Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
In 2004, four-year-old Jim Zellmer's life was changed forever when he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. So his family did something about it. His grandparents owned a farm in Iowa, and Jim himself came up with the idea—what if the Zellmers grew pumpkins and sold them to support their cause? They raised more than $6,000 for diabetes research in their first year, and their harvest festival has grown every year since, featuring everything from food tastings to live music, carriage rides, and a petting zoo.
Staff Size: 50+ people
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
The founders of the Festival of The Horse & Drum describe their event as the "United Nations of horses and humans," and not without good reason. The multicultural, multimedia equestrian gathering educates guests on the importance of horses throughout world history, and transports guests to a Native American pow wow, a cowboy town, and a renaissance faire. Bands representing several cultures perform on the Horse-a-Palooza stage, and the Equus Film Festival showcases long and short works starring stallions and mares, such as renowned horse actor Mare-lon Brando.
Chicago Food & Wine Festival is just one of a series of vibrant events curated by Distinctive Events, Inc., an organization determined to corral a bastion of delicious offerings for lovers of cuisine and adult beverage. Whether conducting a cooking competition or introducing celebrity chefs directly to a participant’s taste buds, the organizers aim to simultaneously thrill and educate. They also donate a portion of their proceeds to charities such as Susan G. Komen - Chicago and Autism Speaks, an organization that raises awareness and funds for research on Autism Spectrum disorder.
Music and yoga are perfect bedfellows: both can invigorate the body, and both can mollify the mind. So the Chicagoland yoga community has paired the two together for the Naperville Fusion Summer Music Festival, filling the air with a culture of positivity, creativity, and expression. All day, yoga workshops invite first-timers and experienced flexers alike to tap into the unity of body, mind, and spirit, while musical acts bring crowds together without slowly making the festival grounds smaller and smaller. Lila, for instance, tucks audiences under a blanket of tranquility with her kirtan music, whereas Under the Willow treats ears to traditional bluegrass tunes. A bounce house and family-fun train keep toddlers as peaceful as their parents, and Two Brothers Brothers Company provides liquid serenity in the form of beer and coffee for of-age patrons.
Downers Grove Choral Society’s accomplished singers present classic choral works and contemporary masterpieces during concerts in Chicago’s western suburbs. Helmed by new music director Dr. Amy Weller, the choir will explore Rossini’s 149-year old Petite Messe Solennelle, a whimsical mass more playful than a beagle puppy wearing a propeller beanie. An award-winning lineup of guest artists, including soprano Christine Steyer and alto Laura Sauer, will fill each performance with pitch-perfect notes and rich vocal textures. A pair of vintage reed organs also joins the Society's lineup, with an 1884 Mason and Hamlin accompanying the performance in LaGrange and a Story and Clark organ backing the performance in Naperville. The Sunday matinee unfolds in a 13,000-square-foot concert hall designed by the Talaske Group, which perfected the acoustics at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. Here, sound ricochets off of two massive chambers and motorized curtains designed to help tune concerts, filling up to 1,210 ears and 650 trick-or-treat baskets with crisp, delicious melodies.