Put on a happy face. The season of sunny fun has only just begun, and you can soak it up at outdoor festivals, concerts and performances. This weekend cut loose at Ribfest Chicago, go for an after-dark hike at Morton Arboretum, rock out to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and see cats play guitar (really). Ready, set … smile.



Ribfest Chicago Kids Square
You can’t resist a good BBQ, and this is the neighborhood’s best. More than a dozen local rib vendors pour on the awesomesauce, and there’s a special zone for little revelers. Bounce in inflatables, play games, get your face painted and delight in family-friendly activities. Sat., 12:00 pm-8:00 pm; Sun., 12:00 pm-7:00 pm. At Lincoln and Belle Plaine avenues. $5 suggested donation for admission. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Square

Playdate at Old Town
Check out a performance of “Blue Can Dance Too, ” a flurry of groovy piano melodies and guitar rhythms, and modern dance. The show is inspired by the book, One, by Kathryn Otoshi. Expect wacky happenings, like colors that sing the blues, numbers that rock and roll, and shapes that learn to dance together. Sat., 10:00 am. Old Town School of Folk Music. $6. All ages. Event details.


The Acro-Cats
So much for the sleeping-on-the-couch stereotype. In this wild, weird show, cats perform circus tricks under the guidance of Samantha Martin, an animal trainer that’s been featured on The Tonight Show and Animal Planet. Her feline troupe jumps through hoops, rolls balls with their paws, climbs ropes and even skateboards. If that isn’t enough, then wait until the house band, The Rock Cats, takes the stage. Fri.-Sat., 7:00 pm; Sun., 2:00 pm. $18 for adults; $16 for children. All ages. Event details.


Family Twilight Adventure
Go on an after-dark expedition and meet the animals that come out at night. After a hike, keep the pace with wildlife-themed activities and a tram ride through the woods. So much for being afraid of the dark. Sat., 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. Morton Arboretum. $19 (includes Arboretum admission); free for kids under 2. All ages. Event details.


Downtown Homewood Art & Garden Street Fair
The best reason to head to the southwest ‘burbs has fun for all ages — especially little ones. Kiddie entertainment kicks off at noon on Friday, with award-winning childrens’ indie musician Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. On Saturday you can rock with Little Miss Ann and “kid-hop” marvels Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Also on the roster: family activities, a bubble show and gardening lessons. Fri., 11:00 am-9:00 pm; Sat., 10:00 am-9:00 pm. At Martin Avenue and Ridge Road. Free. All ages. Event details.

Highland Park

Ko-Thi Dance Company
Spread a blanket on the lawn or reserve a stage-side seat at Ravinia Festival for a stirring show of dance and music rooted in African, African-American and Caribbean cultures. Sat., 11:00 am. Reserved seats $10; lawn seats $5. All ages. Event details.

What are you doing this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglonx

Photo: Courtesy of Ribfest Chicago