Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss in Bloomington, IL

Girl Playing Violin in Bloomington St. Patricks Day Festival

If you're in the Bloomington, Illinois area, there are several events and festivals that offer fun, food, entertainment, and seasonal activities for the whole family. From arts and crafts to theater and parades, here's a list with all the details of the festivals you won't want to miss in Bloomington.

What Are Some Spring Season Events in Bloomington, IL?

Sharin' of the Green St. Patrick's Day Parade

Step up to the cause when you attend the annual St. Patrick's Day parade held in downtown Bloomington every March. The Children's Home and Aid and the Irish Heritage Society team together to host this annual event that features a variety of floats and green-inspired parade entertainment.

Medici's Country BBQ: Bourbon, Beer, and Bands

Every year in mid-May, the Medici's Country BBQ hosts the finest barbeque chefs at this event where you can fill up on some of the best barbeque food in Illinois. Sample some of Bloomington's finest craft beer and barrel-aged bourbon and enjoy a full evening packed with live music entertainment where you can choose to donate to some of Bloomington's community charities and causes. As fun as this annual one-night event sounds, it's mainly tuned to grown-up fun, so it's best to hire a babysitter for this one.

What's Going on in the Summer in Bloomington, IL?

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

If you're a history lover and a lover of stage productions, then the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is something you won't want to miss. It's held every year in Bloomington, Illinois from late June to early August and focuses on the art of theater. The festival features three main stage productions, free performances, and tons of community theater events throughout the summer, all held at the Theatre at Ewing in Bloomington. The Shakespeare Festival is also home to the Theater for Young Audiences, where families can watch performances for free.

The Festival features the Summer Camp for Youth program where students in grades one through 12 learn how to perform Shakespeare adaptations on stage. With the number of plays, musicals, and other performances the festival holds, you can enjoy the variety in summertime theater productions.

Sugar Creek Arts Festival

The Sugar Creek Arts Festival takes place in Uptown Normal, Illinois, and is an annual event that brings together eclectic arts, crafts, and unique jewelry finds. It's held every year on the second weekend in July, and if you attend this summer arts event, you can expect to find an array of fine arts and crafts.

The festival hosts a wide variety of food vendors, art vendors, live music performances, and art contests for local Bloomington and Illinois artists. Featuring products including recycled materials and mixed media, the Sugar Creek Arts Festival hosts over 100 talented artists whose work you'll see displayed throughout the festival grounds.

Lincoln's Festival on 66

The Lincoln's Festival on 66 is a three-day historical event held annually in July throughout the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois area. The festival features a variety of family-friendly historical presentations, reenactments, and walking tours along Route 66 in Bloomington-Normal. The festival's commemoration to Abraham Lincoln means special appearances by the sixteenth president himself as he gives presentations on the nation's history.

You can also head to the McLean County Museum of History during the event to see some of the exhibits they feature just for the festival. With so many exciting and educational things to do at this event, you can be sure the whole family finds something to enjoy.

What Are Some Must-See Fall Festivals in Bloomington, IL?

Sweet Corn Circus

The Sweet Corn Circus is held every year for three days at the end of August in the Uptown Normal area. If you like fresh, sweet corn, circus entertainment, and a flea market-like shopping vibe, then this early harvest festival is something you don't want to miss. The festival features thousands of ears of corn to choose from, unique arts and crafts vendors, food and drink vendors, and a variety of circus entertainment to enjoy.

Treat Feast

Every year on the last Thursday of October, the community of Uptown hosts the annual Treat Feast for kids and families to celebrate Halloween. The community streets are closed for this festival, where kids can dress up in costume and trick-or-treat around downtown Uptown's local shops. The businesses are open for the evening to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters, so the kids can celebrate the holiday in a safe and fun community environment. Walk around town and check out all the spooky characters and costumes or enjoy the many food options that vendors have available.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday happens every year after Black Friday in November. Get your holiday shopping started early by attending this one-day event in the downtown Bloomington-Normal area. All the local shops and businesses open their doors to customers looking for unique and interesting finds, including eclectic decor, handmade items, and fine jewelry. After shopping, you can enjoy a bite to eat at one of Bloomington's charming restaurants.

What Events Are There in Bloomington, IL, in the Winter?

Santa's Station

Santa's Station is a wonderful family-friendly holiday event that opens its doors on the first Saturday in December. Kids can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in their workshop throughout December. The event is held in the center of Uptown near the Children's Discovery Museum where kids can take pictures with Santa, visit with the elves, and take part in some holiday arts and crafts fun in the workshop.

Bloomington-Normal Jaycees Christmas Parade

The Bloomington-Normal Jaycees Christmas Parade takes place every first Saturday in December. The parade route starts at Kingsley Junior High School and ends in downtown Bloomington and features floats from the local community and its organizations. Bloomington residents can enter their floats or walk the parade for their organizations. You'll see Santa and his elves as well as a variety of other floats that follow a different theme each year.

And if you're celebrating the holiday season in the Bloomington-Normal area, be sure to stop in and visit us at Hustedt Jewelers to find the perfect gift for a loved one!

Image via Flickr by GoToVan.