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Photo courtesy of the International Institute of St. Louis

The best is yet to come: Local events to catch before the summer ends.

The Fourth of July holiday may be over, but that doesn’t mean summer is. In fact, it’s just getting started. Some of the best events – from county fairs to cultural festivals – take place later in summer. To help you make the most of the rest of your summer, we’ve compiled a list of events in each of the major areas where we’re located. Take a look and see if there’s a new event or old favorite you’ll want to attend this summer.

Central Illinois


Music Under the Stars – Tuesday evenings until August 7 – Head down to the bandstand for concerts in a range of music styles.

Normal CornBelters games – Various dates until September 2 – Catch a game and some fun at family-friendly events at the stadium.

Franklin Park Concerts – July 19 & 26 – Conductor Michael Wallace leads the Community Concert Band for some free concerts.

Lincoln’s Festival on 66 – July 20-22 – Celebrate Lincoln’s legacy with a festival lineup as tall as the man himself.

Inside Out Arts Fair – July 21 – After making your own bracelet or glass globe, grab some food and enjoy live entertainment for a fun day in Sugar Grove Nature Center.

McLean County Fair – August 1-5 – Summer isn’t complete without a spin around the ferris wheel and a carnival corn dog.

Sweet Corn Blues Festival – August 25-26 – Have a fun weekend with the family enjoying sidewalk sales, blues music, food and – of course – corn.

Day of the Dozer – August 25 – Your child can tap their inner Bob the Builder for a day with a chance to operate a bulldozer.


Champaign-Urbana Days – August 11 – Join the Chambana community in Douglass Park for a Saturday of live music, food and activities for all ages.

Mahomet Music Festival – August 24-25 –Held in downtown Urbana, the festival includes live music, food and all the corn you’ll ever need.


Peoria Chiefs games – Various dates until August 31 – From Movie Mondays to Family Sundays, the Chiefs have your summer weeks covered.

Heart of Illinois Fair – July 17-21 – Celebrate the best Central Illinois has to offer at the Heart of Illinois Fair.

Central Illinois BBQ Throwdown – July 20-21 – Who’s the BBQ master? You’ll be the judge in the people’s choice sampling event.

Taste of Peoria – August 8 – Wear your loosest pants in preparation for this block party of music and food from the best local restaurants.

Ignite Peoria – August 11 – Get hands-on with a day of STEAM-inspired, creative activities.

Peoria Irish Fest – August 24-26 – In between the games and shows, catch the historic Highland Games during this weekend of Celtic culture.

Peoria Blues and Heritage Festival– August 31-September 1 – Enjoy shows from Blues artists known around the world.

Central Missouri


Concerts in the Gardens – July 15 & 22 – Catch the last few dates of the annual Shelter Gardens music series.

Family Fun Fests – July 18, August 15, September 19 – On the third Wednesday of each month, Family Fun Fest provides family-friendly activities along a theme. July’s focus is on fitness, August’s theme is “Around the World,” and September will be all about creativity.

Heritage Festival – September 15-16 – Watch as history comes alive with cowboys, traditional tradesmen and handmade craft activities.

Movies in the Park– July 13, August 10, September 14 - Head to Cosmo Park for a free movie under the stars, with “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in July and “Coco” in August.

MidMo PrideFest – August 25 – Celebrate the LGBTQIA community with live entertainment, food and community organizations.

Ozark Empire Fair – July 26-August 4 – Spend a day – or 10 – at the fair enjoying the sea lion show, petting zoo, free music and more.

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival – August 10-11 – Revel in the spirit of Route 66 with a car show, motorcycle show, parade, live music and more.

Midwest Dweller Craft Market – August 24 – Browse more than 30 Midwest artists’ work at Urban Roots farm.

Kansas City

WeekEnder Series – Friday evenings until August 3 – Everyone knows dinner and a movie makes the perfect Friday night date. Crown Center has you more than covered, with live music, food trucks and a movie.

Fringe Festival – July 19-29 – See something you’ve never seen before, from innovative artists from across the country and world.

Festival of Butterflies – July 27-29, August 3-5, August 10-12 – Alight on Powell Gardens for all the butterfly magic you can hope for.

Johnson County Fair – July 29-August 4 – It’s not summer until you’ve been to the fair, and Johnson County Fair is here to make sure your summer is complete.

Ethnic Enrichment Festival – August 17-19 – See more than 60 cultures come together for a weekend of delicious food and ethnic music and dance.

Kansas City Irish Fest – Labor Day Weekend (September 1-3) – Step into a weekend of Celtic Pride and seven stages of fun.

Art Westport – September 7-9 – Browse the work of 150 different local artists.

Plaza Art Fair – September 21-23 – Art, music, food and community come together for a weekend of fun.

St. Louis/Metro East

Faust Summer Concert Series – Tuesday evenings until August 14 – Grab a snack from a food truck before settling in for a free concert in Faust Park.

Jungle Boogie Friday Night Concert Series – Friday evenings until August 31 – Have you ever waltzed with a walrus? Now’s your chance at Boogie Nights at St. Louis Zoo.

Whitaker Music Festival – Wednesday evenings until August 31 – Pack a picnic and enjoy free live music while lounging in the Botanical Garden.

International Institute’s Festival of Nations – August 25-26 – Picture yourself browsing the international bazaar with an empanada or spring roll in hand before catching a performance of authentic Japanese dance.

Big Muddy Blues Festival – Labor Day Weekend (September 1-3) – Celebrate St. Louis’ rich blues music history with a weekend of over 50 local bands.

Annual Japanese Festival – Labor Day Weekend (September 1-3) – Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Japan with food, dance and activities in the Botanical Garden.

Gateway Cup – Labor Day Weekend (September 1-3) – Get a taste of the Tour de France, with four days of high-intensity bike races around St. Louis neighborhoods.

Saint Louis Art Fair – September 7-9 – Browse the work of artists from across the country (and even Canada).

Great Forest Park Balloon Race – September 14-15 – Anyone who's told you this festival is anything short of amazing is full of hot air.


Intertribal Indian Club of Tulsa Pow Wow of Champions – August 11-13 – Enjoy a weekend full of traditional dances, arts and crafts, and food.

Just Between Friends – August 19-25 – Get ready for back-to-school with some discount shopping at this lightly-used clothing sale.

Utsav-Discover India – August 25 – Transport yourself to India with cultural activities, food and more.

Tulsa Reining Classic – August 27-September 2 – See which rider will be named reigning champion in this high-energy event.

Tulsa Greek Festival – September 20-23 – This four-day event full of Greek food, dancing and fun will have you saying “Opa!” in no time.


Automobilia’s Moonlight Car Show and Street Party – July 14 – Downtown Wichita will host eight live bands for you to enjoy after visiting the food and vendor courts and enjoying the model car and bike contests.

Drums Across Kansas – July 16 – Watch as competitive drum corps from across the country leave it all on the field.

Wichita Maker Faire – July 21-22 – Join inventors and tinkerers as they share their experiments and creations at the Exploration Place.

Kansas Shrine Bowl – July 28 – Catch this high school all-star game and parade and support the Shriners Hospital for Children at the same time.

Kansas State Fair – September 8-17 – Carnival rides, concerts, butter sculptures – what more could you need this summer?

Of course, there’s even more events than this, and we can’t catch them all. If there’s one we missed, post on our Facebook page or shoot us a tweet on Twitter to tell us. Before you head to one of the events listed above, please refer to the hosting organization’s website for the most up-to-date information.

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