Don’t miss out on these 12 opportunities for fun in the Fox Valley

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One step at a time: Karissa Robertson, of Aurora, and her dog Max walk together at the Lincoln Dog Park in Aurora. | FILE PHOTO

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Thoughts are turning to getting out of the house. Ease your cabin fever, check out these cool events coming up this spring and summer, and simultaneously discover what the Fox Valley is all about.

Culture

1. The fourth annual Alley Art Festival returns from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 31 to the Water Street Mall between Downer and Galena in Aurora. Email downtownauroran@gmail.com for more info.

2. Best-selling author Max Brooks presents “10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack” at 7 p.m. April 20 at Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive. Brooks is the author of “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z.” Call (630) 466-7900 or visit Waubonsee.edu.

Shopping

3. Make some cash and snag some new finds at the community-wide garage sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora. Cost to rent a space is $30. Visit Foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

4. Montgomery’s annual spring community garage sale will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 16 to 18 (with rain dates of May 23 to 25.) The participation fee is $10. Call (630) 896-8080, ext. 1114.

Food

5. Aurora Farmer’s Market is Illinois’ oldest continually-running market and is open from 8 a.m. to noon June 1 to Oct. 19 at the Aurora Transportation Center, 233 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora. Bonus: Paddle and Trail will rent bikes and provide a bike corral for those who wish to peddle to the market. Visit www.aurora-il.org.

Outdoors

6. Did you know you can garden this summer, even if you don’t have your own backyard? The Fox Valley Park District has more than 500 garden plots available on a first-come, first-reserved basis and cost $15 apiece for residents ($30 for non-residents). Visit Foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

7. Early-bird pricing on season passes to Splash Country Water Park and Phillips Park Aquatic Center runs through April 30. Splash Country is at 195 S. Barnes Road, Aurora. Phillips Park Aquatic Center is at 828 Montgomery Road, Aurora. Both parks open June 1. Call (630) 906-7981 or visit Foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

8. Wind down at Wine on the Fox, a wine festival and tasting at 11 a.m. May 4 and noon on May 5 at Hudson Crossing Park, 65 Harrison St., Oswego. The free event features local food and wines and live music. Wine tasting costs $15 a day or $25 for a two-day pass. Call (630) 554-3618 or visit Wineonthefox.com.

History

9. Folks ages 16 and up can “Spend a Day with the Blacksmith” at Blackberry Farm on April 27 and learn basic blacksmithing techniques. Participants will create a decorative S hook and a hand-forged nail. Children ages 6 to 11 can get a glimpse at what recess was like in the 1800s at “Recess at the Schoolhouse,” also April 27 at Blackberry Farm. Participants will make a toy to take home with them. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora. Call (630) 892-1550 or visit Foxvalleypark.org.

Festivals

10. Aurora Green Fest is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8 at Prisco Community Center and features guest speakers, educational demonstrations, recycling extravaganza, vendors, live music and green car show. www.auroragreenfest.com.

11. The Downtown Alive!/Blues on the Fox festival series returns for another summer. Blues on the Fox is June 14 and 15, and other concerts are June 28, July 26 and Aug. 30 at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora. Visit Downtownaliveaurora.com.

Family-friendly

12. Bring the kids to a Recycled Art workshop at 1:30 p.m. April 21 at the Aurora Public Library West Branch, 233 S. Constitution Drive, Aurora. Young artists can create art from discarded, recycled and found items in this workshop that’s fun for the whole family. Call (630) 264-3600 or visit Aurorapubliclibrary.org.