Eat, drink and loosen your belt
You'll be reciting Polish like a pro after an hour or two at the Taste of Polonia, the largest Polish festival in the United States. Experience nonstop entertainment, courtesy of 30 bands playing rock, blues and polka music. Plus, enjoy a children's stage, carnival rides, dance, folk art and games galore. Sample bigos (hunter's stew), golabki (stuffed cabbage), beet soup, breaded pork cutlets, sweet poppy seed cake and the famous pierogi stuffed with everything from mashed spuds to plums.
5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31; and noon to 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. Admission is $7. (773) 777-8898 or copernicuscenter.org/events.
Remix and mingle
Remix Chicago offers all things reused and recycled in a festival setting in one of the city's liveliest neighborhoods: Logan Square. Expect to see a variety of re-purposed arts and crafts. And don't miss the informative workshops, kids' activities, food vendors and live indie music. Make kites using streamers and tablecloths; learn basic bookbinding with the use of old cereal and food boxes for your own journals; re-purpose plastic grocery bags to make plastic yarn, which is crocheted to make sleeping mats for the homeless; create your own folk art of small mixed-media pieces made up of bottle caps, magazine images, jewelry and beads.
Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31, on Milwaukee Avenue between Fullerton and California avenues. Suggested admission donation is $5. (773) 433-8048 or remixchicago.com.
Straight through the art
Of course, it's hard to choose which of the continuous Chicago festivals to attend, so why not go by size? Artopia Fest says it's Chicago's largest indoor and outdoor music and art festival, completely filling the Chicago Urban Art Society with art, music and culture. Expect to see the works of more than 100 artists plus visual performances by Redmoon Theater. Plus, take in live art stations, yoga classes, body painting, interactive games for all ages, live music and stage performances and a top Chicago DJ spinning tunes. There's also a beer garden and food trucks like Bridgeport Pasty and the Pierogi Wagon to fuel your day. Free parking, too.
2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at the Chicago Urban Art Society, 600 W. Cermak Road. Admission is $6-$10. (773) 491-2927 or artopiachicago.com.
More than 600 musicians perform on 10 stages in LeMars, Iowa, during the National Old Time Country Bluegrass Festival. The 39th annual fest offers 10 stages of entertainment including performance by LuLu Roman from Hee Haw; John Carter Cash (the only child of Johnny and June Carter Cash); old-time country players Steve and Ruth Smith; the Harmonicats; Dirty River Ramblers from Nebraska; Lucky Susan Crowe, a country singer from New Zealand; and many more. Join in the barn dance, learn how to line dance or classic country dance, and attend the autoharp gathering, a cowboy and Western show or the old-time fiddler's jubilee. There are RV camping spots and lots of food available on the fest grounds.
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Aug. 25-28, and 9 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday, Aug. 29-31, in LaMars, Iowa. Admission is $15 per day Monday through Thursday and $20 per day Friday through Sunday; free for kids younger than 17. RV camping with electricity is $15 per day. Without electricity is $10 per day. (712) 762-4363 or www.ntcma.net/national-old-time-music-festival.php.
If all you know from Swiss is cheese, take a bite of out the 77th annual Wilhelm Tell Festival in New Glarus, Wisconsin. More than 200 costumed locals take the stage to celebrate Swiss Independence with extravagant performances of "Wilhelm Tell" in English and German. Little Heidi and Hans may like the children's lantern parade, yummy treats, street dance and sounds of alphorns just like in the old country. Browse the outdoor art fair and an array of one-of-a-kind shops.
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29; 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, in New Glarus, Wisconsin. Tickets for the Wilhelm Tell Pageant cost $5-$10. (800) 527-6838 or wilhelmtell.org.
Bangers and mash
Work on your Celtic 101 stage accent in anticipation of Long Grove Village Irish Days. All the bells and penny whistles include live music from Larkin and Moran Brothers, Gavin Coyle, Shannon Rovers Bagpipe Band, Baal Tinne, Joe Cullen and Kathleen Keane; folk song competitions; traditional Irish food and beverages; giveaways; a Sunday morning mass; best legs in a kilt competition; plenty of activities for the "wee" folk; and an Irish dog competition.
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday through Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, at Fountain Square in downtown Long Grove. Free. (847) 634-0888 or visitlonggrove.com.