Midwest travel: Sample meats, cheeses at artisan festival
Take in Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine's fifth annual Artisan Producer Festival at the Chicago French Market, one of the largest free events of its kind in the Midwest. Nearly 100 small-batch producers of craft food and beverages exhibit and share cheese, charcuterie, confections, beer, wine and spirits throughout the day. Try cheese and chocolate from Wisconsin and wine from California and Italy while watching demos on everything from curing meat to the raw food movement. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago. Metra offers an $8 weekend pass that includes unlimited rides for the weekend. Kids younger than 11 ride for free. pastoralartisan.com.
When you hear those first seven notes of the theme from "The Godfather," you can understand the considerable connection between film and music. To celebrate that wonderful relationship, the seventh annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival offers four days of 99 films and live bands. Taking place at various venues around the city -- from rock at the Abbey Pub to blues at Rosa's Lounge -- the fest also screens fantastic music-related films, including a documentary "Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll" and "How Sweet the Sound: The Blind Boys of Alabama." Thursday through Sunday, April 16-19, at various venues. Costs range from free to $75. For a schedule, go to cimmfest.org or call (773) 904-5035.
Selling the sizzle
Baconfest Chicago celebrates the cured meat with top Chicago chefs concocting and dishing up dazzling bacon dishes to thousands of ardent bacon lovers. Liquor sponsors provide adult beverages that pair with bacon and various bacon-y brands exhibit their wares. There are three separate sessions with different restaurants at each session: dinner on Friday and lunch and dinner on Saturday. A panel of judges bestows the Golden Rasher awards on chefs and guests for achievement in the land of crispy pork products. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 17, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 18 (a third day may be added on Sunday, depending on demand) at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. Tickets are $100-$200. baconfestchicago.com.
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency sites across the state commemorate the 150th anniversaries of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Lincoln (which occurred less than a week apart from each other). Highlights include a new exhibition of artifacts related to Lincoln's assassination and funeral showing at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield; theater and music performances; an outdoor ceremony on the anniversary of Lincoln's death; and ceremonies at the Lincoln Tomb to mark the anniversary of his funeral. Now through May 4 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. On April 19, there's free admission to the museum. For a complete schedule, see presidentlincoln.gov.
Dairy home companion
There's no need to wait until summer for a fine Midwestern food fest: The annual Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival in Kenosha offers some of the most notable beer and cheese from around the state of Wisconsin. Live music by Bella Cain, Squeezettes, Matt Meyer, B Natural, Mitch Mayer and John Devlin will keep things lively. And knowing that your ticket benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha should encourage the short drive just five minutes over the Illinois-Wisconsin border. 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at The Brat Stop, 12304 75th St., Kenosha, Wisconsin (at the intersection of Highway 50 and I-94). Tickets cost $45 in advance, $50 at the door. All purchases include a beer glass. Go to kenoshabeerfest.com for details on the fest and local hotels that are offering room/ticket packages.
Here's the rub
Men need kneading, too. So Kohler Waters Spa is unveiling The Woodsman Massage and The Rain Man so they can also get the benefits of a wellness experience. To appeal to the growing audience of male spa-goers, the Spa at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, offers the Woodsman Massage to increase circulation, range of motion and decrease muscular pain, tension and inflammation -- perfect for guys who just walked off the golf course. The Rain Man uses the KOHLER Custom Vichy Shower with the scent of John Michael Kohler products, as well as warm stone treatments on the back and feet. Other new treatments include the water-based service, Magical Magnesium, and the Bamboo Bliss, which utilizes warm bamboo. Kohler Waters Spa is located at 501 Highland Drive, Kohler, Wisconsin. Rates vary. (800) 344-2838 or KohlerWatersSpa.com.