Rhubarb Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 21, Governor Small Memorial Park. Plenty of pie, jams, a baking contest and tours of the historic grounds. communityartscouncil.org
Kankakee Valley Theatre Association presents Monty Python’s Spamalot, 7 p.m. May 6 and 2 p.m. May 7, Lincoln Cultural Center, Kankakee. KVTA.org
“Light and Movement in Sculpture,” an exhibit revealing 1960s and '70s art experiments with light and optical illusion, through May 14, Kinkead Gallery at Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, at the University of Illinois. 217-333-1861.
A special viewing of famous American painting “Whistler’s Mother,” by James McNeill Whistler, continues through May 21 at Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., 312-443-3600; www.aic.edu.
May 15-May 27, Governors State University photography exhibit, FEED Cultural Center, 259 S. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee
Strawberry Jazz Festival, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 4, Gov. Small Memorial Park, Kankakee. communityartscouncil.org
Marshall Tucker Band, 7 p.m. June 3, Watseka Theatre, 218 E. Walnut St. Watseka. $65-$85, 815-993-6585.
Professional artists display works executed in various media for an eclectic invitational exhibit, “Urban Spaces,” now through June 3 at Tall Grass Arts Association Gallery, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest, 708-748-3377. Always free, gallery hours 11a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. tallgrassarts.org.
Professional musicians, members of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, return for intimate summer concerts at Ravisloe Golf Club, 18231 Park Ave., Homewood. All concerts 7-9 p.m., June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26 and Aug. 9. 708-481-7774, ipomusic.org.
Celebrated Grant Park and Millennium Park music galas, all free, kick off with Chicago Gospel Music Festival, June 2-3, followed by Chicago Blues Festival, June 9-11; Chicago Jazz Festival, Aug. 31-Sept. 3 and much more. cityofchicago.org.en/depts
Frankfort celebrates 30th season of free Concerts on the Green, 6:30-8 p.m. every Sunday, June 4-August. Breidert Green, 432 W. Nebraska St. Bring a blanket or folding chair. Performances TBA.
"Vegetable Portraits," an exhibit by Manteno artist Julia McDonald, June 3-24.
Acting Out Theatre's "Beauty and the Beast," July 21-23, rain dates July 24-25, Perry Farm Park, Bourbonnais.
Liberty Arts Festival, July 13-15 in Downtown Morris. Paintings, photographs, metal works, jewelry, leather art and woodworking pieces for sale. downtownmorris.com, 815-941-0145.
Hollywood Casino Amphitheater summer series presents superstar Rod Stewart, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5, 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park. For huge summer lineup and tickets: tinleyparkamphitheater.com.
Always dazzling, the Chicago Air and Water Show returns 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Aug. 19-20 along Lake Michigan, center stage at North Avenue Beach. Electrifying U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights open both days and U.S. Navy Blue Angels return for dazzling grand finales both days. Event is free.
It’s being called the Great American Eclipse, a total solar eclipse path across the entire mainland, including touching Southern Illinois (apod.nasa.gov) Aug. 21. Strickler Planetarium, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, kicks off its solar eclipse show for all ages, 7:30 p.m. June 6. Tickets $3 at the door. strickler.olivet.edu.
Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean, first major traveling exhibition dedicated to the arts of the Swahili coast and links to much of Africa, opens Aug. 21 and runs through March 20, 2018, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign.
EVEN MORE THINGS TO DO
Visit your local library; grab a copy of the library’s summer doings. Be sure to check out that book you’ve always wanted to read.
Find the best frozen custard stand around. Go there. Indulge yourself, your kids and guests. They’ll love you more than they already do.
Go climbing. Safety harnesses and trained assistants rock the faux “rocks” on tons of fun and challenging indoor climbing walls.
Farmers markets are fresh food fantasylands and they’re all different. Go early.
Find fresh goat or cow’s milk (look online) and make your own cheese.
Demystify and deconstruct a favorite restaurant dish and prepare it yourself.
Speaking of food, treats abound at regional food festivals so be sure to check out “Taste of wherever.”
The Chicago Bears pre-season training and practice at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais starts in July. Fans can watch and park for free. Check for details soon on ChicagoBears.com or Olivet.edu.
Free outdoor concerts of all sorts blanket the region, and oh, yes, bring your blanket or at least a folding chair.
Take a trip back in time at classic car shows throughout the region. Owners usually love to answer questions about their motor gems.
Soar nearly 200 feet in the air in on the new Centennial Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.
It’s a home run. Joliet Slammers, Crestwood Windy City Thunderbirds and Kane County Cougars, professional, not MLB, rock the season affordably.
--- Myra Eder and Rachael Reynolds-Soucie