A dozen rib vendors compete for bragging rights at the 31st annual Naperville Ribfest. But it’s not all about the secret sauce at this meagfest (or the ribs – additional vendors serve up other fest foods) at this meagfest, which kicks off Wednesday with live music from Melissa Etheridge. Other music highlights: Pitbull (Thursday), Jake Owen (Friday) and Steven Tyler & the Loving Mary Band (Saturday). Extras: Carnival rides and games, a petting zoo and other family activities.
Note: Due to weather, July 4th fireworks planned for Wednesday are now set to take place at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Details: Noon-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday at Knoch Park, 724 S. West St., Naperville. General admission: $45-$75 (plus fees); south park entry only: $3.50 (plus fees) / MAP
Get a taste of West Town restaurants, retailers, artists and crafters at West Fest. Empty Bottle programs the music, including headliners Joey Purp (Friday), The Make-Up (Saturday) and Kevin Morby (Sunday). Dog owners, bring Fido for an afternoon of fun at Pet Fest, where he can get a dog caricature, have his paws painted and run through the obstacle course. Children’s activities like train rides, bounce houses, inflatable slides and pony rides are also on tap.
Details: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Chicago Avenue between Damen Avenue and Wood Street. $5 suggested donation / MAP
Lose yourself in the sounds of reggae, calypso and salsa at the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life. Take in performances and live music on two stages, including shows by Spice (Friday), Boukman Eksperyans (Saturday) and Capleton (Sunday). This year’s event will commemorate 50 years of reggae music and pay homage to the founder of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, who died 200 years ago.
Details: Noon-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. $19.50 single day general admission; $58 three-day general admission / MAP
4. Bust a move
Get ready to dance all day long at the Chosen Few DJs Picnic & Music Festival, where DJs spin for more than 12 hours, including guest performances by the Basement Boys (DJ Spen, Karizma and Teddy Douglas) and Ralphi Rosario. Staying true to its roots as a “reunion picnic,” attendees can bring their own food and drinks. (Glass containers, propane tanks and generators are prohibited. Rules for what else you can and can’t bring are listed here.)
Details: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Park, 63rd and Hayes Drive. $40 / MAP
Nibble on global street foods, shop from local vendors and watch cultural performances at the Argyle Night Market. The annual weekly market returns Thursday with performances by Ugochi and The Afro Soul Experience.
Details: 5-9 p.m. Thursday on Argyle Street between Kenmore Avenue and Sheridan Road. Free / MAP
Spend the holiday weekend admiring the talents of more than 110 artists showcased in the Millennium Art Festival. Paintings, ceramics, photography and furniture will be among the items on display and available for purchase.
Details: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. Free / MAP
You don’t have to wait till St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate all things Irish. The Irish American Heritage Festival showcases the finest in local and international Irish and American music and dance, including step dance performances. More than 30 bands will perform over the three days, including headliners Byrne and Kelly (Friday), JigJam (Saturday), We Banjo 3 (Sunday) and Gaelic Storm (Sunday). Dine on Irish (and American) fare and wash it all down with a beer, or sit for a spell in the Shamrock Tea Room for a proper cup of tea, with baked treats (of course).
Details: 6 p.m.-midnight Friday; noon-midnight Saturday; noon-11 p.m. Sunday at Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave. $15; free for children 12 and under / MAP
Leave your phone at home (or at the very least, hide it in your pocket) for a dose of nature with a hefty side of syrup as Chicago-area professional artists “plein air” paint and create sketches during Pancake Breakfast in the Woods. There’s no cost to watch the masters at work along the trails of the Emily Oaks Nature Center. Each pancake breakfast includes all-you-can-eat pancakes and a single serving of turkey sausage, orange juice and strawberries. (Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m.) Coffee and water are also available.
Details: 9 a.m.-noon Sunday at Emily Oaks Nature Center, 4650 Brummel Ave., Skokie. $7.50 (10 and up); $5.50 children ages 9-3; children under 3 are free / MAP
Jam to reggae, roots rock and funk music at Live in Lincoln Park, featuring performances by Michael Franti & Spearhead (Saturday) and the bass guitarist and vocalist of Phish, Mike Gordon (Sunday). New this year: Sunday morning yoga with Jeannie Miller.
Details: Noon-9:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday at Stockton and LaSalle Drives. $20 for single day admission; $35 two-day admission / MAP
Kicking off the 30th annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival is a performance by Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov. The Julliard-trained pianists will perform works including Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 1, Op. 5 and a two-piano transcription of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique Symphony.”
Details: 3 p.m. Sunday at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. $30 single ticket; $20 for seniors; $10 for students / MAP
Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.