Arts – Events

Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival
First Saturday in June since 2001

Event day:
June 1, 2019Dandelion Wine Festival
Event time: 11am-6pm
Event location: Bowen Park

Mr. Jim Harrington, a local artist, had a dream of a festival celebrating the arts in Waukegan. A fine arts component was added to the “Beach Bash!” held at the Waukegan lakefront. The event worked out beautifully when the organizers of the art portion of the event offered sand sculptures and sand art as the project for the artists. The event was successful and no longer needed to piggyback on another event—with that, Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival was created.

The first Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival had Waukegan Public School students from 1st to 8th grade visiting Bowen Park to work with professional artists on a team project based on the story Dandelion Wine. When the students were done with their creations they enjoyed a lunch provided by the Waukegan School District andthen participated in a drama workshop. The second year of the event had professional artists from Chicago and Waukegan visit schools and worked with the students painting canvases based on the theme-“The Rhythms of Our Cultures” as a way to celebrate not only the arts but also the diversity of our community. Each year a theme is presented to the participants for the community art project.

DWFAF LogoThe book Dandelion Wine was written by one of Waukegan’s favorite sons, Ray Bradbury. This story takes the reader through the ravines and up and down the streets of Green Town (Waukegan) as seen through the eyes of a young Douglas Spaulding. The Waukegan Park District honors Mr. Bradbury and Green Town with the Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival each year. The festival celebrates art, music, drama, and dance through art demonstrations, musicians, and storytellers. Past Dandelion Wine Festivals have included: a community drum circle; artists discussing their artwork and techniques with those strolling through the park; musicians young and old playing music for an audience that ranges from infant to senior citizen; and storytellers drawing people in with stories of far away lands or a tale about a ravine only two miles away. Volunteers are always welcome.

Artist/Vendor Applications:
Event Forms
2019 Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival Sponsorship Opportunities
2019 Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival Artist Vendor Application
2019 Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival Food Vendor Application

The 20th Annual Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival will be Saturday, June 1 from 11am-6pm in Bowen Park.  The festival is dedicated to showcasing local and regional artists and venues, championing the arts, remaining free to the public, offering low participation fees to artists, and remembering one of Waukegan’s favorite sons, author Ray Bradbury.

Arts Park

Summer arts in the parks! From Western Tot Lot to Bowen Park, the Arts Park van will be traveling throughout the Waukegan Park District bringing arts, crafts, and gamesArts Park to neighborhood parks! Beginning on Wednesday, June 5, every Wednesday and Thursday, the Arts Park van will be parked at a park. On Tuesday evenings, visit find the Arts Park van at Waukegan Band Foundation Concerts at the Waukegan Municipal Beach’s Stiner Pavilion.

NOTE: If there is no attendance within the first 30 minutes, the Arts Park van will leave. In the event of rain, Arts Park will be canceled.

Tour of Homes

The Tour of Homes is an annual event that showcases 3-5 beautiful Waukegan homes. Participants are able to learn the history of some of the finest homes in the city as well as tour their interiors. The Tour of Homes, started in 1969, is the main fundraiser of the Waukegan Historical Society.

Ticket Prices: TBA

General Public Tickets can be purchased at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan
Downtown Ace Hardware. 239 N Genesee Street, Waukegan

Call The Jack Benny Center for more information (847) 360-4740.

Oakwood Cemetery Walk

Oakwood Cemetery Walk, an annual event that began in 1995, takes the participants through the city cemetery (1851). Visitors to Oakwood have been taken back to a time and place that has ranged from pre- Civil War to as recent as 1979. Four to six “residents” are portrayed by local “actors” each year. The cemetery walk has featured the first female physician in Waukegan and George Washington Bell, a former slave turned Union soldier. This annual event is a cooperative program between the Waukegan Park District, City of Waukegan, and the Waukegan Historical Society.

Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019. Event begins at 1911 N Sheridan Road with check in. Buses transport participants to the cemetery where there is no nearby parking. This is a ticketed event.

The Joseph A. Favero Memorial Do-It-Yourself Messiah and Carol Sing-Along

Join the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus in December for the annual Joseph A. Favero Memorial Do-It-Yourself Messiah and Carol Sing-Along at the First United Methodist Church of Waukegan, 128 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. General admission tickets are $15.00. Tickets and scores may be purchased at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in advance or at the door. Scores may be rented night of for a deposit of $10. For that same fee, you may also purchase a score to keep.

Date for 2019 is December TBA, at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 128 N Martin Luther King Jr Avenue..

The Benefits of an ARTS Education. . .are Endless!

The arts teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation …a music student’s skill in reading, writing and mathematics are improved …throughout history, all the arts have served to connect our imaginations with questions about life …students studying performing arts build their imagination, communication skills, self-esteem, and self-confidence…the arts teach self-discipline…our personal, social, economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts …music education fosters discipline and commitment…arts offer a unique source of enjoyment and refreshment for the imagination.

General Donations

The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, Bowen Park Theatre and scholarship fund would greatly appreciate your contribution.




Jack Benny Center for the Arts
39 Jack Benny Drive
Waukegan, IL 60087

Waukegan Park District

Illinois Arts Council - An Agency of The State of Illinois