Holiday Happenings Part One

Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)
Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)

Instead of going crazy trying to get to even a quarter of the all terrific festivals, shows and events in and around Chicago this holiday season, make a plan. Figure out which show and happening you and/or your family want to see most, put them on the calendar, then list the next couple of things you would like to do.

Because there are so many events, they are divided into two parts with shows (because they need tickets) and special events (because they may be one-time, date-specific)  in Part I which is a sampler and not a complete list.

But first, why do events seem early or late this year?

Part of the problem of figuring what to do and when is that Thanksgiving, usually the start of the holiday season, comes late this year. That’s the fault of our Gregorian calendar which started  back in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII introduced it.

It puts Nov. 1 on a Friday in 2019 so that the first Thursday begins the following week meaning that the fourth Thursday begins when November is almost over.

Thus many events that usually start Thanksgiving weekend seem to be early but are not. They have stuck to their calendar of the third and fourth November weekend even though the fourth Thursday for Thanksgiving actually falls during the fifth weekend of 2019.  Whew.

Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker is also a holiday tradition. (Cheryl Mann photo from 2018)
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker is also a holiday tradition. (Cheryl Mann photo from 2018)

 

Holiday Show Sampler (In Chicago unless otherwise listed)

Theatre at the Center, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” Nov. 14-Dec. 22, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster, IN.

Goodman Theatre, “A Christmas Carol”  Nov. 16-Dec. 29, 170 N Dearborn St.

American Blues Ensemble’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Radio-style show) Nov. 21-2019 –Jan. 4, 2010. At Stage 773 at 1225 W Belmont Ave.

Chicago Theatre, Cirque du Soleil’s “Twas the Night Before” Nov. 29-Dec, 8 175 North State St, Chicago, IL.

Auditorium Theatre, Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Nov 30 – Dec 29 50 E Ida B. Wells Drive (formerly Congress Street)

The House Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”  Nov. 21-Dec. 29, at Chopin Theatre 1543 W. Division St.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, “A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol” (Hip Hop) Nov. 29-Dec. 23, 800 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier.

Metropolis Performing Arts Center, “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 29-Dec. 24 111 W Campbell St, Arlington Heights.

Cadillac Palace Theatre, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” Dec. 10-Dec. 15, 151 W Randolph St.

 

Performers stop in front of Macy's during a past Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade (City of Chicago photo)
Performers stop in front of Macy’s during a past Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade (City of Chicago photo)

Holiday Happenings

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Nov. 22-23, North Michigan Avenue

Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade Nov. 28, Downtown State Street

Art Institute of Chicago Wreathing the Lions Nov. 29, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

 

Jodie Jacobs

Three sip and savor and shop events

 

Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)
Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)

When the weather turns frightful (even though Halloween is over)   it’s time to look forward to something delightful. First up are some wine, culinary and shopping events coming in the next two weeks.

Holiday Sip and Shop

In Chicago’s western suburbs, seasonal bites, spirits and shopping the Morton Arboretum way with botanical designer showcased “tablescapes” and browsing the store, welcome the coming holiday season.  The event is Nov. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes a Patricia Locke Trunk Show and mixology demonstrations. Tickets are members $45.00, nonmembers $50.00.

The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Highway 53, Lisle, IL 630-446-0537.

 

Antiques + Modernism Show

In the northern suburbs, an annual show benefiting the Winnetka Community Housegoes the whole weekend of Nov. 8-10, 2019. But a fun preview party known for its buffet stations and open bar is Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. This is when collectors and people in the know go for the first peek at exceptional jewelry, furniture and art. Tickets are $150 but $30 of the ticket price will be donated back to the North Shore Art League.

The Winnetka Community House is at 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL , 847-446-2870 or 847-446-0537.

 

Chill LuxeHome

Downtown Chicago, Chill, an international wine and culinary event co sponsored by Luxehome and Wine Spectator Magazine, features terrific food from Chicago chefs and excellent wines from around the world. It’s held Downtown Chicago at theMART, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Tickets are $145. Funds raised go to different charities.

the MART is at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around town goes to wine tasting and kids architecture events plus the Jewish Theater Festival

A Chicago Architecture Biennial event for youngsters is at Navy Pier Nov. 2, 2019. (Jodie Jacobs photo)
A Chicago Architecture Biennial event for youngsters is at Navy Pier Nov. 2, 2019. (Jodie Jacobs photo)

 

There are interesting experiences available this weekend so pull out the calendar.

