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posted: 6/19/2011 12:01 AM

On the road: Savoring a Taste of Chicago

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  • Children will enjoy the Midnight Circus, which performs daily in the Family Village area of Taste of Chicago.

      Children will enjoy the Midnight Circus, which performs daily in the Family Village area of Taste of Chicago.

 
 

Chicago

Feast of fun

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Taste of Chicago is more than a chomp-a-rama courtesy of 59 diverse restaurants. There's a boatload of activities for the whole family at the Family Village and the Playground with hands-on activities including arts and crafts stations led by area museums, family games, face painting and green activities for kids. Chicago's own Midnight Circus will perform three times daily.

11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday, June 24-July 2, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 3, in Grant Park, Michigan Avenue and Congress Drive. Admission is free, but food and beverage tickets are 12 for $8. Purchase tickets in advance for only $6 through Thursday, June 23, at Dominick's. Call (312) 742-4387 or visit tasteofchicago.us.

Sound history

Take a tour through Our Chicago Sound: Jazz, Blues and Beyond with a Chicago Detours exploration. You'll interact with a musician and take a harmonica lesson, learn the cultural story of jazz and blues, explore key city neighborhoods and visit landmarks like clubs and recording studios.

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 to 3:45 p.m. Saturdays, June 25 to Sept. 10. Some walking is involved in the 2-hour tour. Tickets cost $60 to $70. Begin and end at Jazz Record Mart, 27 E. Illinois St. Call (312) 350-1131 or visit chicagodetours.com/tours.

Midwest

Ann Arbor ardor

There are summer festivals and then there's the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, offering dozens of performances, activities and screenings of film and visual arts, eclectic music, dance, comedy and family fun. Celebrating its 28th season, the festival produces two concurrent programs on the campus of the University of Michigan in downtown Ann Arbor.

Hours vary by day Friday, June 17, to Sunday, July 10, at Ingalls Mall, North University Avenue and Thayer Street, Ann Arbor, Mich. Main stage performance costs vary, while Top of the Park is free. Call (734) 994-5999 or visit annarborsummerfestival.org/.

Swiss miss fest

If all you know from Swiss is cheese, take a bite of out of a combo Taste of New Glarus and the Heidi Festival in New Glarus, Wis. During the last full weekend in June, the European-influenced town is filled with food stands offering locally produced fare, entertainment, music and colorful sidewalk sale displays and bargains. There's a craft fair in the park and a presentation of the classic play "Heidi."

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26, in New Glarus, Wis. Call (800) 527-6838 or visit swisstown.com/festivals.shtml.

Strawberry yields forever

Get your fill of all things strawberry at the Historic Cedarburg's 26th Annual Strawberry Festival. More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the free, family-oriented festival that offers ripe, juicy berries, strawberry brats, strawberry shortcake, pies and crepes, strawberry torte, chocolate-covered strawberries and strawberry ice cream, along with Cedar Creek Winery's Strawberry Blush Wine. Visitors can also stroll Arts on the Avenue, take in live top 40, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll acts, or enter the daily Strawberry Shortcake Eating and Strawberry Bubblegum Blowing Contests.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 26, in Cedarburg, Wis. Call (888) 894-4001 or visit cedarburgfestivals.org.

Worth the trip

If music is a big deal in your house, the Winnipeg Folk Festival may be for you. This year's fest presents more than 250 artists from all over the world performing on seven outdoor stages. Expect deep blues, hip-hop, country and folk, jazz, indie rock and even bagpipes. The Winnipeg Folk Festival has a dedicated family area, a Hand-Made Village with crafts and a Food Village with all kinds of culinary delights.

July 6-10. A five-day advance ticket, available until June 30, costs an adult $210, seniors and youths $123 and children (5-14 years) $16. Visit winnipegfolkfestival.ca.

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