Square, 101 W. Mulberry, Chatham. 217-483-4804. chathamlegion.com. The Chatham Jaycees Sweet Corn Festival (Jul 19-20, 4pm Fri, 8am Sat) rides into summer on the heels of the homecoming and keeps the festivities going with food, drink and music but also adds in the Illinois Championship Cow Chip Throw for good measure. Free admission. Chatham Community Park, 731 S. Main St., Chatham.
Family Night at the Carnival marks the opening of Decatur’s annual street festival, the Decatur Celebration. (Aug 1-4, Thu-Sun). The celebration’s highlights include the Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade, a carnival, a wine and craft beer garden and a kids’ block chock-full of games, activities and fun contests. Downtown Decatur. 217-423-4222. decaturcelebration.com. Downtown Decatur’s 2019 Decatur Craft Beer Festival (Aug 23-24, Fri-Sat) will feature unique craft beers and ciders from breweries across the state. Enjoy live music and get your fill at the food trucks. VIP admission Fri $100, general admission Sat $30, designated driver option is $10. 125 N. Water St., Decatur. 217-875-1910.
Along Highway 29, a few miles north of Athens, you will find the living history farm, Marbold Farmstead. In addition to the history of the farmstead, the Antique Show and Farm Fest (Jun 22-23, Sat, Sun) will feature vintage tractors, historic craft demonstrations, entertainment, food, a Civil War group and a flea market. $5. Historic Marbold Farmstead, 21722 State Hwy 29, Greenview. 217-968-5808. historic-marbold-farmstead.org.
Head west to Jacksonville for the Morgan County Fair (Jul 9-14, Tue-Sun). Take in the carnival, food, talent show, pageant, livestock shows and tractor pulls. Country music acts will rouse the grandstand with LANCO and guest Devin Dawson performing on Friday night, followed by Chase Rice and Jordan Davis on Saturday. $4 adults, $2 kids 8-12, free for kids under 8, half-price admission for all and free to seniors on Sunday. Morgan County Fairgrounds, 110 N. Westgate, Jacksonville. 217-245-6800. themorgancountyfair.com.
It is not too late to catch up with the Sangamon County Fair (Jun 11-16, Tue-Sun) over at New Berlin. The grandstand lineup is top-notch with Lick Creek, Drew Baldridge and Easton Corbin taking the stage on Friday night and The Outlaws and Renegades Tour on Saturday. Of course, the grandstand will also host two requisites of any self-respecting county fair – a demolition derby and a truck and tractor pull. Fairgrounds admission $10. Sangamon County Fairgrounds, 316 W. Birch St., New Berlin. 488-2685. sangcofair.com.
In the neighborhood of the New Salem village, athletes can challenge themselves in the Stovepipe Sprint, Railsplitter Olympic and Illinois Half Distance Triathlons (Jun 15, Sat). All three races involve a private lake swim, a scenic yet challenging bike ride and a rural run on shaded roads in the campground and through the 1800s pioneer village Abe called home. Lake Petersburg Peach Street Boat Ramp, Petersburg. 217-341-1309. triharderpromotions.com.
The Clayville Historic Site will play host to Cars, Crafts and Kids (Jun 22, Sat). The show-worthy cars will cruise in from New Salem State Park starting at 10:30am. Pottery, paintings, jewelry and photography will star at the art fair, plus pioneer games and other activities will be on offer for kids. D.J. Jumpstart and Professor Long Hair will provide entertainment. $3 adults, $1 ages 6-12 and free to ages 5 and under. Clayville, Route 125, Pleasant Plains. 217-572-4984. clayville.org.
Thanks to one James McCoy who built his cabin in 1819 in the area of present-day Rochester, the village can hold its Sesquicentennial Celebration this year. While the village hosted several events during the year to mark the 150th anniversary, the Sesquicentennial Weekend Celebration (Sep 13-15, Fri-Sun) will be the grand finale of those events. Civil War re-enactors will set up camp in the historic village. Local officials will preside over the opening ceremony. Watch historic craft demonstrations and check out the carnival. Rochester Community Park, 90 Wild Rose Lane, Rochester. 217-498-7891.
After a few setbacks earlier this year, Sherman’s inaugural Kite Flying Festival (Sep 22, Sun) will be able catch the tail end of summer. Expect to see a giant kite display by chicagokite.com and a lot of kids’ activities including kite building and face painting. A DJ will provide the music and announcements, and food, drinks, snow cones and novelty ice cream will be available. Sherman Village Park, 1200 Rail Fence Dr., Sherman. 217-496-2621. shermanil.org.
Hot rodders might want to check out the Virden Car Show/Fred Britenstine Memorial Car Show (Jun 15, Sat). The 2019 show is a qualifier for the Blue Carpet Corridor Grand Champion and traveling Mother Road Route 66 Royalty Trophy. Vendors will be selling their goods and food will be handily available. Virden square, 39 N. Dye, Virden.