In the communities of the Cardunal area, an array of festivals highlights the calendar of family pleasures, and a unique theme park conjures up fun and fantasies for youngsters.

The Cardunal Area Chamber of Commerce takes part in summer community festivals, held in downtown East and West Dundee. Family fun is the main fare, with live entertainment, popular childrenÕs activities and games, events for seniors, a pet show, an international food fair, arts and crafts fair, and a beer and wine garden.

Every other year on the last Saturday in June, Americana Days occurs, sponsored by the Dundee Township Historical Society. Americana Days celebrates local history and features arts and crafts, period musical entertainment, storytelling, and demonstrations such as sheep shearing and wool spinning. Food vendors offer 19th century fare and the event concludes with a band concert and fireworks.

Dickens in Dundee is the areaÕs winter festival. Sponsored by several Cardunal area civic and social groups, Dickens in Dundee is held the first weekend in December. It features an ice carving competition, arts and crafts, and a parade that brings Father Christmas to the area. Horse and carriage transportation take participants on tours of West DundeeÕs historic areas. Free horse-drawn wagons take others for tours of East DundeeÕs historic section.

In February, the Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual Dinner Dance, a major social event in Cardunal country.

AlgonquinÕs Founders Days in July has been a mainstay of the areaÕs festival calendar for decades. ThereÕs always a big parade and plenty of food and beverages. An arts and crafts show is a highlight of the annual event.

SeptemberÕs Fine Arts Festival is the product of the Dundee Township Fine Arts Council, which meets at the Dundee Township Tourist Center. The festival provides a mix of gallery exhibitions, art sales, and hands-on experiences for youngsters and their families.

West Dundee Bridgefest, held in the fall, showcases new improvements and enhancements in the historic downtown area. Among the newest is Riverwalk, a million dollar addition to the riverfront providing a brick walkway that winds along the beautifully landscaped river bank.

Cardunal area libraries are popular among all residents. The Dundee Township Public Library, in East Dundee, shelves more than 100,000 books, graphicperiodicals, audio media, and video cassettes. The Algonquin Area Public Library, in Algonquin, has a total collection of more than 67,000 pieces. Both offer many interesting and educational programs for all ages.

Those who enjoy an evening of fine dining are right at home in the Cardunal area. More than 20 full-service restaurants feature such delights as ethnic cuisine, steaks and chops, and seafood, plus dinner theater and riverboat dining. Many more area eateries offer casual family dining and still more specialize in fast food service and take-out.

SantaÕs Village Theme Park and Racing Rapids Action Park on Highway 25 combine to provide a day of happy family entertainment. Nearby attractions include the Illinois Railway Museum and Wild West Town at Union, the Antique Village Museum at Volo, South ElginÕs Fox River Trolley Museum, and Lords Park ChildrenÕs Zoo.

The Grand Victoria Riverboat Casino, in ElginÕs City Center, offers gaming with the look and feel of Las Vegas. It draws approximately 10,000 visitors each day. The boatÕs 85,000 square foot pavilion welcomes guests and provides three movie screens, restaurants, and other amenities. The success of the riverboat continues to attract new business to downtown Elgin and to the Cardunal area, including hotels like the new Holiday Inn and the newer Marriott Suites.

Elgin Community CollegeÕs impressive Visual and Performing Arts Center draws as many as 35,000 people each season. Among the performers who have appeared at the center are the Hubbards Street Dancers, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo singers, and talented area artists. The Hemmens Auditorium, located in ElginÕs downtown Civic Center is also a cultural focal point for the area. The award-winning Elgin Symphony Orchestra performs here. The facility seats more than 1,200.

Proximity to I-90 and Chicago assures Cardunal area residents quick access to the full scope of the cityÕs arts and entertainment from world class theatre to performances by the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera and professional sports teams.

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