Around 500,000 people from more than 60 countries will descend on Oshkosh, Wis., for the annual EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport to celebrate the past, present and future of flight. At “The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration,” you can see warbirds, vintage craft and ultralights as well as fireworks, concerts, workshops and exhibits. Take rides in historic aircraft and, of course, watch daily air shows. There also will be activities for the kids.
7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday, July 23-29, at the EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road in Oshkosh. Daily admission is $27 for adults, $18 for ages 6 to 18 and free for those 5 and younger. (888) 322-4636 or airventure.org.
Hit the trail
Oregon, Ill., on the Rock River, celebrates its heritage during its third annual Oregon Trail Days. Activities include a Native American encampment, cowboy and frontier acts, including a medicine show, gunslinging and rope tricks, a raptor show, children's crafts and covered-wagon rides. Get a feeling for the past when you spend the night in an authentic tepee and try Indian fry bread, buffalo burgers and buffalo chips. Costumed demonstrators explain how to make rope and arrowheads, too.
9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, July 21, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 22, in downtown Oregon and Lowden State Park. Admission is $5 per person (parking is free) and kids 12 and under free. Tepees cost $79 per night. (815) 238-8672 or oregontraildays.org.
Perhaps you developed that sophisticated palate from your first taste of strained squash? Revisit your baby foodie days in Fremont, Mich., the hometown of Gerber Products, during the 22nd annual National Baby Food Festival. Watch the baby food cook-off, baby food eating contests for adults, the blessing of the babies, visit the Kid Zone with games and arts and crafts, enjoy carnival rides and Saturday's Grand Parade.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 18; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 19-20; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 21, on Main Street in Fremont. (800) 592-2229 or babyfoodfest.com.
Your roots are showing
Old Town School of Folk Music's Square Roots Festival is the first craft beer and music experience in Chicago's Lincoln Square. There will be more than 35 acts including music, dance parties, jam sessions and plenty of family activities. Expect an eclectic mix of music while you sip the efforts of local and regional craft breweries. Lincoln Square restaurants also will be lined up for your noshing pleasure.
5 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 20; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 21; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson avenues. Suggested admission is $10 for adults; $5 for seniors and kids younger than 12. (773) 728-6000 or squareroots.org.
Sample the food and the music at the 11th annual Taste of River North as neighborhood spots offer Japanese, American, Mexican, deli and other items while fest goers enjoy the music of Sixteen Candles, Poi Dog Pondering, This Must Be The Band, The Kickback and Jeffrey David. Bring the kids for a KidZone along the riverfront, too.
5 to 10 p.m. Friday, July, 20; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 21; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, $5 suggested donation. (312) 742-7895 or tasterivernorth.com/.
Grab some krofne and cevapcici and you'll be ready to spin to Serbian sounds at Serb Fest. In addition to music and dancing, there will be tours of Holy Resurrection Cathedral, films and a Serbian Orthodox culture exhibit.
5 p.m. to midnight Friday, July 20; noon to midnight Saturday, July 21; and 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, 5701 Redwood Drive, Chicago. Admission and parking are free. (773) 693-3367 or serbfestchicago.com.
Worth the trip
For some people, tropical drinks and a chaise lounge do not a vacation make. Endurance contests that pit competitors against adverse conditions are becoming the rage for fit people ages 18 and over. Thunder Challenge is the first obstacle race to be held on a Special Operations-style course that tests the physical and mental mettle of amateur athletes against U.S. Special Forces and Navy Seal training and challenges. A portion of the proceeds of each race go to Project Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization that helps to provide therapeutic activities to veterans, active military personnel, their spouses and children.
Aug. 4-5 Thunder Challenge Rockies in Castle Rock, Colo.; Oct. 6-7 Thunder Challenge Steel in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Dec. 8-9 Thunder Challenge Southern California. Cost is $100 to $200 depending on the event. http://thunderchallenge.us.