Arctic temperatures, ice, and snow will soon be gracing us with its presence again here in Lake County. While I have always thought of this time of the year as just a time to stay inside and dream of warmer climates, that does not have to be the case. Many towns in the area, believe it or not, find this time of the year a reason to celebrate with a Winter Festival. They have planned out elaborate events and outdoor activities for all of the community to come together and enjoy.
We have rounded up a list of all the nearby festivals that you and your family can attend. As always, since many of these festivals are weather-dependent, please double-check to make sure that these events are still happening before bundling up and heading out.
Winter Festivals for Families
6 January – Winter Fest
(Highland Park) Join us for a great day of FREE winter activities for families. Participate indoors with ice skating and open gymnastics time. Don’t know how to skate? Skating Instructors will be offering free group lessons. Food will be available for purchase and there will be special friends to meet and greet.
13 January – Winter Carnival
(Northbrook) Join us for this wonderful winter event! FREE for all ages! Celebrate the season with your family and friends! Events include horse-drawn trolley rides, sled dogs, ice sculpting, family games, snowshoeing, holiday bingo, golf games, a bonfire and s’mores, winter demonstrations, and ice skating (bring your own skates).
13 January – Frosty Fest
(Gurnee) Frosty Fest is a collaborative event with the Gurnee Park District, the Village of Gurnee, and Bittersweet Golf Course. Enjoy dog sled demonstrations, sledding, free cocoa and s’mores, games, and horse-drawn carriage rides.
13 January- Winter Fest
(Vernon Hills) Winterfest is an outdoor festival the whole family will enjoy! Weather permitting, the sled hill and ice rinks will be open for winter play! Enjoy free ice skate rentals and concessions inside the pavilion. Families will love the horse and carriage rides, s’mores around the campfire, dog sled demonstrations, and live ice sculpting.
13 January – Winter Carnival
(Winnetka) Come join the Winnetka Park District for the annual Winter Carnival at Skokie School. Enjoy carnival-themed fun and games for children of all ages that will remind us of warmer times. Light refreshments will be provided!
14 January – Winder Wonderfest
(Wheeling) Bring the family to Chevy Chase and celebrate the winter season with the Wheeling Park District. Fun activities for all ages include arts and crafts, winter-themed games, face painting and more. Enjoy winter-themed snacks and hot cocoa. And if it snows, we also will build snowmen and paint designs in the snow
15 January – Watts Below Zero
(Glencoe) Celebrate everything winter with arts and crafts, carnival games and ice sculpting!
19 January – Lincolnshire Skate Night
(Lincolnshire) Enjoy skating, fireworks, food trucks, hot chocolate, and drinks for the parents in this fun night out.
2- 4 February, Groundhog Days
(Woodstock) Thanks to Bill Murray and the Groundhog Day movie, every day is Groundhog Day in Woodstock. Each year, Woodstock celebrates the movie, which was filmed here in 1992, with a chili cook-off, storytimes breakfast, dances, trivia, bowling, special showings of the movie, and a tour of filming sites, leading up to, of course, Woodstock Willie’s prognostication early in the morning on February 2nd. Come to Woodstock and celebrate a movie that has become a favorite of young and old and the community that Woodstock has always been. Read Rosemary’s review of Groundhog Days here.
3 February, Nature Discovery Day
(Highland Park) Visit our nature classrooms, complete a craft to take home, explore the science of nature, go sledding or cross-country skiing, view live animals and enjoy a roasted marshmallow around a crackling campfire at the ninth annual Nature Discovery Day.
10 February – Winter Festival
Join the party and celebrate everything winter! Games, crafts and fun for everyone.
12 March – Family Fun Fest
(Glencoe) Enjoy a wide variety of family friendly activities! Family Service of Glencoe and Glencoe Park District will present games, crafts and activities. Try mini-classes and activities from Glencoe
Park District instructors! All children must be accompanied by an adult.
18 March – 46th Annual Maple Syrup Festival
(Northbrook) Celebrate the arrival of spring with a special day of activities including crafts, games, tree tapping and maple syrup history.
Where will you be celebrating winter?