Midwest travel: Chicago Improv Fest brings the funny to Windy City
A guy walks into a bar …
Between the moody weather and muddy politics, it's no wonder improvisational comedy got its start in Chicago. It all comes together during the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Improv Festival when a diverse collection of performers (145 ensembles) perform at venues around the city. See emerging comic actors as well as well-known types like Jon Barinholtz ("Superstore"); pop-culture pundits and improv duo Frangela; Dan Harmon, creator of the TV show "Community"; Scott Adsit ("30 Rock," "Big Hero 6"); and Rob Belushi ("How I Met Your Mother," "Sorority Row"). There are plenty of suburban-born improvisers performing including cast members of I'm a Turtle and Wheaton-based Buzz's Girlfriend. Don't miss the Laser Comedy Show, a one-man show featuring Chris Fair, who grew up in St. Charles, and Therapy Players, a group made up of professional psychotherapists from Berwyn, Brookfield, Elmhurst, Evanston, Northbrook and Oak Park. The theme for this year's festival is "No Ban on Fun!" Monday through Sunday, March 27-April 2. Shows are held at Stage 773, The Annoyance Theatre, the Athenaeum Theatre and Second City's e.t.c. Theater. Ticket prices range from $5-$25. For details, visit chicagoimprovfestival.org/.
Macy's free annual floral festival sprouts at the State Street store March 26-April 9.
Blue bonnets and buttercups
Macy's free annual floral festival sprouts once again at Macy's on State Street. The theme of this year's exhibition is Carnival so expect a visual extravaganza of brilliantly hued flora expertly landscape into lush gardens that bring the magic of Carnival to life. Walk through the display and notice favorite carnival classics including bumper cars, fun house, concession stand and games created from more than 5,000 types of flowers and plants. Thousands of live flowers, plants and trees from around the globe take root in unexpected settings including the Walnut Room Fountain and throughout the store. Open during regular store hours Sunday, March 26, through Sunday, April 9, at Macy's, 111 N State St., Chicago. Call the Macy's Flower Show Hotline at (212) 494-4495 or visit macys.com/flowershow.
Try bacon-wrapped chicken wings and many more smoky treats at Baconfest 2017 March 31-April 2.
- Courtesy of Anne Petersen
Hold the lettuce and tomato
You know that guy who is always saying, "Everything is better with bacon?" Do us all a favor and take him to Baconfest Chicago where the city's best chefs fashion fabulous bacon dishes for thousands of cured meat lovers. There are cocktails, beer and wine drinks to complement your salty sojourn and vendors exhibit bacon-fueled items. Tickets include: access to the chef area and tasting portions; seven drink tickets (although there are bacon-only tickets); access to Baconfest's exhibiting sponsors and partners who provide samples of bacon products; a tote bag; and up to $10 in LYFT credit. 7 to 10 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP) Friday, March 31, and noon to 3 p.m. (11 a.m. VIP) and 7 to 10 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP) Saturday, April 1, at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. General Admission tickets cost $100 plus fees; VIP tickets are $200 plus fees. See baconfestchicago.com/.
Rootin', tootin', shootin'
The National Congress of Old West Shootists (NCOWS) convention rolls into the Quad Cities beckoning historical re-enactors, cowboy shooters and Old West enthusiasts of the time period from 1865 to 1899. Convention events include an Old West Show and Sale with various vendors offering period clothing, firearms (both reproduction and antique), leather, books, period collectibles and more. Attend a Ladies Tea, an Indoor Western Action Shoot at the Davenport Guns & Shooting Club and seminars from the Evolution of the Colt Pistol to the life and times of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Most attendees don historical clothing throughout the weekend, so expect to see a wagon train of colorful characters. Friday through Sunday, March 24-26, at the Radisson Quad City Plaza, Davenport, Iowa. A one-day pass, payable at the door, is $5, which gets you into the show, sale and seminars held that day. See sweetwaterregulators.com/2017_NCOWS_Convention.html.
The National Congress of Old West Shootists (NCOWS) convention rolls into the Quad Cities March 24-26.
Stay thirsty, my friend
The 2017 Lake Geneva Festival of Wine promises samples of more than 100 wines during its Grand Tasting as well as a weekend full of entertainment, live chef demonstrations, elegant wine dinners, paint 'n' sip sessions, nature walks and morning yoga with mimosas. The main event is the Grand Tasting offering samples of wine, premium meats, cheeses and chocolates. Combine the Grand Tasting with a weekend package to get the most out of your vintage experience. Friday through Sunday, March 31-April 2, at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Grand Tasting is $75 per person, check online for the costs of other activities. Call about overnight packages: (800) 558-3417 or see grandgeneva.com/.
Avani Spa, located within The Abbey Resort on Geneva Lake, has been named one of the Top 100 Spas of 2016 and one of the Top 10 Lake Spa experiences in North America by travel directory Spas of America. Just an hour or two drive from most points in Chicago and the suburbs, Avani Spa is currently featuring seasonal coconut lime treatments, including massages, body scrubs, facials, manicures and pedicures. Relax by the expansive atrium pool and consider an overnight stay for an indulgent or necessary getaway close to home. Avani Spa is at The Abbey Resort, 269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana, Wisconsin. Get details about available treatments and services by calling (800) SPA-1000 or visiting theabbeyresort.com/spa. To make a reservation, call (800) 709-1323 or visit theabbeyresort.com/special-pkg/seasonal-specials.aspx.