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top 20 USA events

Top 20 Events and Festivals in West and South Illinois

Find out about the Top Events USA selection of the top events in the West and South Illinois USA.

For events in Chicago, Illinois, visit

Two of the main events in the West and South of Illinois USA are the Illinois State Fair and the Jerseyville Victorian Festival

See below for a complete list of the main events beyond Chicago in the West and South of Illinois.

Bald Eagle Days
early January
Rock Island, Illinois

The largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the USA’s national symbol of freedom, Bald Eagle Days attracts thousands of visitors each year to enjoy live eagle programs and live bird of prey demonstrations, a wildlife art show and a sale of the work of some of the Midwest’s finest artists, as well as the appearance of the famous and much respected Pella Wildlife Company accompanied by their wolves.

For more information about Bald Eagle Days, visit the Expo Center at:

Interstate St Patrick’s Day Grand Parade
mid March
Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa

The only interstate St Patrick’s Day Parade in the USA, this Grand Parade follows a unique route from Rock Island, Illinois across the Mississippi River and through Davenport, Iowa. Also known as the Quad Cities Grand Parade, this event covers both Rock Island and Moline/East Moline in Illinois as well as Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and surrounding communities. Crowds line the streets all along the route to watch the talented marching and bagpipe bands, Irish dancers, floats, groups, and family clans.

For more information about the Interstate St Patrick’s Day Grand Parade visit:

Galena Wine Lovers' Weekend
late March
Galena, Illinois

Visitors travel from all over the USA to meet winemakers and savor international cuisine at this four-day event in Galena. Daytime events throughout the town include wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, educational events and pottery demonstrations. Evening events include wine-maker dinners and celebrity chef dinners. Sunday enjoys champagne brunches. Special dining and accommodations packages are offered at several area hotels, B&B’s and restaurants.

For more information about the Galena Wine Lovers' Weekend visit:

Long Grove Chocolate Festival
early May
Long Grove, Illinois

Celebrating the beginning of the outdoor special events season in Long Grove, the annual Long Grove Chocolate Fest takes place in the business district, home to 80 shops and restaurants, including the well-known Long Grove Confectioner. One of Illinois’ sweetest events for chocolate lovers, guests enjoy watching demonstrations, participating in contests, listening to live entertainment and tasting the delectable chocolate confections.

For more information about the Long Grove Chocolate Festival visit:

Superman Celebration
early June
Metropolis, Illinois

An event for 30 years, the annual Superman Celebration includes, a comic art gallery, fan films, celebrity appearances, fun run/road race, Superman Drama, $1000 costume contest, super bike trek, super car show, entertainment, other contests and carnival.

For more information about the Superman Celebration visit:

Great Galena Balloon Race
mid June
Galena, Illinois

A popular and fun event for over a decade, the Great Galena Balloon Race is a spectacular 3-day event featuring over 20 hot air balloons, balloon rides, two races, two night glows, tethered rides, a car show, live music, activities for the whole family, fun for children such as face painting, inflatable bounce houses and obstacle course, balloons, and a Night Glow Extravaganza as everyone watches the balloons light up the night sky.

For more information about the Great Galena Balloon Race visit:

Eyes to the Skies Festival & Carnival
early July
Lisle, Illinois

A popular event for over 30 years, the Eyes to the Skies Festival & Carnival attracts more than 150,000 enthusiasts drawn to the incredible displays of hot air balloons, the most highly regarded of which are the ones before and after the firework shows when the glowing balloons lift up to over a hundred feet above ground. A favorite part of the the event is the Carnival featuring an abundance of carnival rides.

For more information about the Eyes to the Skies Festival & Carnival visit:

Illinois State Fair
early - mid August
Springfield, Illinois

top state fairs in the USAOnde of the Top 20 events and Festivals in West and South IllinoisStarted in 1853, the Illinois State Fair today attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year, making it the 13th largest state fair in the USA. Hosted by the State of Illinois, the 10-day festival focuses on the traditional theme of agriculture. From numerous agricultural exhibits and classic festival food stands to butter cows and nationally recognized pop stars, it’s hard to name something fairgoers won’t see. 