Chicago Architecture Biennial for youngsters

Bring the kids to Navy Pier this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019  for a free, hands-on, design-it and build-it activities from noon to 4 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation with the City of Chicago and Navy Pier, the Architectural Biennial event is geared to ages 5 through 12. Look for it in the Cultural Corner across from Ben & Jerry’s at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

 

Wine seminars like the one pictured here help educate the palate. (J Jacobs photo)
Wine seminars like the one pictured here help educate the palate. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Professional/Amateur Wine Tasting Contest

Learn about your wine palate knowledge, Nov. 3, beginning at 1 p.m. at Geja’s Cafe, 340 W. Armitage, Chicago. The tasting begins with eight unmarked carafes of wine. Professionals and amateurs are challenged to identify the grape, place of origin and vintage of each wine. To enter the competition, contestants pay a $30 fee and must be 21 years of age or older. To RSVP, call Geja’s Café at (773) 281-9101.

“The world of wine is incredibly diverse,” says Geja’s owner Jeff Lawler. “That is why this contest is such a challenge. It takes a wise nose and an equally sensitive palate to identify the characteristics of each individual wine.”

 

The Ben Hecht Show starring playwright/actor James Sherman will be part of the Jewish theatre Festival. (Photo courtesy of TGeatron)
The Ben Hecht Show starring playwright/actor James Sherman will be part of the Jewish Theatre Festival. (Photo courtesy of Teatron)

TEATRON: Chicago’s Jewish Theatre Festival at Victory Gardens

Held Nov 3 through Nov.10, 2019, primarily at Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, the event is the first-ever festival in Chicago that is dedicated to Jewish Theatre.  It overlaps the annual Alliance for Jewish Theatre Conference, hosted by ShPIeL at Victory Gardens Theater and The Theatre School at DePaul University, Nov. 3-5, 2019.

The Jewish Theatre Festival at Victory Gardens includes staged readings, solo performances, storytelling, cabaret, and comedy at Victory Gardens and features “The Ben Hecht Show” with playwright/actor James Sherman, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. For conference information visit All Jewish Theatre

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Dinner and a show from a theater reviewer

Goodman Theatre (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre)
Goodman Theatre (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre)

Theater critics tend to return to the same places before covering a show. They are not usually the upscale places gone to for a special occasion or the newest eatery with a gourmet menu or “in” vibe.  They have good food and are convenient to the venues.

Here are my recommendations based on experience for two downtown theaters ( I use theater spelled er) and two places in the northern suburbs. More areas later.

Downtown-Loop

When going to the Goodman Theatre  170 N Dearborn St. or James M  Nederlander Theatre, a Broadway in Chicago venue at  24 W. Randolph St., I reserve a table in the bar at Petterinos (312-422-0150, 150 N. Dearborn St.) at the corner of Dearborn and Randolph Streets.

The bartenders here are terrific. They serve their patrons quickly when they know they have a show. And I like the fried calamari when looking for something light and the amazing chicken pot pie when cold weather calls for a dish to warm the insides.

The restaurant is literally next door to Goodman and just a few steps across Dearborn to the Nederlander (former Oriental). I take public transportation but Petterinos has a valet service for customers who want to park there and see a show.

Downtown – Mag Mile

There are lots of places to dine on and near the Magnificent Mile. But when reviewing a show at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N Michigan Ave. in the historic Water Tower Water Works  on the east side of the Water Tower campus or at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., I reserve a table at Mity-Nice Grill on the Mezzanine Level of Water Tower Place (835 N. Michigan Ave., 312.335.4745).

I like their veggie burger and their salads and that they bring tiny Yorkshire pudding bites to start the meal.

North Suburbs – Lincolnshire

I look forward to dining at the Three Embers Restaurant in the Marriott Resort, 10 Marriott Dr., when reviewing a show at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

Executive Chef Pierre Daval and Chef de Cuisine Jesus (Chuy) Medina are currently showcasing their Harvest Dinner. At Three Embers, diners get honey butter for their rolls that is a taste treat made with honey from Daval’s beehives on the property. I also love the Honey BBQ Brisket with smoked grits. But I’m thinking of trying the Sea Scallops dish with butternut squash and a maple glace when I go for the next show because squash and maple are too seasonal to pass up.

North Suburbs – Skokie

Across the road from Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, is a small strip mall that contains the popular Bonefish Grill at 9310 Skokie Blvd. Yes, you need a reservation and tell the waitperson you are going to a show.

I like the restaurant’s bread and dipping oil, its Caesar Salad and any shrimp dish with a variety of sauces.

