Cream of Wheaton marks 40 years with live music, carnival, crafts and more June 2-5
The Cream of Wheaton is returning to its beginnings after a two-year hiatus, with three blocks of carnival rides, local food, live entertainment, a beer garden, business expo, the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K/10K, and art and craft vendors.
The first Cream of Wheaton festival was held on May 8, 1982, offering food booths, a 10K run and entertainment in the band shell. In 1983, a petting zoo was added from Cosley Animal Farm (now Cosley Zoo), along with an arts and crafts fair and carnival rides.
In 2009, the Wheaton Park District and the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce joined forces to combine two events, the Cream of Wheaton and Autumn Fest. At that time, it was decided to rebrand the event as Taste of Wheaton. The Taste of Wheaton continued for the next 10 years through 2019. In 2019, this four-day festival attracted more than 30,000 local and regional guests.
There was no festival for two years due to the downtown Wheaton streetscape construction and COVID-19 gathering limitations.
The annual festival will open on Thursday, June 2, with free live music at the Memorial Park Bandshell. No tickets are necessary and seating is first-come, first-served.
On Thursday, the festival opens at 7 p.m. with Vital Signs, a local band featuring local surgeon Dr. Anthony Altimari, his daughter Emily and his son Marc. The country rock trio Yankee Cowboy will perform from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
On Friday, the music stage will open with Chemically Imbalanced, which mixes singalong classics with danceable rock hits, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Libido Funk Circus, performing music from the 1960s to today, will hit the stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Nerdvana, a Nerd band that rocks out to the best jams of the '90, from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Common Area Maintenance, which calls itself "quite possibly among the top 100 best cover bands comprised solely of commercial real estate professionals in the city of Chicago," will open the music stage at 10:45 a.m.
Nashville singer, songwriter and guitar picker Cody Joe Hodges is kicking off his summer national tour in the Midwest this weekend with a performance at Cream of Wheaton from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
BannedJoe, a rock group from Chicago, will perform from 3 to 5 p.m.
Planet Groove, a seven-piece band with a three-piece horn section, will perform from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Hi Infidelity, playing the music of REO Speedwagon, Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and more, from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
On Sunday, Karla & the Phat Cats will bring a bluesy, jazzy experience to the festival from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Wheaton rock band The Mixtape Collective will perform from 3 to 4:30 p.m., with festival favorites The Neverly Brothers closing out the festival from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Check out the Arts and Crafts Corner along Karlskoga Avenue and Hale Street from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Wheaton Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday along Karlskoga Avenue and Hale Street.
More than 2,000 runners generally turn out for the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K/10K & Kids' 1/2 Mile on Saturday. The 5K/10K starts at 7:30 a.m. with the half-mile kids run at 8:45 a.m. Hosted by the Cosley Foundation, the races raise funds for the animals at Wheaton's Cosley Zoo as well as exhibit development projects, public programs and conservation projects.
The Food Vendor Row on Karlskoga Avenue features: Choun's Thai Restaurant, Gino's East, 302, Genoa Italian Concession, Dippin Dots, Barone's, Taco Factory, R & S Concession, Papa Fresco's, and Kool Kat Ice Cream.
Until dusk, try out the 2 for 1 Mini Golf starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday, and noon Saturday and Sunday at Clocktower Mini Golf.
Kids activities are offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday in Memorial Park.
The carnival on Liberty Drive from Main Street to Wheaton Avenue, will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Discounted wristbands for $25 will be sold through June 1 at the Community Center, 1777 S. Blanchard St., and DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St.
All-you-can-ride carnival wristbands for $30 are valid for one day during select hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Park your bicycles with the bike valet offered by the Wheaton Bicycle Advisory Commission from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday on Wheaton and Union Avenue.
For more information, visit wheatonparkdistrict.com/events/cream-of-wheaton/ For info on the business expo, visit wheatonchamber.com.