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Brought to you by Woodfield Mall - A Simon Mall

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 1980s, there were certain malls that became legendary. Shopping in those pre-internet days was a different type of thing, but visiting those malls wasn't just about shopping... it was about family, and a lot of memories were made within the halls of fashion, toys and commerce during special trips. While the Circus World/K-B Toys, Marshall Field's, and Sam Goody stores of my youth have been swapped for the LEGO Store, Macy's and F.Y.E., one of those legendary malls is bigger and stronger-than-ever, the mighty Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois - just minutes west of Chicago.  With the official arrival of Spring comes the arrival of The Easter Bunny, and his presence at Woodfield Mall makes for another of those special trips that families will remember forever. 

For my friends in the Chicagoland area, one of the suburbs' most popular malls is bursting with Springtime cheer this weekend...

Families are invited to hop down to the Simon Kidgits Club’s Easter Eggstravaganza at Woodfield Mall. Kids are sure to have an ‘egg’cellent time celebrating the arrival of spring during this free event, which will feature festive activities, interactive games, giveaways and more, all taking place from 12-2pm on Saturday, March 19, 2016.

Chicago Friends - this weekend, THE MASSACRE (Chicago's original 24-hour horror film event) returns to THE PATIO THEATER for a full cycle of monstrous goodness just in-time for Halloween! Kicking off with a short film program at 11:15am on Saturday, October 17, the feature-length goodness runs from noon-noon, with "survivors" being counted on Sunday - those brave enough to make it through the full 24 hours. There's some Rock Father Favorites in the mix this year including GREMLINS 2, George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD, THEY LIVE and CHRISTINE. Check out the full lineup below, or grab your tickets now for just $20 via Brown Paper Tickets.

This September, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare will return to the Chicago area for another season of frights at The Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois. I'd been wondering about this one, as I covered last years' event - having checked-out the haunt and Zombie's surreal, one-night-only performance in the confines of a very unconventional locale.  For the 2015, the frights will be even bigger, and Rob Zombie will be rocking the stage once more - with two special concerts set to take place on October 2 & 4. The Villa Park/Chicagoland show is the ONLY edition of the Great American Nightmare this year. Here's the details on what to expect...

While I don't live in the City proper, I've always identified as a "Chicagoan," and have long looked at the annual RIOT FEST as a true Chicago tradition - one that's spread to other cities, including Denver and Toronto. Having attended, and having seen it grow from small clubs to a multi-venue, week-long event (I covered and shot it back in 2011) that then morphed into the RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL, I (like many) was disheartened to see the fest being squeezed as part of a larger debate about its recent home in Humboldt Park. Today, that debate ends as far as RIOT FEST is concerned, as the 2015 RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL will stay in Chicago, moving south to Douglas Park.

On May 16, the folks from KIND and zulily will partner for Kindness Safaris to be held at 20 Zoos across the country. For friends in my home City of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo will be the center of the action from 10am-5pm, where families can take part in the safari, and kids can discover how being kind through simple acts can be fun, and really brighten the world around us. It's all part of the ongoing Kind Parents, Kind Kids program, which uses fun family activities to teach kids the importance of kindness year-round.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been reimagined with a rock and roll spin, and it's happened in Chicago. Director Rachael Rockwell and Music Director Michael Mahler have brought to life Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS as a new tale starring a pair of young stars - Isabelle Roberts and Ariana Burks - who will alternate performances as Alice. Performances run through May 24 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts (1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago), with tickets available through the Chicago Children's Theatre website. Details below...

When it's Christmas here in Illinois, some time spent in the Chicago Loop is an absolute must. I've written in the past about our family tradition of visiting Santa at Macy's on State Street (in fact, this year's visit is tomorrow), and then there's the always-festive Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, which we've already visited once this season. No matter what you're into, there's something for the whole family, and the Chicago Loop Alliance has put together a definitive guide to all the Holiday Deals & Events this season. Better yet, they've even curated some daily itineraries of events, along with the full rundown on all that's family-friendly, and in some cases - free.

Living in Chicago's northern suburbs, Ravinia is a favorite concert venue for our family - a short drive from Rock Father HQ. Next summer, there's a special event taking place as TONY BENNETT returns to Ravinia for his 28th season, while LADY GAGA makes her Ravinia debut as the duo perform songs from their recently-released album, CHEEK TO CHEEK on June 26 & 27, 2015. Early details just hit my inbox a few moments ago, revealing that the pair will be accompanied by a full orchestra, along with each artist's jazz ensembles.

Halloween 2014After playing host to numerous haunted attractions during every Halloween season for the past couple of decades, the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois has been given a cinematic overhaul for 2014 as the new location of Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare. After making it's debut in California last year, 2014 finds the Great American Nightmare (GAN) taking on two cities, with Scottsdale, Arizona joining Chicagoland for the newly-annual celebration of macabre entertainment with a rock and roll flair. THE ROCK FATHER was invited to check out the opening night festivities - complete with a full-blown Rob Zombie concert at the Odeum, and a trip through all three haunted houses, each based on one of Zombie's feature films: HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, THE LORDS OF SALEM and THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO. Here's some thoughts...

Over the past two years, my girls have been pretty lucky in that we've seen Disney On Ice four times. Each time the folks at Feld Entertainment bring the tour back through Chicago, it's a different show, and we've seen ROCKIN' EVER AFTER, 100 YEARS OF MAGIC, LET'S CELEBRATE! and now, PRINCESSES & HEROES. While LET'S CELEBRATE! is still holding it's ground as my favorite (the seasonality of it just hits my sweet spot), PRINCESSES & HEROES may well be the most traditional of the bunch in terms of Disney lore, really capturing the imaginations of the younger crowd by bringing to life some familiar scenes from the likes of ALADDIN, SNOW WHITE, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE PRINCESS & THE FROG, SLEEPING BEAUTY, TANGLED and CINDERELLA in a big show. And it is a BIG show.

Gurnee MillsFor my local friends in Lake County, Illinois - mark your calendars, because the WTTW Readers are Leaders Tour is returning to Gurnee Mills. On Saturday, September 6, kids and grownups alike can spend the morning singing, dancing and enjoying story time with a live performance from Miss Lori's CAMPUS and a special appearance by ARTHUR. This FREE event starts at 10:30am at the Lake County Food Court in the Macy's full-priced wing. The first 200 children in attendance will receive a free children’s book.

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