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posted: 4/21/2013 6:00 AM

On the road: A taste of artisans' wares

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  • Cheesemaker Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm will be part of the Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival Saturday, April 27.

    Cheesemaker Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm will be part of the Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival Saturday, April 27.



Sampling artisans' wares

Meet more than 80 culinary artisans from around the country, sample their products and enjoy small batches of food, beer and wine at the Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival. The free event features cheesemongers from California, Indiana, Nebraska, Vermont, Oregon and other states; beers from local small-batch producers as well as from Germany, Belgium, England and the Netherlands; Pinot producers from Oregon and Illinois, along with vodka and whiskey distillers. Sample wares from French mustard makers, jam from Wisconsin and savories from meateries in Indiana and Utah. Scheduled events include book signings, Best of the Fest competitions and food demonstrations.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago. Free admission and sampling. (312) 226-4382 or

If these walls could talk

The landmark Palmer House Hilton has launched a museum showcasing the hotel's storied history of world leaders, heads of state, international celebrities and presidential campaigns ranging from James Garfield to Barack Obama. The History is Hott presentation and tour begins with a lunch, followed by a trip to the museum to see relics from the hotel's past and then a guided tour of the legendary lobby and grand ballrooms, many of which are normally closed to the public. The new museum presents rare documents, photographs, drawings and objects, as well as recently discovered masters of recordings made in the hotel's Empire and Victorian rooms.

Noon, Tuesday to Saturday, April 23-27, 17 E. Monroe, Chicago. Reservations for the tour and lunch are $60 per adult, $30 for ages 12-17 and $20 for kids under 12. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance by calling (312) 917-3404 or online at

Brainy, zany family fun

Take the kids to the University of Chicago campus for an afternoon of family-friendly interactive art workshops for ages 2 to 14. Local artists and art organizations, academic departments and student organizations will conduct workshops, which include Lego animations, First Steps with Hyde Park School of Dance, Camp DJ with Master Mix Academy and others.

2 p.m. Saturday, April. 27. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. Free, but registration is recommended. (773) 702-2787 or visit


Practice your best sulk

Motorcycles and all things James Dean will be at the center of Rollin' with Dean, a pop culture festival for fans of the actor and motor enthusiasts. Held on the front lawn of the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, the free event of art, music, dance and food is a public program of the museum's exhibition, "Eternal James Dean." There will be live music, a James Dean look-alike contest, a '50s contest and food trucks offering cupcakes, Hoosier pork tenderloin sandwiches, hand-dipped onion rings and homemade root beer.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at 650 W. Washington St. Free. Call (317) 232-1637 or

In the mood

Big Band music is in the air. Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wis., hosts an evening of vintage tunes courtesy of In The Mood, a 19-piece ensemble that performs original arrangements from the 1940s big band style. The evening includes a cash bar followed by dinner and dancing. The resort also offering a one-night lodging package, which includes the dance and dinner, and brunch the following morning for two. There also is two-night lodging package, which includes a round of golf for two.

6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at 2400 E. Geneva St. Tickets to dinner and the dance are $45 per person. One-night package includes $219; two-night package is $299 or $349. (800) 338-5253 or visit

Soup and sandwich

A childhood favorite is in the spotlight during the 2013 Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship in Mineral Point, Wis. Prizes are handed out in amateur, professional and young chefs divisions. There will be grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, beer, wine and soft drinks available for purchase all day long. Visit the Chubby Cheese Truck with the Gouda Girls and the Melthouse Bistro then get into live country rock music from Ben Biser and the Whiskey River Band. Exhibitors include Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Boar's Head, Green County Cheese Days and Wisconsin Cheese Originals.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Iowa County Fairgrounds in Mineral Point. Free admission. (608) 987-3490 or

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