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updated: 6/4/2012 6:27 AM

On the road: A good ribbing at Ribfest Chicago

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  • Professional eaters chow down during Rib Mania at RibFest Chicago.

      Professional eaters chow down during Rib Mania at RibFest Chicago.

  • The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is offering rare behind-the-scenes tours for its 50th anniversary year, including a tour of the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled.

      The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is offering rare behind-the-scenes tours for its 50th anniversary year, including a tour of the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled.

 
 

Chicago

Take a ribbing
Top local and national acts, 50,000 attendees and as many pounds of pork from more than 30 city restaurants are just the beginning of Ribfest Chicago. Stop by on Friday night to witness professional eaters chow down during Rib Mania and barbecue masters compete for the title of "Best Ribs" and "People's Choice." Kids Square provides hours of glee as children slide, climb, ride, dance and jump on inflatables.
5 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 8, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, at Irving Park Road and Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Suggested admission donation is $5. (773) 525-3609.

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Nothin' but the blues
Blues fans will want to pencil in a visit to the 10th annual Chicago Blues Fest Kickoff Jam that features performances by Shemekia Copeland, the Brooks Family Blues Dynasty, the Chicago Blues Divas, Lil' Ed Williams and a special appearance by Billy Branch. Performers will cover classic blues music in a tribute to the city's musical heritage.
6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Buddy Guy's Legends, 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $30 for individuals, $200 for a reserved table for four. (312) 786-1121.

Bjorn to be wild
The 47th annual Andersonville Midsommarfest offers five stages of live performances from rock to salsa, lots of vendors hawking handmade wares and more than a few Swedish meatballs. Kids will like the pet parade and an entire area and stage just for families. The Swedish American Children's Choir, Maypole dancing, Nordic Folkdancers and Chicago Spelmanslag round out the Swedish entertainment.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, at Clark Street and Foster Avenue, Chicago. Suggested admission donation is $5. (773) 665-4682 or andersonville.org.

Midwest

Big river keep on rollin'
America's River Festival in Dubuque, Iowa, brings the Marshall Tucker Band, REO Speedwagon, Justin Moore and Starship to its stages on the Port of Dubuque. BMX Stunt Team, Dock Dogs canine competitions, obstacle courses and bounce houses will thrill the youngsters.
5 p.m. to midnight Friday June 8; 7:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, June 9; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 10, at the Port of Dubuque. General admission costs $15 or $20 at the gate; reserved concert seating is $35; kids 12 and younger admitted free. Free admission on Sunday. Call (800) 798-8844 or see americasriverfestival.com.

Breakfast of champions
Get ready for the World's Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, Mich. Kellogg's hometown invites visitors to celebrate the most important meal of the day at the annual Cereal City Festival. Fuel up for a day of activities including music, art fair, street performers and a grand cereal parade.
Grand Cereal Parade runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 8, and the "World's Longest Breakfast Table" from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 9, in downtown Battle Creek. bcfestivals.com

The play's the thing
American Players Theatre announces its 2012 season, which will be especially exciting to Shakespeare fans, with the return of three Shakespeare productions -- "Twelfth Night," "Richard III" and "Troilus and Cressida." APT's 1,148-seat outdoor amphitheater is located on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River in Spring Green, Wis. APT offers nine productions over the summer.
Show times vary from Saturday, June 9, to Oct. 21. Single tickets range from $42 to $66, with special 4-Pack ticket packages starting at $88 for four tickets. Shakespearience festival passes cost $40. (608) 588-2361 or americanplayers.org.

Worth the trip
NASA is offering visitors rare access to several key areas of the Kennedy Space Center during its 50th anniversary year in addition to attractions showcasing the space program. A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour has been extended through the end of 2012. Tours include the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled. The 50th anniversary year features several events, including a celebration July 1 to mark the anniversary of the space center being officially acknowledged as an operating spaceflight center.
Throughout 2012 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Orsino, Fla. Admission is $45 for adults, $35 for children ages 3-11. Call (877) 313-2610 or see KennedySpaceCenter.com.

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