This weekend, Chicago has a lot going on. There's Jazz Fest near the lake, the North Coast Music Festival in Union Park, a psychedelic art exhibit at the MCA and Second City will give its last Old Town tour of the year. But if you're looking to get out of town this Labor Day weekend (and don't mind waiting in traffic) you're just a short road trip away from some fun Midwestern events.
On the Waterfront
About 90 miles northwest of the city, Rockford will be rocking all weekend. Their annual "On the Waterfront" festival takes up 30 city blocks and will bring Billy Idol, American Idol's Adam Lamber, the Verve Pipe and a few dozen more musical acts to the town. You can also expect full-blow carnival fare--including rides, food, games and fireworks. The festival started Thursday night and runs through Sunday night. For the full lineup and directions, click here. A 3-day pass is only $15.
Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Fest
If you have an afternoon to kill over the long weekend, northwest suburban Lake in the Hills is holding their annual Summer Sunset Fest. Efforts will be made to create the world's "largest soda float" and there will also be a large, melon-flinging device on hand. Plus music, food, a beer garden and classic cars. Festival is open Friday 3 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunset Park, Miller and Albrecht Rds., Lake in the Hills, IL.
Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival
Do you know what "cow chips" are? Well, they are dry, odorless pieces of cow dung. Yum! Well, according to the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival website, the chips were used by some of the Midwest's first settlers as fuel, and for years they used the precious pieces of dung to "cook their food and warm their homes." Now, there is a cow-chip parade, a cow-chip throwing contest and an entire festival in their honor. Crafts, food and beer will also be available. Just wash your hands when you're done with the chips, will ya? The festival is about 175 miles out of Chicago. Friday 5 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Marion Park, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.
Taste of Madison
Madison is a seriously cool Wisconsin city. It is a college town and the state's capitol--with no shortage of delicious places to eat. This Labor Day weekend, the Taste of Madison will be showcasing the city's best eats--with 75 local restaurants and 20 beverage stands. If you ditched the Taste of Chicago because of the crowds and cost, this is a great option--with most food items under $4. Lisa Loeb is also performing, among others. Saturday 2 to 8:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Capitol Square.
Any other Midwestern Labor Day events worth noting? Let us know in the comments section!