15 Chicago Food Events to Dig Into This August

Meredith Francis
Ribs on a grill
Ribfest Chicago returns this August. Image: Steven E. Gross / Ribfest Chicago

This August, expand your palate with food events that feature a variety of main ingredients — including garlic, corn, ribs, and sangria. Whether you’re looking to drink a beer while browsing the zoo, or in search of a food event that celebrates vegetarians, there’s an event for you in or around Chicago this month.

1. Margarita Night

August 3 | Everts Park, Highwood
Lean into the theme of this margarita festival in Highwood. People are encouraged to dress in their favorite Jimmy Buffet gear as they indulge in margaritas, Mexican food, key lime pie, and more.

2. Food Truck Thursdays

August 4, 11, 18, 25 | Jens Jensen Park, Highland Park
Every Thursday this summer until September 8, try out a variety of food trucks at Jens Jensen Park in Highland Park. The event always begins at 4:30 pm and lasts until dusk.

3. Chicago Brewing District’s Dancing in the Streets

August 5-7 | 1700-1800 Hubbard Street, between Paulina and Wood
This West Town event boasts “hot jams and cold brews,” with a nod towards the Grateful Dead. Try out over a dozen craft beers, from breweries like On Tour Brewing Company, Great Central Brewing, Goose Island, and more. Food will also be available from local restaurants and food trucks.

4. Festa Italiana

August 5-7 | Naper Settlement, Naperville
Enjoy Italian food, music, and culture at Festa Italiana in Naperville. It features a Tuscan-style wine bar, along with a meatball eating contest.

5. Old Irving Park Beer & BBQ Challenge

August 6 | 3644 N. Kedvale Avenue
This BBQ and beer event pairs brewers and pitmasters from Chicago. Attendees can sample a local craft beer, grab a bite of BBQ, and vote on their favorite pairing.

6. Garlic Fest

August 17 | Everts Park, 111 North Avenue, Highwood
If you add heaps of garlic to your pasta sauce, this might be the food festival for you. Garlic Fest is part of the Highwood Evening Gourmet Market and promises a “stinking good time” and a variety of garlic dishes, ranging from garlic-infused cocktails and cookies to sandwiches, sauces, and more.

7. Ribfest Chicago

August 19-21 | Lincoln Avenue, Damen Avenue, and Irving Park Road
Some 50,000 pounds of pork will be served up at the annual RibFest Chicago. Taste ribs from over 30 vendors, who will compete for either “Best Ribs” or “People’s Choice” awards. The festival also highlights indie music performers and offers a kids’ area for younger BBQ enthusiasts.

8. Vegetarian Fest

August 20 | The Lot, Highland Park
Looking for a meatless festival? Explore vegetarian options from around Chicagoland at Vegetarian Fest in Highland Park, in addition to music, meditation and yoga sessions, and cooking demonstrations.

9. Sangria Festival

August 20-21 | Humboldt Park
Sip on sangria at this festival in Humboldt Park. The event includes food from vendors like 5411 Empanadas, Tapas Valencia, and more. There are also VIP cabanas, musical performances, and a “paint and sip” option for those looking to get in touch with their artistic side after a little liquid courage.

10. Corn Fest

August 26-28 | Lincoln Highway, between 1st and 4th Streets, DeKalb
Illinois certainly has plenty of corn, and it’s on display at this festival in DeKalb. What began as a corn boil in the 1950s is now a music, food, and carnival event complete with a beer garden. The corn boil takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

11. Taste of Greektown

August 26-28 | Halsted Street, between Van Buren & Adams Streets.
Taste of Greektown is back for its 31st year with a bite of some of the city’s acclaimed Greek restaurants. There will also be music and games on the stretch of Halsted known for its Greek cuisine and culture.

12. West Chicago Food Festival

August 27 | Downtown West Chicago
The city of West Chicago is host to this food festival. Food and beverage trucks — along with music and entertainment — will line the street near the West Chicago Museum.

13. ZooBrew

August 27 | Brookfield Zoo
Pair beers from Chicago area breweries with lions, tigers, and bears at ZooBrew at the Brookfield Zoo. Peruse the zoo while sipping on more than 80 beer samples and take home a commemorative glass with your ticket.

14. River Forest Food Truck Rally

August 27 | The Depot Parking Lot and Keystone Park West, River Forest
Try out a variety of food trucks serving up everything from pizza and tacos to arancini and ice cream at this food truck festival in River Forest. A craft beer and wine tent will also be pouring local favorites.

15. Chicago Old Fashioned Fest

August 27 | Navy Pier
Taste varieties of the classic cocktail at this Old Fashioned festival on Navy Pier. Sip on old fashioneds made with the classic bourbon or whiskey, and even tequila and gin.