“Holy picnic tables!” is how Matt described his first glimpse of the Ravinia festival grounds. I’d agree that it’s a fitting description for the outdoor concert venue in Highland Park. Ravinia attracts over a half a million spectators with their picnic baskets in tow to over 100 musical events in the summer ranging from Jazz, Classical, Rock, Country, and everything in between.
Since high school, I’ve tried to be one of the 500,000+ attendees each year. I’ve been fortunate to see headliners such as Blues Traveler, Carrie Underwood, Nickel Creek, Trisha Yearwood, Billy Currington, The Temptations and just a few others.
What makes Ravinia a must attend event in the summer? Here are a few of my reasons:
- The lawn seats. Bring your camping chairs or a blanket and sit back and relax!
- Picnic tables. Below is an example from my friend Tom. Matt and I went with him, his wife and their friend from college to see Lifehouse….the picnic table is key to a successful Ravinia experience and it separates the rookies from the veterans.
- The smell of citronella candles.
- People watching. Let’s be honest, the music is just background for the live entertainment you’re watching (which may include people doing a funky rain dance).
- Appetizers. My personal favorite is chili con queso from Casey’s Market in Western Springs. You might as well just by one pound because you’re going to eat it all and still want more.
- The breeze off of Lake Michigan – if you’re lucky and it’s not a still day.
- Playing cards, Apples to Apples or Uno.
- The unwritten rule of one bottle of wine per person.
- Good music.
- Laughing with friends.