Well, it hasn’t been clear from the weather, but Memorial Day weekend is here, marking the unofficial start of summer in the Midwest! There are so many family-friendly things to do over the summer (many of them cheap or free) and we’ll be telling you about them in the coming weeks, so please keep coming back here for updates.
Even better, sign up for the free Go West email newsletter to stay “in the loop” on free activities, special events and insight into making the most of your family time this summer. I promise you won’t regret it! If you haven’t registered your kids for any summer camps yet, you’ll want to take a look at this. I hope you and your family have a fun, relaxing holiday weekend!
Family Fun Night
Naperville: The DuPage Children’s Museum will be hosting its last Family Fun Friday Night until fall. These nights are designed to give busy families the opportunity to take advantage of its extended hours. The museum is open until 8 p.m. and visitors can enjoy a full museum experience with the whole family. The special activity will be “water art.”
Dates: Friday, May 26, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Event details here.
Cost: Regular admission rates apply.
Family Field Day
Warrenville: The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s fun-filled, family-oriented “Family Field Day at St. James Farm” will be held on Saturday at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville. See ongoing horse and riding demonstrations, dog obedience and field trials, sheepherding demonstrations, raptors and reptiles from Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, and cows from Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. Enjoy pony and hay-wagon rides, fishing, archery instruction, food vendors, live music, and a display of vintage tractors with ties to the preserve’s agricultural history.
Dates: Saturday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Event details here.
Cost: Admission and parking are free, but there are small fees for children’s activities and wagon rides.
Kane County Cougars
Geneva: The Kane County Cougars have a long home-stand at Northwestern Medicine Field to wrap up the month of May. They’re taking on the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, as well as Monday afternoon. All three of the evening games feature fireworks displays, as well other promotions.
Dates: Friday, May 26 through Monday, May 29. Game times vary. Event details here.
Cost: Ticket prices vary.
Fine Art Show
St. Charles: The St. Charles Fine Art Show is traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend. It features the work of approximately 100 juried artists in mediums including watercolor, oil, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, wood, mixed media, glass and more. In previous years, this event has featured special art activities for children as well as live entertainment. This year, the advance information about the show is pretty minimal. I’ll update this listing (and the calendar event) if I do find more info on the activities being offered for kids.
Date: Saturday, May 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Event details here.
Cost: Free admission for the festival.
Wheaton: The outdoor afternoon concerts at Cantigny Park get underway this weekend, with the Steve Cooper Orchestra playing big band music on Monday. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets; picnics are welcome and concessions are available.
Date: Monday, May 29, at 3 p.m. Event details here.
Cost: Included with paid parking, which is $10 a car on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Parades and Ceremonies
St. Charles’ Memorial Day activities will start at 6 a.m. Monday with the raising of the colors at Baker Community Center, followed by ceremonies at several area cemeteries. The city’s parade will proceed along Main Street, stepping off at 10 a.m. on 6th Street and continuing to Riverside Avenue. There will be a ceremony at the Freedom Shrine (north of the Police Department) immediately after the parade, at about 10:45 a.m. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be inside the Fire Station. Find more info here.
Elburn’s Memorial Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. Monday at Lions Park and end at Blackberry Township Cemetery. There is a brief service at the cemetery and then folks traditionally return to Lions Park for food and social events.
Naperville’s annual Memorial Day parade, hosted by American Legion Post #43 and VFW Post 3873, will kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Here is a link to info about the parade route, which ends at Central Park.
Geneva’s Memorial Day Parade is hosted by American Legion Post 630. It will step off at 10 a.m. Monday at Crescent Place near the downtown Metra Station, proceed north on Third Street and end at the West Side Cemetery at Stevens and Third where a ceremony will be held.
Aurora’s Memorial Day Parade steps off at noon Monday at River and Benton streets, heads east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and concludes at River Street. This year’s theme is “In Memory of Many … In Honor of All.” Find more detailed info, including the best spot for parade watching and info on parking, here and here.
Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago will be hosting “Memorial Day Remembered” on Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The program is hooted in the history and traditions of the late 1800s when the holiday was known as “Decoration Day.” This is a free event. Find more info here.
Elgin has a Patriotic Memorial Association that has been planning the city’s Memorial Day activities for more than 100 years. This year, the events will start at 8:45 a.m. with a Catholic Mass at Mount Hope Cemetery and end at 11 a.m. at Bluff City Cemetery with a program paying tribute to 125th anniversary of the Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association. There is also a 9:45 a.m. Memorial Day program at the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park, which will pay tribute to veterans interred at sea. Find more info, including a detailed schedule, here.
The annual Memorial Day parade in Elmhurst kicks off at 9:30 a.m. at York and Third Street, heads south on York to Second Street, veers east along Robert Palmer Drive through the underpass and west back to York Street, south on York Street to Church Street, west on Church Street to Prospect Avenue and north on Prospect Avenue past the Veterans Memorial. It ends at Wilder Park. Find more info here.