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posted: 2/11/2017 7:00 AM

Midwest travel: Roll out the barrel(s) for Oak & Iron beer tasting in Chicago

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  • The sixth annual Oak & Iron beer tasting at Jerry's in Chicago features a bevy of barrel-aged brews on tap, medieval attire and sword-fighting cinema Thursday, Feb. 16.

    The sixth annual Oak & Iron beer tasting at Jerry's in Chicago features a bevy of barrel-aged brews on tap, medieval attire and sword-fighting cinema Thursday, Feb. 16.

  • Camel rides in winter? Yes, the Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., offers them.

    Camel rides in winter? Yes, the Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., offers them.
    Courtesy of Shelby Chmielewski

  • Watch ice-carving demonstrations as part of the 43rd Annual Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., Feb. 18-19.

    Watch ice-carving demonstrations as part of the 43rd Annual Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., Feb. 18-19.
    Courtesy of Shelby Chmielewski

  • Warm up with chili samples during the chili cook-off at the Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., Feb. 18-19.

    Warm up with chili samples during the chili cook-off at the Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., Feb. 18-19.
    Courtesy of Shelby Chmielewski

 
By Jacky Runice
Daily Herald Correspondent

Chicago

Oak, iron and beer

Jerry's sixth annual Oak & Iron beer tasting features barrel-aged brews on tap, plus medieval attire and sword-wielding cinema. Count on obscure and cult classic fantasy films from the '70s and '80s along with staff in costume. Guests are encouraged to dress up in a medieval or fantasy costume, from Vikings to knights to "Game of Thrones" characters. The beer list includes rare selections like Bruery Melange #14, Goose Island Bourbon County Proprietor's and 2014 Revolution Deth's Tar. 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Feb. 16, at Jerry's, 4739 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (872) 208-6264 or jerryssandwiches.com/.

Presidential sweet

The Chicago History Museum celebrates American presidents with performances, crafts and more during the museum's annual family-friendly Presidents Day event. Highlights include a performance by the Chicago Brass Band and a production of "Meeting the Lincolns" by With Lincoln Productions. First Lady Mary Todd and President Lincoln will speak about their youth, education and the struggles of the Civil War, followed by a Q&A session. See the exhibit "Lincoln's Undying Words" before it closes to the public. Admission is free for Illinois residents on Presidents Day. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. (312) 642-4600 or chicagohistory.org/.

The "Shades of Gray" package includes the essentials for a romantic evening in the heart of Chicago at The Gray hotel. The special runs through Feb. 28.
The "Shades of Gray" package includes the essentials for a romantic evening in the heart of Chicago at The Gray hotel. The special runs through Feb. 28. - Courtesy of The Gray
Gray area

Gray is hot -- in fashion, a certain series of books and films and a new Chicago hotel. Set in a historic building, The Gray is offering a "Shades of Gray" package, inspired by the release of "50 Shades Darker." It includes two custom ties from men's accessory purveyor The Tie Bar; an elegantly prepared soaking tub accompanied by mood lighting; a bottle of prosecco; and a deluxe romance kit. Enhance your stay with add-ons like massage for two in-room; a Chicago Helicopter ride for two; dinner for two; craft cocktails for two in the rooftop lounge; two pairs of custom Gray slippers and robes; and live jazz music available in suite. Now through Feb. 28 at The Gray, 122 W. Monroe St., Chicago. Rates begin at $160. Make reservations at (877) 771-7031 or grayhotelchicago.com/.

Midwest

Kids can enjoy outdoor bowling at the 43rd Annual Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis.
Kids can enjoy outdoor bowling at the 43rd Annual Winter Festival in Cedarburg, Wis. - Courtesy of Shelby Chmielewski
Snow falling on cedars

The 43rd Annual Winter Festival in downtown Cedarburg, Wisconsin, this year sports a Mardi Gras theme with an ice-carving contest, hay rides, live music, a grand parade, a chili cook-off, a pancake breakfast, music, refreshments and more. See 300-pound blocks of ice transformed into Big Easy-inspired art and, while strolling through downtown and the Cedar Creek Settlement, stop into shops and studios, some offering crafts and activities for the fest. Plus, the Cedarburg History Museum hosts its grand opening Saturday, Feb. 18. During the fest, enjoy complimentary Cedar Crest ice cream in the old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts hosts a "make and take" along with coffee, cocoa and a sweets bar on Saturday. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. For a schedule, call (888) 894-4001 or see cedarburgfestival.org/winter-festival.

Color the Wind Festival 2017 features kite ballets choreographed to music on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Color the Wind Festival 2017 features kite ballets choreographed to music on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Clear Lake, Iowa. - Courtesy of Color the Wind Festival
Fly like the wind

On the third Saturday in February, serious kite fliers from at least nine states will descend on Clear Lake, Iowa, to brighten the sky with massive kites above the frozen lake. Color the Wind 2017 features spaceship kites, galloping horses, "Whiskers" the cat, 60-foot whales, "Buddy" the 40-foot Teddy Bear plus many more. Stunt kite teams 180GO and Fire and Ice will perform kite ballets choreographed to music throughout the day. Bring your own kite to join the fun out on the ice or purchase one from the kite shop. Warm up with hot food and drinks at the lunch wagon. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in downtown Seawall, 10 N. Lakeview Drive, Clear Lake, Iowa. Free. (641) 355-3735 or colorthewind.org/.

See one of the largest public collections of contemporary artist-made teapots in the U.S. at the Racine Art Museum now through July 9.
See one of the largest public collections of contemporary artist-made teapots in the U.S. at the Racine Art Museum now through July 9. - Courtesy of the Racine Art Museum
I'm a little teapot

"Downton Abbey" and art and ceramics fans might want to head to the Racine Art Museum during the "Variations on a Theme: Teapots From RAM's Collection" exhibit. One of the largest public collections of contemporary artist-made teapots in the U.S., the exhibit celebrates an object rich with history and meaning for contemporary artists. Visitors can vote for their favorite teapot among the 350 versions. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through July 9 at the Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St., Racine, Wisconsin. Admission is $3-$5; free for kids younger than 12. (262) 638-8300 or ramart.org/.

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