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posted: 6/2/2013 6:00 AM

On the road: Lilac fest on Mackinac Island

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  • Beat the summer heat and crowds on Michigan's Mackinac Island during its Lilac Festival from June 7-16.

    Beat the summer heat and crowds on Michigan's Mackinac Island during its Lilac Festival from June 7-16.

  • The 15th annual Ribfest Chicago in the Northcenter neighborhood on June 8-9 is a delicious way to spend a day in the city.

    The 15th annual Ribfest Chicago in the Northcenter neighborhood on June 8-9 is a delicious way to spend a day in the city.



Tuesdays on the terrace

Every Tuesday this summer the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago hosts outdoor jazz concerts. The concerts are free for Illinois residents and included in museum admission for all others. Expect to hear some of the city's quintessential jazz musicians, including popular trumpeter Corey Wilkes, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and vocalist Dee Alexander on the MCA's terrace and sculpture garden. Hamburgers, homemade sausages and salads may be purchased from the outdoor grill along with assorted cold beverages. .

5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, June 4, to Sept 24 at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. (312) 397-4034 or

Take a ribbing

Slip into a dark shirt and get your taste buds ready for some smoky bones and a cold one at the 15th annual Ribfest Chicago held in the Northcenter neighborhood where Lincoln Avenue, Irving Park Road and Damen Avenue meet. At the three-day barbecue fest, young noshers can head to Kids Square for inflatables, games and activities, while adults watch the Midwest's only sanctioned rib-eating competition. The tunes are nearly continuous with 20 bands performing.

5 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 7, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 8-9, at Lincoln Avenue and Irving Park Road, Chicago. Suggested $5 donation. (773) 525-3609 or

Bjorn to be mild

The 48th 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. Nearly 50,000 people are expected to help celebrate the area's Swedish heritage at the event, which features dances around a Maypole, performances by Nordic folk dancers, a showcase of more than 100 artisans, live music and kids' activities. Families will like the pet parade and an entire area just for them. The Swedish American Children's Choir, Nordic Folkdancers and Chicago Swedish Men's Chorus round out the Swedish entertainment.

5 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 7, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 8-9, at Clark Street and Foster Avenue, Chicago. Suggested admission $10, kids younger than 12 and seniors admitted free. (773) 728-2995 or


Ooh-la-la lilacs

The 64th annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is 10 days of breathing deeply and saying "mmm" as the island is filled with sweet lilac scents and myriad events. Take a sunrise Legends & Lore Trek or an architectural walking tour before indulging in the legendary Grand Luncheon Buffet, the Grand Afternoon Tea or the Lilac Festival Wine Tasting. Musicians and comedians take over the stages in downtown pubs and see first-run films at the new Center for the Arts at Mission Point Resort. Take in history talks, barbecue hayrides, nature tours and a closing-day grand parade.

Event times vary from June 7-16 at Mackinac Island, Mich. (800) 454-5227 or

Butter me up

Who will be crowned 2013 Sparta Butterfest Festmaster and Lady Butterfest? You'll have to visit central Wisconsin to find out during Butterfest. Browse an arts and crafts show, flea market, car show, antiques fair and carnival. Don't miss the big Sunday parade, quilt show and milking competition. Sparta is recognized as the junction of the Elroy-Sparta and La Crosse River bike trails, so bring the wheels to work off all that butter.

5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 6-7; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 8; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 9, at the corner of Montgomery and Rusk in Sparta, Wis. (800) 354-2453 or

Here's the line on free fishing

With 11,000 inland lakes, blue ribbon trout streams and more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, there are plenty of opportunities to test Michigan waters. Why not drop in a pole for free during the annual Free Fishing Weekend when normal fishing fees are suspended and a license is not required. Offered annually since 1986 as a way to promote natural resources awareness, the weekend includes dozens of activities at state parks like kids' fishing ponds, music, casting contests and family fishing derbies. Residents and out-of-state visitors enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes' waters for all species of fish.

Saturday and Sunday, June 8-9.

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