Central Illinois loves its festivals, and summer festivals can’t be topped.
From Springfield to Mattoon, from Bloomington-Normal to Decatur, we’ve put together our list of the top nine summer festivals in Central Illinois, most of them out of our immediate coverage area. We consider summer to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Don’t worry, we have a whole list of Champaign-Urbana area festivals too.
Do you agree with our Nine Great Summer Festivals in Central Illinois list? If not, what did we miss? (In case you’re wondering, the Lincoln Balloon Festival will be back in some fashion in 2019, details are still coming together.)
Without further ado, Nine Great Summer Festivals in Central Illinois:
What: Olde English Faire
When: Friday June 21 through Sunday, June 23
Where: Hanna City, IL (outside of Peoria at Wildlife Prairie Park)
How much: Ages 13 and Up: $10.00 Ages 3 – 12: $6.00 Ages 0 – 2: Free Parking $5 cash. $1 off for dressing in full costume!
Highlights: Live amongst lords, ladies, knights, war horses, maidens and fairies for the weekend. Special programming happening on Friday, June 21 for children to learn about the medieval era from the Knights of Valour.
What: National Tom Sawyer Days
When: Saturday, June 29 through Saturday, July 6
Where: Hannibal, Missouri (right on the Illinois border)
How much: COMING SOON
Highlights: Located right along the Mississippi River, this area is full of history all year long. The festival includes a frog-jump contest, mud volleyball tournament, carnival rides, live music and fireworks over the river on the 4th.
What: Sugar Creek Arts Festival
When: Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14
Where: Uptown Normal
How much: Free admission
Highlights: More than 128 arts and crafts vendors from across the country display their talents and products at one of the most popular juried art and craft festivals in the Midwest. The event takes place on the streets of uptown Normal and highlights some of the most talented artists from across the country. Also, free live music and kids activities.
What: Mattoon Bagelfest
When: Tuesday, July 16 through Saturday, July 20
Where: Peterson Park at 500 Broadway Ave., Mattoon (map)
How much: Most events free; mainstage events ticketed
Highlights: Free bagel breakfast 8-10 a.m. and Bagelfest Parade 10:30 a.m. Saturday; Run for the Bagel 5K; carnival rides; mainstage acts.
What: Lincoln’s Festival in Bloomington
When: Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21
Where: downtown Bloomington and surrounding locations
How much: Most events free
Highlights: Attention history buffs. Lincoln in Bloomington? Sure, why not! See Civil War era concerts; meet important figures from the Civil War including generals and President Lincoln; storytellers, and more. Children’s activities include face painting, crafts, slow bike races, etc.
What: EffingHAM-JAM and Kansas City BBQ Society State BBQ Championship
When: July 26-27
Where: downtown Effingham
How much: Free to attend; free live music; other entertainment may be ticketed. Food for sale.
Highlights: OK, we love the play on words here for this festival. There’s tons of BBQ – so come hungry. There’s also a DILLY BAR EATING CONTEST. (Evidently, we think that’s pretty cool). Plenty of kids activities on Saturday, but check the website for updated info. You can also check out list of fun things to do with kids in Effingham.
What: Decatur Celebration
When: Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4
Where: Downtown Decatur
How much: Hybrid of free and ticketed entertainment. Food for sale, carnival ticketed.
Highlights: Dubbed the “most exciting family street festival in the Midwest,” this is four festivals in one — Music, Food, Arts & Crafts, and Carnival. Six show stages featuring national and emerging music artists; more than 70 unique food items hand-selected for quality and inspected for safety; three blocks of arts & crafters; carnival rides for all ages; Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade (10 a.m Saturday, Aug 3); and a kids block featuring children’s games, shows and prizes.
What: Illinois State Fair
When: Thursday, August 8 through Sunday, August 18
Where: State fairgrounds, Springfield (directions here)
How much: Adults (13-59) — $10 Fri/Sat, $5 other days; children (12 and under) — FREE; senior citizens (60 and older) — $3; vehicle parking (single day) — $5. Grandstand tickets vary.
Highlights: Check back later in the season for our Insider’s Guide to the 2019 State Fair. This year’s main grandstand acts include Megadeth, Pentatonix, Snoop Dogg & Friends, and Reba McEntire.
What: Peoria’s Erin Feis
When: Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25
Where: Peoria riverfront
How much: Adults $8 before 5 p.m. or purchased online in advance; weekend event pass $20; Children under 12 are FREE, but must be accompanied by an adult. Free admission on Sunday with a canned good donation from 9:30-11 a.m.
Highlights: It’s St. Patrick’s Day in August. You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this three-day festival which includes a variety of activities including typical fair fare like food and music; but there’s also cultural activities and an area for “wee folks” where they have a fairy tea party.
What is your favorite festival or fair in Central Illinois?