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posted: 7/8/2014 5:45 AM

Civil War camp food? Beer camp? Must be summer

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In conjunction with its 23rd annual Civil War Days, the Lake County Forest Preserve is holding a cooking contest for re-enactors Saturday, July 12, at the Lake County Discovery Museum, 27277 N. Forest Preserve Road, Wauconda. And you can be a judge.

The contest is designed to test the culinary skills of the re-enactors with an emphasis on authenticity. Visitors who want to tour the cooking sites and act as judges should meet at the information tent by 11:30 a.m. A guide will lead the group into the camps for sampling. Registration is not necessary, but encouraged. Email, if interested.

Civil War Days gives visitors a chance to explore the military and civilian camps to learn about life in the 1860s. Large-scale battles will be conducted (so consider earplugs).

Civil War Days runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 and 13. Entry costs $10 for adults and $5 for children (4-17) and seniors (62 and older). Head to and purchase tickets online for a $1 discount.

My kind of camp: You won't need mosquito netting or hiking boots when Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America rolls into Chicago's Navy Pier noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 27.

Nearly 700 craft brewers from around the country have signed on for the multi-weekend traveling event. With more than 1,300 craft beers on tap representing nearly every state in the union, Beer Camp Across America looks to be the largest craft beer celebration in history. The Illinois contingent alone includes Destihl, Brickstone, Ale Syndicate, Argus, Atlas, Begyle, DryHop, Empirical, Finch's, Goose Island, Half Acre, Haymarket Pub, Illuminated Brew Works, Piece and Pizzeria, Pipeworks, Revolution, SlapShot, Temperance, Flossmoor Station, Penrose, Stockholm's Vardshus, Church Street, One Trick Pony, Flesk, Pig Minds, Chain O' Lakes, Tighthead, Solemn Oath, Granite City, Nevin's, Engrained, Hailstorm, Lunar, Two Brothers, Urban Legend and (breathe) Ten Ninety.

Tickets for the hoppy happening cost $65 (designated driver tickets go for $30). You can snatch up a ticket at

Chicago is the fourth stop on the convoy, which steps off July 19 from the brewery in Chico, California, and makes seven stops, wrapping up Aug. 3 in Mills River, North Carolina. Each festival will feature up to two beers per brewery, food vendors and live music by the MarchFourth Marching Band spectacle.

Sleeping bags and canteens optional.

Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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