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23 Festival Season Begins in Springfield

Old Capitol Art Fair

Spring is sprouting in Springfield as festival season begins, the parks come alive and visitors to the Capital City find an abundance of activities to enjoy during their stay.

Blossom Time Wildflower Hikes at Lincoln Memorial Gardens begin Sunday April 18th and continue Sundays through May 2.  The forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers and dogwood, crabapple and red bud trees at their peak of color at this 100-acre site designed by internationally known landscape architect Jens Jensen. The tours as well as the gardens are free.

The Old Capitol Art Fair and the Art of Illinois Wine Garden are a must see on May 15th and 16th around the Old State Capitol in historic downtown Springfield.  The Old Capitol Art Fair reigns as one of the most popular, juried art fairs in the country. Enjoy over 150 artists’ original works from jewelry, sculpture and photography to glassware, pottery, oils, watercolors and more. With activities for the kids, great music and food, the fair is a great event for the whole family. Admission is free.

The Art of Illinois Wine Garden takes place during the Old Capitol Art Fair and features 20 Illinois Wineries.  For the $10.00 admission, receive your commemorative wine glass and 5 sampling tickets. Wine is also available for purchase by the glass, bottle and case.

photo by gutweiler

For race fans, the Amateur TT Motorcycle, Springfield TT Motorcycle Races and Springfield Motorcycle Races promise fast-paced action and not stop thrills with the top riders in the country at the Illinois State Fairgrounds May 28th through 30th. See the action at the nation’s fastest dirt track.

Be sure to check the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Getaway Packages to help you plan your visit.

– Jeff Berg

Jeff wrote this post on behalf of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

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26 Shopping the boutiques in chicagos lincoln park

Armitage Ave. by Richie Diesterheft

There is nothing like the spring and summer seasons in Chicago.  Winter has passed, the sun shines brighter and the entire city comes to life.  This change in season also signals another important element – time to refresh your wardrobe!

Shopping in Chicago is one of my favorite pastimes – from the department stores and designer shops downtown to the charming neighborhood boutiques, there are always trends that inspire and designers that truly put Chicago on the map as a shopping destination.

A favorite shopping neighborhood of mine is Lincoln Park – just a quick taxi or train ride from the Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park is filled with trendy boutiques, fantastic restaurants and quaint, tree-lined streets.  You will feel like one of the locals while shopping this friendly, upscale neighborhood.

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27 help save cahokia mounds

Cahokia Mounds

There is hidden treasure in Illinois that has existed for centuries. More than 1,000 years ago, Cahokia was a city of large proportions. Covering nearly six square miles, between 10,000 and 20,000 people lived in the region and more than 120 mounds were built over time. The Cahokians thrived on the vast resources of the Mississippi River valley and made significant advances in agriculture, astronomy and economics. The metropolis thrived from A.D. 700 to 1400 and then they were gone…

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28 the art of IL wine festival

Looking for a way to taste some of the best of Illinois wine without spending a weekend driving all over the state?

The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA), Downtown Springfield Inc. (DSI), and the Old Capitol Foundation are teaming up again to offer the third annual Art of Illinois Wine Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 15 and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 16 in Downtown Springfield.

Featuring 20 Illinois wineries, the event is open to anyone 21 years of age or older and will be held at the southwest corner of Fifth and Jefferson Streets in downtown Springfield (map below).

Admission is $10, which includes a wine glass and five sampling tickets. Wine may also be purchased by the glass, bottle and case.

And if the wine alone isn’t enough to bring you for a visit, the festival is situated right next to the Old Capitol Art Fair.  Almost 50 years old, it’s one of the most popular, juried art fairs in the country, which was, “originally developed to contribute to the community’s cultural, social, and economic growth, the Fair has become an acknowledged success and a model for fairs in other cities.”

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29 Spring Snake Migration at La Rue-Pine Hills

Snake Road

Just north of Wolf Lake you will find Snake Road; the name says it all. The road is flanked by 350-foot tall bluffs on the east side and flatland swamps on the west. Snakes like to hibernate in the bluffs during the winter, but in the summer they feed in the swamps. This provides the answer to the age-old question, “Why did the snake cross the road?” During the spring nearly 35 species of snakes — and other reptiles and amphibians — migrate across the road to reach their summer habitats.

A two-and-a-half mile stretch of the Snake Road (also called LaRue Road or Forest Road 345) is closed to traffic from March 15 to May 15 for the snake migration. The road is still open to hiking but don’t expect to see hundreds of snakes wriggling across the road like some kind of bad horror movie. The migration is a slow process that lasts several weeks.

Interested in learning more about snake migration? Head down to Southern Illinois to catch a glimpse of these snakes and explore everything else the area has to offer.

LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area features the state’s greatest vegetative diversity. The massive Pine Hills bluff line borders the Big Muddy River and towers 300 feet above the LaRue Swamp. Prehistoric-looking Great Blue Heron soar silently above the swamp waters, hunting fish. In addition, Inspiration Point is a popular spot for viewing panoramic sunsets. The view is gorgeous and you can often see Bald Eagles and other birds of prey flying below.

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