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Explore Cultures of the Continent at The Morton Arboretum's Passport Europe Festival

Two children help a musician carry a 12-foot horn
The Alpenhorn musical instrument is always a hit at the Passport Europe Festival.
August 30, 2019

On Saturday, September 21, and Sunday, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, The Morton Arboretum will present its sixth annual Passport Europe Festival, featuring dancing, live music, and athletic demonstrations representing cultures from across the Continent.

Visitors will be awed by the sights and sounds of this year’s festival, which will feature live music, including Spanish flamenco, Polish polkas and Italian jazz, as well as dances from Ireland, Germany, and Greece. Spectators will also have the opportunity to enjoy authentic European cuisine or participate in live athletic demonstrations such as Irish hurling.

Festival visitors will also have the opportunity to hike and explore the Arboretum’s extensive European tree and plant collections.

Passport Europe Tasting, a pre-event kickoff event, takes place on Thursday, September 19, at 6:00 p.m. During the tasting event, adults 21 and over  can sample beer, wine, and spirits from a variety of locations across Europe while enjoying live, traditional German music by Jimmy's Bavarians. Tasting guests will receive unlimited 1-ounce samples of wines and spirits and 3-ounce samples of beers and a reusable Arboretum tasting cup. General admission ticketing for the Passport Europe Tasting is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. New this year, the Arboretum will also offer special pricing for Designated Driver tickets, which will include unlimited soda and Boxed Water. Guests can also preorder gourmet snack boxes for an additional fee. 

Visitors to Passport Europe can:

  • Take in the fast footwork of Spanish flamenco dancers accompanied by Guitarra Azul, an ensemble performing on the Spanish guitar.
  • Watch a demonstration of hurling, a traditional Irish field sport played with bats and a ball.
  • Stand among living statues covered in paint and wearing costumes that coordinate with the festival’s European theme.
  • Enjoy traditional German songs during a set from  Jimmy's Bavarians.
  • Listen to spirited Polish polka music from Danny Mateja & the IPA Band.
  • Croon along with Rat Pack Jazz. In addition to his Italian repertoire, singer Frank Lamphere performs covers of classic Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs.  
  • Witness the intricate and graceful techniques of the dancers of Salt Creek Ballet.
  • Delight in Scandinavian songs and folk dances performed by The Swedish American Children’s Choir.
  • Enjoy the rollicking sounds and high energy of Irish folk songs from Finger on the Trigger.

“From tasting traditional cuisine to watching dance and musical performances, the  Passport Europe event provides Arboretum visitors with a chance to immerse themselves in the cultural traditions of European countries,” said Jenelle Hardtke, special events manager at The Morton Arboretum. “Further enhancing the authenticity of this event, Passport Europe provides guests with a chance to explore the magnificent European tree and plant collection, which is one of the oldest on the grounds.”  

The Passport Europe Festival is free with Arboretum admission. Find more information and the full roster of Arboretum activities at mortonarb.org.