The fourth annual Lake County Monarch Festival, a free family festival dedicated to raising awareness in the community about nature, art, and culture, will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Clayton and County streets in downtown Waukegan.
This year's theme, "Migrating to Good Health," focuses on healthy living through exercise and physical activity and features a climbing wall, free school sports physicals, henna tattoos, and a farmers market.
The festival uses the flight and movement of the monarch butterfly to teach families about the importance of staying active and eating healthy. Booths will highlight the fall migration of the monarch butterfly from Illinois to Michoacan, Mexico, to show the importance of the ecosystem to the survival of the monarch.
Monarch butterflies have been seen in extremely low numbers this year due to a combination of climate change, extreme heat, and a decline in habitat spaces. Individuals can help secure the future of monarchs by planting milkweeds and nectar sources at home, work, and school.
At the festival, children will travel to each location on the migration path and perform a physical activity, such as hula-hooping, jump roping, or dancing. Once they complete all eight migration activities, they will be eligible to win raffle prizes donated by community organizations. Prizes include tickets to see the Chicago Fire, memberships to local gyms, museum passes, bicycles, and season passes to Six Flags Great America.
The Rosalind Franklin University Health System medical coach bus will offer free school sports physicals for families, in addition to cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure tests.
Other activities include a climbing wall run by the Boy Scouts Northeast Illinois Council Venture Club, free henna tattoos, music performed by Doc Schneider's band, dance performances by the Rhythm Academy of Dance, Zumba demonstrations, skateboarding, and hair braiding.
In addition to local restaurants offering a variety of food and drinks, the Chicago Botanic Garden Green Youth Farm will sell fresh fruits and vegetables from its local farmers market.
Sponsors of the Monarch Festival include the Waukegan Public Library, Vista Health, Consumers Credit Union, Lewis Fresh Produce, the Latino Coalition, Classic Toyota, Lake County United, Tala Restaurant, La Michoacana, Puro Futbol, and the Waukegan Park District.
For questions about the festival, the performers or exhibitors, call Rena Morrow, marketing, programming, and exhibits manager at the Waukegan Public Library, (847) 623-2041, ext. 231.