For more information about the Illinois State Fair visit:

Galesburg Heritage Days: A Living History Festival
mid August
Galesburg, Illinois

Galesburg Heritage Days is one of the largest living history festivals in the Midwest. Featuring more than 700 fellow re-enactors, this annual living history festival showcases two very different encampment displays within walking distance of each other – a pre-1840 colonial/frontier rendezvous and a fully fielded civil war camp. Also showcased are skills of days gone by, like basket weaving, candle-making, flint & steel fire-starting, blacksmithing, and spinning.

For more information about Galesburg Heritage Days visit:

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival
late August
Urbana, Illinois

The main attraction of the annual Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is the celebration of Illinois sweetcorn. It attracts more than 50,000 visitors each year to the heart of downtown Urbana. This popular event – also the official welcome for incoming and returning University of Illinois students – also offers a competition in which partakers are challenged to eat as much Illinois sweetcorn as possible, as well as live music on multiple stages featuring national headliners, food, vendors, beer, and an expanded family area.

For more information about the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival visit:

Cedarhurst Craft Fair
early September
Mount Vernon, Illinois

The Cedarhurst Craft Fair, a popular event for more than 35 years, features more than 140 craftsmen and their creations in glass, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, wood, basketry and leather, and two-dimensional art. A special section for children features opportunities to make and take home crafts of their own. Apart from arts and crafts displays and shopping opportunities, the Cedarhurst Craft Fair also features a beer tent and garden, live music entertainment and food such as that found at the Smokin' T's BBQ concessions.

For more information about the Cedarhurst Craft Fair visit:

International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
late September
Springfield, Illinois

Hundreds of vintage cars, entertainment and celebrity guests from around the world fill the streets of downtown Springfield for a three-day celebration of cars, food, music and friends of the heyday of US Route 66.  This festival draws over 80,000 attendees.

For more information about the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival visit:   

Illinois Wine and Art Festival
last weekend in September
Whittington, Illinois

With presentations by more than 50 of Illinois’ best-known artists, live musical entertainment, local food vendors and varietals from more than a dozen Illinois wineries, an authentic Illinois Wine Country experience awaits all visitors. Admission to the festival at the Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Visitors Center at Rend Lake is free and visitors can purchase open-tasting tickets for $10, which includes a complimentary festival glass.

For more information about the Illinois Wine and Art Festival visit:

Scarecrow Festival
early October
St Charles, Illinois

An award-winning festival, and four time winner of the "Top 100 Events in North America", the free Scarecrow Festival has been appealing to thousands of families across the Midwest region of the USA for more than a quarter of a century. This family event showcases more than 150 hand-crafted scarecrows competing for winning places in six different categories. Other highlights of this event include the opportunity to craft scarecrows to take home, live entertainment, a huge arts and crafts show, a carnival, and a petting zoo as well as plenty of food stalls.

For more information about the Scarecrow Festival visit:

Southern Illinois Irish Festival
early October
Carbondale, Illinois

This Celtic cultural celebration features live music including special concerts on Friday and Saturday nights. Visitors can take part in dance workshops and demonstrations, check out Celtic arts and crafts and buy merchandise. There are plenty of children’s activities, such as the Magic Story Teller, as well as special cultural presentations, including Highland games.  New events are added every year.

For more information about the Southern Illinois Irish Festival visit:

Festival of Lights
end November to end December
East Peoria, Illinois

A popular event for almost three decades, the Festival of Lights is one of the largest, lighted, nighttime Christmas festivals in the USA. Beginning the fun is the 3-mile long Parade of Lights with more than 20 lighted floats. Another popular attraction is Winter Wonderland, a two-mile drive through electric park, featuring lighted displays and floats. Other events include the narrated Nativity Scene, Santa’s Wonderland complete with Santa and Mrs Claus offering free crafts, and games and all sorts of relevant activities.

For more information about the Festival of Lights visit:

The newly updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.


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