Feel free to leave your own recommendations.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Costumes and candy and corn mazes, oh my!

 

Pumpkins galore can be found at fun fall festivals right now. (J Jacobs photo)
Pumpkins galore can be found at fun fall festivals right now. (J Jacobs photo)

Around Town looks at four fun fall festivals that that families can take advantage of right now.

Boo! at the Zoo

There is only one weekend left, Oct. 26-27, to go to Brookfield Zoo’s annual Halloween festival in 2019.  Running Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it features pumpkin carving demonstrations, hay rides, trick-or-treat stations (kids should bring their own bags), animal Zoo Chats, a “Crazed Maize” corn maze, a Pumpkin Smasher and a Creepy (sorta) Carousel. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the cCstume Parade that starts at 1 p.m. by the Discovery Center and ghoulishly move to music at a 1:30 p.m. Costume Dance Pary.

General zoo admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $14. (Additional fees apply to some Boo! at the Zoo activities.) For further information, visit CZS.org/Boo or call (708) 688-8000.

Youngsters like to dress up for Boo at the Zoo presented by Ferrara, (Photo credit Chicago Zoological Society)
Youngsters like to dress up for Boo at the Zoo presented by Ferrara, (Photo credit Chicago Zoological Society)

 

Didier Farms Pumpkinfest

After going once to Didier Farms for its maze, hayride, pumpkin carving tools and food, it is likely to be penned in (not penciled) from that year on even when youngsters reach high school age. Located on Aptakisic Road west of Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire, Didier Farms, a family-owned business since 1912, supplies some grocery stores plus has its own farm market. But when October comes, the place becomes pumpkin central for families loading wagons with over-grown gourds (squash if you are going to eat it instead of turning it into a jack-o-lantern) and youngsters eager to wander the maze or take a hayride. Pumpkinfest goes now through Oct. 31.

Didier Farms is at 16678 W. Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60069. Phone (847) 634-3291.

It is hard to leave Didier Farms without a fun trinket, pumpkin, donut or a hayride. (J Jacobs photo
It is hard to leave Didier Farms without a fun trinket, pumpkin, donut or a hayride. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival

Now thru oct. 30

There is so much going on at Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival that families should plan to spend a couple of hours there. “There” is a ride out northwest of Chicago to Huntley, IL. Don’t leave before picking up one of the market’s excellent pies or some donuts to take in the car for the trip back home. But first take a free wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. Then, visit the six-acre corn maze. Youngsters will like the Pumpkin express Barrel Ride, the Pedal Tractor Track or maybe the Climbing Spider Web. There is also PlayLand,  and the Giant Pumpkin Jumper plus face painting and a petting zoo.

Going on now through Oct. 30, hours Monday through Friday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with admission of $7 children, $5 adults and age 2 and younger  and weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays with adults and children at $10 each. Visitors can make and take a scarecrow home for $22. Tom’s Farm Market is at 10214 Algonquin Rd., Huntley, IL, (847) 669-3421.

Funny characters live at Tom's Farm Market during Fall Festival time. (J Jacobs photo)
Funny characters live at Tom’s Farm Market during Fall Festival time. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Richardson Adventure Farm

Every fall Richardson Farm develops a giant-sized maze to wander that fits with current events or characters. For 2019 the maze honors the moon landing. There are different tracks to take through the maze so times can range from a quick 10 to 20 minutes or the longer 60 to 90 minutes. But leave time for the giant slide, wagon or train ride, the animatronic Chicken Show, a ride on the vintage carousel and a climb up a 50 foot observation tower or watch the pig races and try the paintball shooting gallery. If you don’t have a pumpkin yet, pick your own. They cost 45 cents a pound.

The Richardson Adventure Farm is open  now through Nov. 3, 2019 on Thursday through Sundays. Hours are: Thursday 3-10 p.m.;, Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Admission can range from $14 to $19 depending on age, day of the week (Lower rates are on Wednesdays) and activity. RichardsonFarm is at 909 English Prairie Rd near Spring Grove, IL Visit RichardsonAdventureFarm or call (815) 675-9729.

How high the corn is at the Richardson Adventure Farm can be seen in adult inches. (J Jacobs photo)
How high the corn is at the Richardson Adventure Farm can be seen in adult inches. (J Jacobs photo)

Jodie Jacobs

 

Enjoy A World of Cinema

 

'Motherless' a film to see at the Chicago International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago International Film Festival)
‘Motherless’ a film to see at the Chicago International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago International Film Festival)

4 stars

The 55th Annual Chicago International Film Festival is running through Oct. 27, 2019 at the AMC River East Theaters.

