Undertake a cemetery tour
It's the most wonderful time of the year -- to scour a cemetery, that is, and Chicago boasts one of the country's legendary Victorian graveyards. Many of Graceland's tombs are artistically and architecturally renowned and embrace the remains of more than a few famous Chicago characters including Marshall Field, George Pullman, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Potter and Bertha Palmer. Sign up soon to undertake a fascinating tour through the graves with an expert guide, courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.
10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, and 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Tours begin at the cemetery entrance, Irving Park Road and North Clark Street, Chicago. $20, $15 members. (312) 642-4600 or chicagohistory.org.
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Art full of soul
Screen printing, sculpture, illustration, woodworking, photography, jewelry, digital art and other media are showcased in businesses and galleries throughout Andersonville during its 11th annual Andersonville Arts Weekend. Count on a fabulous night of parties throughout the neighborhood in dozens of stores, including Akira, baan home, Chick A Boom Resale Boutique, City Olive, The Coffee Studio, Fireside Restaurant, Found-Vintage Living, Jameson Loves Danger, Kopi Cafe, Landmark of Andersonville, Las Manos Gallery, Milk Handmade, pH Comedy Theater, The Red Balloon Company, Room Service, Sparkles Fine Jewelry, Spex, Toujours Spa & Salon, Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities and many more. Browse shops, see dance and improv performances, listen to literary readings, watch film screenings, peruse arts demonstrations and join the pub crawl.
6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13, in the Andersonville business district, 5300 N. Clark St. Chicago. (773) 728-2995 or andersonville.org/andersonville-arts-weekend.
Dead heads party on
Although Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov. 1 in Mexico, we get months of the largest annual Day of the Dead exhibition in the country at Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art. Works of art from throughout Mexico and the U.S. celebrate the dearly departed in weird, wonderful ways that are rarely grim. From gleaming ofrendas (altars) to cheerful sugar skull sculptures, the exhibit dazzles young and old. Check the website for special programs including Family Sundays, one-day workshops and art demos, then treat la familia to a neighborhood Mexican restaurant to complete your outing.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, through Dec. 15, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago. Free. (312) 738-1503 or nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.
Your furniture is certainly a place to park your keister during football games and "Breaking Bad" reruns, but in the hands of an artist, furniture becomes more than functional. See the work of 24 studio furniture makers in one of the Midwest's most informative showcases of traditional and contemporary design at the Fearless Furniture exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. Expect an array of one-of-a-kind designs, from a chair carved from a tree stump to a cabinet pieced together like a quilt.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, now through May 27, 2014, at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Ind. Admission is $10/adult, $9/senior and $5.50/ages 3-12. (317) 232-1637 or indianamuseum.org.
Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood might have moved on to other projects, but the covered bridges of Madison County remain and sustain the romance illuminated in the film and in Robert James Waller's novel, "The Bridges of Madison County." The Madison County Covered Bridge Festival celebrates the famous covered bridges, John Wayne's birthplace and George Washington Carver's time in town. Take a guided bus tour to the bridges or a free horse-drawn wagon ride to Wayne's house and enjoy appearances by Carver and other historical figures, spelling bees, a belt-buckle auction, live music and an antique vehicles parade. The festival is held in Winterset, Iowa, southwest of Des Moines.
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, in Winterset, Iowa. See madisoncounty.com or call (800) 298-6119.
Dirndls are de rigueur
The wieners arrive for the fifth annual GermanFest in Indianapolis. Get in on beer games, wiener dog races, a yodeling contest, 5K lederhosen run/walk and strong man competitions. There will be steins upon steins of beer, German sausages and other treats and a ZwergenLand for kids. Take a docent-led tour of the historic Athenaeum building, then park it at the GermanFest main stage for lots of entertainment.
Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, Ind. $8 in advance online or $10 at the door, free for kids 12 and younger. (317) 655-2755 or athenaeumfoundation.org.