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posted: 3/4/2012 6:00 AM

On the road: Flower and garden show

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  • The 2012 Flower & Garden show returns to Navy Pier.

    The 2012 Flower & Garden show returns to Navy Pier.
    Courtesy of Charles Cherney

  • Pour it on at the National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora, Ind.

    Pour it on at the National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora, Ind.



Tiptoe through the tulips

We know we're emerging from our Midwestern chill with the heralding of the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. Stroll by 25 elaborately designed gardens with the theme: "Hort Couture," attend hands-on demonstrations and workshops and learn how to realistically grow a garden whether on your building's rooftop, in a postage stamp-sized yard or a multi-acre spread. Visitors can take advantage of daily free educational seminars. There also will be culinary demos by top chefs, garden- and green-related services and products, and a children's activity garden.

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, March 10-18, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave. Chicago. Weekday admission is $15 purchased online or $17 at the box office. Weekend admission is $17 and $19 respectively. Tickets for children ages 4-12 are $5.

Take five

The third annual Chi-town Jazz Festival not only supplies hot music to the winter-chilled, but also marks the jazz community's coming together for a common cause: Chicago-area hunger relief. Artists include Dee Alexander, Bobby Lewis, Frank Catalano, Larry Gray, Chris Siebold, Spare Parts and many more performing at various venues around the city including Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club, the Green Mill and Symphony Center.

Wednesday to Sunday, March 7-11. Venues and performance times vary. Tickets cost $15-$25.

A look at the 1980s

The '80s were more than Madonna, Adam Ant, big hair and shoulder pads. See more than 130 works of art that portray the period from 1979 to 1992 in the new exhibit, "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition offers an overview of artistic production in the 1980s, divided into thematic sections.

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through June 3 at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Suggested admission $7-$12; free for kids 12 and younger; free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents. (312) 280-2660 or


Sweet surrender

The small town of Medora, Ind., is sweet on the National Maple Syrup Festival, which is the first and only national maple syrup festival in America. The celebration includes live music, Indiana artisans and food ranging from pancakes and sausage to maple pork chops and maple baked beans. Learn about the modern-day maple sugaring process and the history of maple sugaring from Native American and French historic encampments. Bring your little ones for a petting zoo, rope-making demonstrations by Cowboy Ron, a ventriloquist, face painting, crafts and more.

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, at Burton's Maplewood Farm and Medora Community School, 82 S. George St., Medora. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and older, $6 for kids 5 to 15, free for ages 4 and younger. Bring a canned good for local food pantries and get $2 off admission. (812) 966-2168 or nationalmaplesyrup

When Irish guys are smiling

Where will Wisconsin's largest St. Patrick's Day Parade step off? Try downtown New London, which also features an Irish festival. Leprechauns at the local Shamrock Club change the town's name to "New Dublin' for the week before the parade, which has bagpipes and marching bands, clowns, floats and clan units. The Irish Fest is held under a heated big top and features Celtic bands, beverages, Irish food, caroling and entertainment.

Monday to Saturday, March 12-17, in New London, 20 miles northwest of Appleton, Wis. Parade is at 1 p.m. with the festival running from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 17, in downtown New London. Admission is $5 for the day. (920) 982-3891 or

Spring break getaway

Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale is offering a Create Your Break Package. You pick dates, length of stay and extras. Package includes overnight accommodations for up to four; 15 percent off any dining outlet at the resort, one complimentary round of mini-golf for each guest, dive-in movies at the indoor pool and buy two, get two free breakfast buffet meals. Stay one night and choose one extra, stay two and receive all three including laser tag, bowling and movie tickets.

Offer runs Friday, March 9, to Monday, April 30, at 250 Schick Road, Bloomingdale. Rates begin at $139 per night. (630) 529-0200 (mention SRP: P4) or

Worth the trip

The nation's first seaside resort, called one of "America's 20 Prettiest Towns" by Forbes Traveler, blooms once again for its 17th annual Spring Festival. The 10-day springtime celebration in Cape May, N.J., offers house tours, food and wine events; crafts, antiques shows, a Vintage Dance Weekend, ghost trolley tours, flower festival and more.

Friday, April 27, to Sunday, May 6. (800) 275-4278 or

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