The world renowned festival includes films from more than 100 countries representing virtually every genre.

Some special categories offered are Women in Cinema, Cinemas of the Americas, and Immersive Cinema exploring virtual reality storytelling in all dimensions.

The week’s festivities kicked off with a red carpet featuring Chicago Producer Gigi Pritzker and Chicago Director Jennifer Reeder talking about the film festival overall as well as their respective films, “Motherless Brooklyn” and “Knives and Skin.”

“Motherless Brooklyn” features the film’s director Edward Norton as a lonely private detective working to solve the murder of his friend played by Bruce Willis.

“Knives and Skin.” is a horror movie that takes place somewhere in a small Illinois town and champions female empowerment.

My second day began with an early morning 10:00 AM special press viewing of “Hogar,” an Argentinian and Italian collaboration the tile of which means house or residence similar to the word “casa,” but the film has been translated with the English title “Maternal” which is appropriate as it deals with teen mothers struggling to bond with their children and overcome the special challenges related to teen pregnancy.

My second press screening that day was “Twentieth Century,” a very odd but thoroughly enjoyable film described as “an outrageously weird and funny faux-historical drama about the rise of Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in the 1920s, re-imagined as some kind of Dali-esque fever-dream by way of Monty Python.”

There are a number of films at the festival that either have Chicago themes or were produced in Chicago.

These include the world premier documentary “The First Rainbow Coalition” about Chicago’s mulit-ethnic street gangs in the 1960s primarily led by activist Fred Hampton and the “Black Panthers” who endeavored to affect social change by recognizing their shared struggle.

Having lived through this era in Chicago I found this film which is primarily old television news footage to have a kind of home-movie quality but full of insight that was not generally shared at the time.

Some other Chicago movies are “Girl on the Third Floor,” “Hala,” “The New Bauhaus” and another world premiere, The Torch,” directed by Jim Ferrell about Chicago Blues legend Buddy Guy.

Keep in mind that many of these films will be available in theaters soon, on Netflix, Roku and wherever you like to view films. So even if you missed them at the festival you can still find most of them someplace soon.

DETAILS:  The 55th Annual Chicago International Film Festival is running through October 27, 2019 at the AMC River East Theaters at 322 E. Illinois Street, Chicago. For tickets and information visit ChicagoFilmFestival.

Reno Lovison

Reno Lovison is a frequent theater reviewer here and Executive Producer at ChicagoBroadcastingNetwork.com where you can find additional video and podcast coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival.

 

 

 

Around Town goes to two places for fall color and fun pumpkins

 

Fall at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)
Fall at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)

Of course visitors to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe would expect to see trees changing their summer colors to seasonal autumn rose, gold and bronze.

However, both popular Chicago area destinations also annually welcome fall with ales, pumpkins and more.

 

Glass pumpkins at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)
Glass pumpkins at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)

Morton Arboretum

Go this weekend to find hand-blown glass pumpkins. Art fair goers have been collecting these delicate pieces for the past few years but the Glass Pumpkin Patch that is going on now through Oct. 13, features about six thousand choices.

Or go Oct. 19 for the Cider and Ale Festival and toast the season.

On the spookier side, do the Troll Hunt which is still going on. These giant-sized,  artistically crafted, wooden creatures can be found through June 2020 but are a fitting addition to a season filled with other-world spirits. Sculpted by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, the trolls are supposed to protect the environment.

For more Morton Arboretum information visit Mortonarb/explore.

 

Walk among fun, interesting, spooky Jack-o-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of ChicagoBotanic)
Walk among fun, interesting, spooky Jack-o-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of ChicagoBotanic)

Chicago Botanic Garden

Go tonight, Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. to hoist a beer to welcome fall.

Put a fun costume on your dog and you can also dress-up to if you go Oct. 13 for a Spooky Pooch Parade from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is the only time dogs (except support dogs) are allowed in the

Or go one evening when 1,000 spooky Jack-o-Lanterns light garden paths and patches from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. select nights from Oct. 16 to 27.

For more Chicago Botanic Garden information see Chicagobotanic/visit.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around Town mid-September looks up and down

 

 

Birds Eye cafe at Lincoln Park Zoo. (J Jacobs photo)
Birds Eye cafe at Lincoln Park Zoo. (J Jacobs photo)

For kids, there’s a redone, restaurant up at tree-level in Lincoln Park Zoo. For adults, there’s an art show to view high on a building on Wacker Dr. And for adults who want to relive a kids-experience, there’s a museum field-trip night that will take them down a shaft.

