Five things to do Presidents’ Day weekend

 

The Weyard Sisters (Caitlan Taylor, Caroline Chu, and Emma Ladji) in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Short Shakespeare! Macbeth. (Liz Loren photo)
The Weyard Sisters (Caitlan Taylor, Caroline Chu, and Emma Ladji) in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Short Shakespeare! Macbeth. (Liz Loren photo)

Saturday

Shortened Shakespeare

See the 75 minute “Short Shakespeare! Macbeth” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., Feb. 16. It will continue Saturdays through March 16, 2019. Chicago Shakespeare Theater is on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more information visit ChicagoShakes/Macbeth.

 

Seussical: The Musical

Dr. Seuss’ creative genius is on stage at the  Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. The show continues through March 31, 2019. The theatre is at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Created by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (the Tony Award-winning team behind the acclaimed musicals Ragtime and Once on this Island), the production combines more than 14 Dr. Seuss stories. For tickets or more information call (847) 634-0200 or visit Marriott Theatre

 

Orchid in Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouse. (photo by J Jacobs)
Orchid in Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouse. (photo by J Jacobs)

Sunday

Orchids at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Warm up with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Orchid Show, called “The Tropics” this year. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For tickets and other information visit Chicago Botanic.

 

Monday 

Story Time

Chicago Botanic Garden holds Story Time for ages 2 to 5 on Mondays through March 25, 2019, including Presidents’ Day March18. Story Time goes from 10 to 11 a.m. in Lenhardt Library. Afterwards, get a bingo card to go find objecgts in the garden and greenhouses. No drop offs.A caregiver must be present.  The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, just east of the Edens Expressway. For more information visit Chicago Botanic or Story Time.

 

 

Hall leading to the Grainger Theater has fascinating space images. (J Jacobs photo taken of one of the hall's images)
Hall leading to the Grainger Theater has fascinating space images. (J Jacobs photo taken of one of the hall’s images)

Chicago Museum Campus

Go to the Chicago Museum Campus. All three of the museums on the Campus, the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, have free general admission for Illinois residents on Feb. 18, 2019. (Free days’ general admission does not include special exhibits and shows.)

 

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is at the far east end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. General admission is free to Illinois residents Feb. 18-21. For more information on what to see and admissions visit Adler Planetarium .

 

The Field Museum

At the Field, all of February is free to Illinois residents. There is a lot to see that does not require a special exhibit ticket. The Field is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. at the west end of the campus. For more information visit Field Free.

 

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd is in the middle of the Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr Free admission for Illinois residents is Feb. 18-22. For more information visit Shedd Free Days.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Three Valentine’s Day ideas

 

Go as a couple or go as friends but just do something appealing. Either way works if you want to share good food or a really nice experience. Our three suggestions combine food with a fun evening.

 

Celebrate Valentine's Day at Lincolnshire Marriott resort's Three Embers and Marriott Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet. Photo courtesy of Lincolnshire Marriott Resort)
Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Lincolnshire Marriott resort’s Three Embers and Marriott Theatre’s Million Dollar Quartet. Photo courtesy of Lincolnshire Marriott Resort)

 

Dinner and a Show

Three Embers, Lincolnshire Marriott’s upscale restaurant  has a Valentine’s Day Dinner Special but you can also order off the regular menu. However, go early to include “Million Dollar Quartet,” the show currently getting rave reviews in the resort’s theatre.  It’s more than just a show. It’s a terrific concert.

For tickets visit Box Office. For more iknformation call 847-634-0100 or visit Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. Lincolnshire Marriott Resort is at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire.

 

A dessert at the Chocolate Sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Chocolate Sanctuary)
A dessert at the Chocolate Sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Chocolate Sanctuary)

Dinner, Chocolate and Band

Expect chocolate to be part of the meal at The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee. You can have chocolate bread, chocolate butter and a chocolate dessert if you’d like, but also get a box of zodiac chocolates from the boutique up front.  The restaurant has a special menu for Valentine’s Day but you can also order from the menu. If you want you can go early for dinner and stay for the entertainment, “Eaglemania.” Ask about a dinner and show package price or when it’s best to go just for dinner.

Call (224) 944.0808 or visit The Chocolate Sanctuary. Also visit Chocolate Sanctuary Boutique. The Chocolate Sanctuary is at 5101 Washington St., Gurnee.

 

Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)
Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)

Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and Dinner

Navy Pier has free Centennial wheel rides Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. but pre-registration is needed. Don’t worry about the cold, you can cuddle but the gondolas are also heated. There will also be a drawing that combines dinner, dessert and gift basket. Free rides are limited  so register  as soon as possible. After the free tickets are gone there will be paid ticket rides on a first come, first serve basis.For information on reserved VIP gondolas call (312) 595-5021. (Note: The wheel temporarily closes when weather gets really bad)

To enter the dinner for two and other Valentine Day gift drawing, complete this form.  After the Pier has preselected three finalists, he grand prize winning couple will be chosen by public votes via poll on Navy Pier’s Facebook page.  Runner-ups will also receive a small package to be redeemed at a later date.

Several other Navy Pier retailers and restaurants will offer discounts. For more information visit   Navy Pier Valentines Day .

For more wheel information call (312) 595-PIER (7437) and visit Navy Pier.

312-595-PIER (7437) or following Navy Pier on Twitter (@NavyPier). For more information, visit Navy Pier.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Chinese New Year food and shopping events

The Peninsula Chicago is ready for Chinese New Year. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula Chicago)
The Peninsula Chicago is ready for Chinese New Year. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula Chicago)

If you have a Chinese restaurant near you it is likely decorated for the Chinese New Year and offering a special menu. During  the Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 4 through Feb. 17, 2019.

Go. Enjoy. And look at the paper placemat that might be at your place setting because it likely has the Chinese Zodiac on it or information that this is the Year of the Pig.

Then, if looking for something special to eat or do here are some suggestions.

 

Dining

 

The Furama Restaurant in the Uptown Argyle neighborhood is holding the Lunar New Year Celebration for the South-East Asia Center at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2019. The special event features entertainment and a 10-course traditional, Chinese-style banquet of seafood chowder, taro duck, roast chicken, walnut shrimp, mushrooms, vegetables, noodles with beef and broccoli, plus dessert. Cost $25.

Entertainment will be cross-cultural music and other performances representing Asian and non-Asian cultures because the South-East Asia Center strives to “Build Bridges” of understanding between all cultures. For reservations visit SE Asia Center New YearFurama Restaurant is at 4936 N. Broadway at Argyle.

 

Hing Kee Restaurant holds its annual New Year Dumpling Making Dinner at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, 2019. The event includes storytelling, Lion Dance, dumpling making and a 10-course, traditional Chinese meal. Cost is $40 adults, $35 children under age 12. