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12 Things to Do This Labor Day Weekend: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

(Photo by James Hoch)(Photo by James Hoch)

1. Soak up

All good things must come to an end (sigh), but before summer slips into fall you have one final chance to celebrate the season at Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling, with four nights of music, carnival rides and family fun. Relive the glory days of pop music Friday with the Pop 2000 Tour featuring performances by Lance Bass of ’N Sync and Aaron Carter. Or rock out to performances by Buckcherry, P.O.D., Lit and Alien Ant Farm on Saturday. Local rock band Lucky Boys Confusion celebrates its 20th anniversary on Sunday with headliners Cheap Trick. Extras: a Labor Day parade (10 a.m. Monday), plus exercise classes, dunk tanks, competitive eating contests, trivia and a dessert bake-off.

Details: 5-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday at Naperville Central High School, 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville. Free; Concerts and carnival rides cost extra  / MAP

Find more summer festivals in our 2018 guide


2. Connect

Comedies, dramas, musicals and the “unclassifiable” take center stage at the Chicago Fringe Festival. See theater and dance, puppetry, spoken word performances and stand-up comedy from two dozen performers and companies from Chicago and around the globe. Also on tap are kid-friendly shows, activities and workshops.

Details: Performance times vary. Thursday through Monday at six Jefferson Park locations, including the Gift Theater, 4802 Milwaukee Ave. $10 per show, plus $5 one-time purchase of an admission button. Ticket packages available / MAP

(Photo by Sarah Larson)(Photo by Sarah Larson)

3. Unwind

Get lost in chords and notes at the 40th annual Chicago Jazz Festival, showcasing local, national and international artists both downtown and at venues across Chicago. Headliners: Orbert Davis (Wednesday), Kurt Elling Sextet featuring Marquis Hill and Jeff “Tain” Watts (Thursday), Dianne Reeves (Friday), Ramsey Lewis (Saturday) and Maceo Parker (Sunday). Note: This year, outside alcohol is prohibited, and expect increased security at Millennium Park, including a bag check.  

Details: 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday; 5-9 p.m. Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.; and 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. All concerts are free.

Orbert Davis (Courtesy of DCASE) Orbert Davis (Courtesy of DCASE)

4. Browse

Pottery, candles, jewelry, paintings and glassworks are among the hundreds of goods local and national vendors are selling at the Frankfort Fall Fest. In addition to the 300 artisans, the fest boasts carnival rides, live music and a beer and wine garden. Catch the fest’s annual parade at 1 p.m. Sunday featuring local organizations and businesses.

Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday at Oak and Kansas Streets, Frankfort. Free; $10 parking / MAP

(Kris Pasquini / Frankfort Chamber of Commerce)(Kris Pasquini / Frankfort Chamber of Commerce)

5. Pinch

Savor the fleeting moments of summer by chowing down on seafood at the Great American Lobster Fest. Billed as the largest Midwest lobster and seafood festival, the eponymous crustacean is flown in from the East Coast and served up in a smorgasbord of ways, from fresh whole lobsters to rolls and tacos to loaded lobster fries. Seafood’s not your thing? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of “land food” too, including burgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes. Musical entertainment, family friendly games and arts and crafts round things out.

Details: Noon-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave. $44 general admission / MAP

(Great American Lobster Fest / Facebook)(Great American Lobster Fest / Facebook)

6. Dance

Feel the noise as DJs, hip-hop artists and rock bands unite for summer’s last stand: North Coast Music Festival. Move to the beats of headliners Miguel (Friday), Axwell Ingrosso (Friday), DJ Snake (Saturday), The Revivalists (Saturday), Jamiroquai (Sunday) and Yellow Claw (Sunday).

Details: 3-10 p.m. Friday; 1-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. $60-$70 for single day general admission passes / MAP

(Phierce Photo / North Coast Music Festival)(Phierce Photo / North Coast Music Festival)

7. Venture

Embark on a cultural journey at the African Festival of the Arts. Browse collectible artifacts, colorful handwoven fabrics and textiles, oil paintings and sculptures. Dance to the beat of drums or play along at a pavilion dedicated to interactive music sessions and cultural performances rooted in African traditions. Groove to musical performances by DJ Eric ET Taylor (Friday), Keyshia Cole (Saturday), Seun Kuti (Sunday) and Shaggy (Monday).

Details: 1-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday through Monday at Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave. $20 at the gate / MAP

(African Festival of the Arts / Facebook)(African Festival of the Arts / Facebook)

8. Immerse

Pierogi, potato pancakes and polish sausages served with sauerkraut are just a handful of dishes you can sink your teeth into at Taste of Polonia. Discover Chicago’s Polish history, watch Polish dance performances and partake in cooking classes. More than 30 bands perform on four stages all weekend long. Carnival rides, games, inflatable bounce houses, singing contests and screenings of WTTW’s “Urban Nature” are also on tap.

Details: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; noon-9 p.m. Monday at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. $5-$10 / MAP

(Taste of Polonia / Facebook)(Taste of Polonia / Facebook)

9. Pause

Cruise on over to Pilsen this weekend for the Slow & Low Chicago Lowrider Festival to see classic cars and bikes from clubs across the Midwest. Not to be confused with an auto show, organizers say the curated event includes a special awards ceremony honoring the lowrider community. Extras: a pop-up artisan market, mariachis, DJs and a dedicated children’s area.

Details: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday at Loomis Street and Cermak Road. $5 / MAP

(Slow & Low: Chicago Lowrider Festival / Facebook)(Slow & Low: Chicago Lowrider Festival / Facebook)

10. Frolic

Dust off (or wash) your finest St. Patty’s green – you’re going to need it this weekend for Irish Days. Bagpipers, folk bands and Irish dancers will have all eyes smiling with delight. Just as “everybody’s Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day, all dogs are Irish at this suburban festival, where participating four-legged friends have a chance to be crowned Irish Doggie King, Queen, Prince and Princess. The contest is open to all dogs whose owner enters them in the day-of competition on Labor Day. Irish food and drink keep you satiated. Bonus: Step inside the Gaelic tent to learn about the Irish language and genealogy.

Details: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday at 308 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. Free / MAP

(Courtesy of Long Grove Irish Days)(Courtesy of Long Grove Irish Days)

11. Sway

Bid adieu to summer with the final installation of this year’s Summer Concert Series with a performance by The Friends Band. Expect to hear current hits as well as tunes from the ‘40s, the roaring ‘20s and more.

Details: 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday at Giddings Plaza, 4733 N. Lincoln Ave. Free / MAP

(The Friends Band / Facebook)(The Friends Band / Facebook)

12. Crave

Delight your taste buds at the inaugural Cider & Sliders Festival, where you can sample sliders from area vendors, including Paulina Meat Market, Fernando’s Tequila Bar and Restaurant and Tandoor Char House. Try taco sliders, and chicken and lamb sliders, in addition to the traditional beef patties. Wash it down with a cold cider. Tasting sessions are available at 1 p.m. on both days, as well as 5 p.m. on Saturday for an added cost of $35.

Details: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday along Lincoln Avenue between Roscoe and Addison Streets. $5 suggested donation / MAP

(Rhode Island Sea Grant / Flickr)(Rhode Island Sea Grant / Flickr)

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.


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