 

Restaurant at Lincoln Park Zoo

When entering the main entrance at Lincoln Park walk straight ahead and look up, tree-level for the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill perched above the gift shop. There is a ramp around the side for strollers and folks who can’t do stairs.

Formerly the Café at Wild Things, the space is geared to families with Foosball and air hockey tables, and games such as Jenga plus a menu that includes burgers and BBQ sandwiches. But there are also salads and flatbreads.

Recently opened, the restaurant is seasonal with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p., Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  However, the space can be booked for private events. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago. Admission is free. For more information visit lpzoo.org.

Coal Mine at MSI. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry)
Coal Mine at MSI. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry)

MSI adult field trip

Adults get to go down to the popular Coal Mine, board the U-505 Submarine and visit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and other stuff at the Museum of Science and Industry after hours (age 21+) on Sept. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Some things they didn’t have when on a kids’ field trip is Improv Comedy iO Theater Chicago doing behind-the-scenes MSI stories  and a chance to play such board games as Clue, Operation, and Guess Who (courtesy of Lakeview’s Bonus Round Café). Plus take part in a scavenger hunt.

Try hands-on experiments. And, oh yes, receive “boozy”juice boxes and “grown-up” lunchables.

Admission is $30 (MSI members: $25). It includes free parking in the underground garage, coat check, light snacks, a complimentary drink, and access to select exhibits. A cash bar will also be available. For more information visit msichicago.org/fieldtripnight

 

Art on theMART starts new projects. (Photo courtesy of theMART)
Art on theMART starts new projects. (Photo courtesy of theMART)

Mart art

New art projected on theMART (former Merchandise Mart) kicks-off Sept. 21 with food trucks and a DJ on Wacker Drive at 6:30 p.m., the projection starting at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 8 p.m. The projections feature works by Charles atlas and Petra Cortright. For more information visit visit artonthemart.com.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around town this weekend and next

 

Chicago Riverwalk (Photo courtesy of City of chicago and Dept. of cultural Affairs and special Events)
Chicago Riverwalk
(Photo courtesy of City of Chicago and Dept. of cultural Affairs and special Events)

Of course you know the Chicago Air and Water Show haappens across the city’s near-north lake front Aug. 16 (practice) then Aug. 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

But there is also a yummy food fest throughout Chicago from Aug. 14 through Sept. 1 and an interesting theater festival up in Skokie Aug. 16 to 18.

 

If your attention span stops you from seeing plays that are three hours long, Skokie Theatre has the answer in its Fifth Annual Short Play Festival.  Six,15-minute plays take the stage beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night. The low ticket price of $15 shouldn’t dent the culture budget.

They run the gamut from a woman who makes a strange request while planning her father’s funeral in “A Funeral Home in Brooklyn” to What happens in an antiquities gallery stays in an antiquities gallery in “Museum Piece.”

Skokie theatre is at 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, IL. For tickets visit OvationTix.

 

If you count yourself a foodie and also like the idea of meeting different chefs, trying different cuisines and giving back to the community check out the Chicago Tribune Food Bowl. It takes place at restaurants throughout the city, Aug. 14-Sept.1, 2019.

Then, if you like to see how the Riverwalk has developed with restaurants, bars and pop-up places, go down and over to the area from 201 West to 305 West Riverwalk South where you see Art on theMART at the Confluence and the Jetty for the Food Bowl Night Market, Aug. 23-25. (Franklin/Orleans Streets to Wells Street).

For more information visit Food Bowl events/calendar.

Jodie Jacobs

Five ideas on where to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show comes Aug. 17-18. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)
Chicago Air and Water Show comes Aug. 17-18. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

If you hear thunder but the sky is blue, Aug. 16, it is likely the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are flying overhead on their way to practice above North Avenue Beach.

The Chicago Air and Water Show, now in its 61st year, will be above and on the popular beach from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17-18. By the way, the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds headlined last year.

The event is free but given that it attracts about two million people those two days, it makes sense to go the day before when the headliners and acrobatic flights are practicing.

Tip: All the fly-bys are great but the top draw this year, the Blue Angels, come at the end of the show.

Taking public transportation  is best. Parking is also available in Millennium Park Garages where people can take a shuttle to North Avenue Beach.

But an alternate to going the day before or milling with the crowds during the show is to watch from somewhere between Ohio Street and Fullerton Avenue such as the places listed below where you can eat lunch or brunch during the show.

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