Midwest travel: Pork party Cochon555 returns to Chicago April 24
Baconfest Chicago generally sells out, but there's room for your love of cured meat at the annual Bacon Month Kickoff party starting a month of bacon-themed events. This year's party features bacon, bocce, beats and booze. Your ticket gets you two Goose Island beers; two Chop Shop and Knife & Tine cocktails; passed bacon appetizers; and previews of some Baconfest dishes. Plus, play competitive bocce on indoor courts and enjoy music from DJRC. 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at The Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $30 at www.universe.com/events/bacon-bocce-beats-booze-bacon-monthkickoff-tickets-chicago-6KQXJD.
Snap up tastings of chef-prepared pork dishes at the eighth annual Cochon555, a culinary competition that this year is dedicated to Piggy Bank, a charity that brings awareness to socially responsible farming. The foodie event includes unique dinners, new pop-up experiences, an all-star chef lineup, and plenty of pork paired with wine, beer and spirits. Five chefs will create nearly 40 dishes while five winemakers offer pairings. Loews Chicago Hotel is the official host and hotel for the nose-to-tail culinary showdown celebrating family farms. 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Loews Chicago Hotel, 455 N. Park Drive, Chicago. Tickets cost $131 and are on sale at cochon555.com/2016-tour/chicago/.
Out of the Blu
That otherworldly hotel with the undulating architecture, Radisson Blu Aqua, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with special packages throughout the year. The Five Years of Blu & You package is a romantic opportunity to celebrate your own anniversary and includes: a Tiffany & Co. photo frame; business-class upgrade to 17th floor views in the business lounge with continental breakfast and evening beverage service; a chilled bottle of prosecco; and a $75 credit to Filini Bar & Restaurant to sup on homemade pastas and craft cocktails. Runs through 2016 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago. Rates start at $279 per night. Blackout dates apply. For reservations, book at radissonblu.com/en/aquahotel-chicago or (800) 333-3333.
Live from the Quad Cities
Quad Cities Live Month debuts in the river towns of Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, offering concerts, plays, Broadway performances, dance and comedy -- more than 90 events in all -- taking place at various venues during the month of April. Experience live classical music, rock, blues, folk, big band as well as comedy and burlesque shows. Theater fans should peruse the play schedule for performances like "Sheer Madness," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "My Favorite Year" and others. Comedy performances range from a lip sync battle to a late-night talk show on stage. Now through April 30 in the Quad Cities. Find event details at quadcitieslive.com.
Your roots are showing
The River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Festival is a free three-day festival located in the heart of downtown River Falls, Wisconsin. The weekend will kickoff with the third annual Beer & Wine Tasting. Then take in historic Main Street as you move from venue to venue for regional and local roots and bluegrass music all weekend. There will be free workshops and jam sessions; a singer/songwriter competition; Attic Treasures Appraisals; and a band contest. River Falls is 30 minutes east of St. Paul, Minnesota. April 8-10 in downtown River Falls, Wisconsin. (715) 425-2533 or riverfallsbluegrass.com/.
Bourbon and banter
Bardstown, known as the Bourbon Capital of the World, pours it on in spring. The Kentucky town with six distilleries, a whiskey history museum and a Bourbon Heritage Center has added another event: Bardstown's inaugural Cocktail Week. Master bartenders will concoct the perfect "Sparkling Bourbon Cocktail" using Kentucky bourbon as the main ingredient. The Judge's Choice winner will be named the Official Cocktail for Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which takes place in September. The Bardstown Sampler event will offer sips of Kentucky bourbon, small bites and branded specialty glasses. Wednesday through Saturday, April 27-30, in Bardstown, Kentucky. Visit visitbardstown.com/ for details about the event, accommodations and attractions.