Your days of cabin fever are at an end-and that can only mean one thing...it's time to enjoy the spring in charming McHenry County. Get back outside and take in one of the Chicago area's best spring destinations.
Whether you're planning your next weekend getaway, or just a fun drive through the country, McHenry County is the place to be this spring. Smell the fresh flowers at one of our state parks, or grab a great meal on the patio at any of our famous culinary destinations.
Springtime is also the season for events! Our calendar is loaded with tons of festivals and special events to help you get the most out of your visit. Sample some freshly sapped maple syrup at the Festival of the Sugar Maples, in Marengo, or get competitive - and muddy - at the famous Tough Mudder, held annually in Richmond. Whether you prefer a relaxing day by the lake or a crazy day in the mud, come enjoy the springtime in beautiful McHenry County.
Great Events Happen in McHenry County
We don't take our springtime lightly. That's why we pack the spring with plenty of exciting events to help you enjoy your time. Whether you're searching for something exciting, relaxing, or a little quirky, you'll find it here in this great Chicago area spring escape. Check out our list of some of the top events in McHenry County.
The long winter months are gone, so its time to get outside and stretch those legs. These events will get you off the couch and back into high gear.
Tough Mudder: May 9, 10. This crazy event is recognized world-round as one of the most intense team fitness challenges of its kind. "Mudders" from across the state - and even the country - will gather in McHenry County to compete in this 10-12 mile team-oriented obstacle course. And this course isn't about the time-it's all about the team. Bringing people together and working towards a goal is the heart of Tough Mudder. If that sounds like your cup of-er-mud, then this is the event for you.
Mudderella: May 30. A Tough Mudder style challenge, Mudderella is a 5-7 mile muddy obstacle course designed with women in mind. Imagine 5-10 of your closest girlfriends climbing over piles of mud toward a hard earned finish line-if that gets your mud flowing, we'll see you at Mudderella this spring! And don't worry, men are invited to join too!
Woodstock Krazy Color 5K: May 30. Fancy a little psychedelic flavor in your 5K? Check out Woodstock this spring? The Krazy Color 5K offers runners the chance to be doused in all their favorite colors as they run the 3.1 miles to the finish line. This race is a Krazy good time.
Theater has always been part of our heritage here in McHenry County. From Orson Welles to Bill Murray, McHenry County has been the stage to theater history for years. So it's no surprise that we have plenty of theatre troupes ready to keep our visitors entertained during the spring months.
TownSquare Players: Resident theater company of the Woodstock Opera House,
the TownSquare Players are currently celebrating their 45th anniversary. You can catch them this March performing the Drowsy Chaperone, a hit Broadway musical about musical-theatre fanatics. The present day main character reflects on his favorite musical, Drowsy, as the audience is magically transported to its 1920's musical world. Check out the Woodstock Opera House for a complete list of dates and prices.
The Woodstock Musical Theater Company: Founded in 1974, this fun theatre company is sister to the TownSquare Players, sharing the stage of the Woodstock Opera House. This company puts on several shows throughout the year. In April, make sure to stop in for WMTC's production of Oliver! This beloved classic runs April 10-26. Tickets can be purchased through the Woodstock Opera House box office.
William Street Repertory: An energetic bunch, this independent theatre company seeks to bring engaging and invigorating productions to McHenry County. In their own words: they hope by the end of each production "you'll feel as if you've been to some sort of on-stage day spa with a body scrub of both the comic and tragic." Come out in April to enjoy WSR's production of A Streetcar Named Desire! You can also enjoy their improv productions scheduled throughout the spring season. For a full list of show times and prices, visit the Raue Center for the Arts online.
Fresh off the Farm
Toward the end of spring, there's always one thing our visitors are looking forward to-farmers markets. McHenry County is full of great farms growing even greater produce, and you can get your hands on a little of all of it. Our farmers markets are some of the best in the state. Come see for yourself!
Woodstock Farmers Market: Named the #1 farmers market in Illinois by the American Farmland Trust and #1 in McHenry County by the Best of the Fox. This exceptional market features great live music and everything from veggies, fruits and cheeses, to hand-spun yarn, desserts and seedlings for your garden. All items are grown or produced by the vendor, and the market manager inspects each vendor to ensure the market's integrity. Woodstock Farmers Market opens for its summer season May 2 on Historic Woodstock Square.
Huntley Farmers Market: Opens May 23 on the Huntley Square in downtown Huntley. This market features an amazing variety of homegrown fruits and veggies, eggs, honey, baked goods, farm-raised meats, fresh roasted coffee and so much more. While you're visiting, you'll be able to enjoy live music, and a host of special events throughout the season.
Stade's Farm and Market: Pronounced Stah-dee-s, say it correctly and you'll blend right in. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Stade's offers produce picked fresh from the farm.
Farms Opening in June:
Cary Farmers Market: Opening June 2nd, visitors will find fresh fruits and veggies, as well as specialty canned items, dressings and more. Stop in the first Sunday of the month for a free bag to the first 100 shoppers.
Crystal Lake Farmers Market: Opening June 3rd, in Downtown Crystal Lake, this farmers market is easily accessible, right off the Metra.
McHenry Farmers Market: Opening June 5th, stop in for produce, beef and baked goods, as well as handmade works from local crafters and artisans.
Festivals and Celebrations
Festival of the Sugar Maples: March 7, 8, 14 & 15. Held annually in Coral Woods Conservation Area - one of the few remaining sugar maple groves in the country - the Festival of the Sugar Maples is a celebration of all things maple. The hour long tour begins with a history lesson on how Native Americans developed the process of maple sugaring, and how that process has adapted over the years. Visitors will witness the process of maple sugaring first hand, with the tour culminating in what else-maple syrup tastings. Bottles of maple syrup and spiles are available at the end of the tour for purchase.
Fair Diddley: May 17. Fair Diddley is held annually the Sunday after Mother's Day. This is a craft show for even the non-crafty types. Enjoy everything from hand-spun pottery, to fine art and wood carvings as well as everything you 'd expect from a hometown festival, from food vendors to balloon art. Hosted by the Mental Health Resource League. Admission is free. Located in Historic Woodstock Square.
Orson Welles 100th Birthday Celebration: May 6-23. When asked in 1960 where he considered home, Orson Welles claimed a very proud Woodstock IL. Fast-forward 55 years and that same proud town is throwing him the birthday party of a lifetime. Organized by Woodstock Celebrates, Orson Welles 100th Birthday Celebration will feature speakers, galas and special screenings of Orson's films. Join us in May to celebrate one of film's greatest treasures and McHenry County's greatest residents.
Other Great Spring Events
Orson Welles was an acclaimed actor, director and creator of some of the century's greatest performance art, directing and appearing in such works as Citizen Kane (1941) and the notorious War of the Worlds radio program. True movie buffs can catch references to his time at Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, during his film The Strangers (1946).
A Celebration of Wildflowers and Art: May 9. Held at the Coral Woods Conservation Area, the free event combines the beauty of the spring season with a lively and engaging art festival. Enjoy Plein Air artist "paint out" along with wildflower hikes, live music, food and plenty of family activities.
Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Campus Classes: On April 11, learn the where and how of starting your own vegetable garden outdoors. Insect identification, as well as planting calendars and gardening tips will be discussed.
Spring Flowers Sale: May 10. Moms are great. Come celebrate yours with some beautiful flowers from Countryside Flower Shop and Nursery. Proceeds go to help the Downtown CL Association and the Lupus Foundation. Located in Downtown Crystal Lake.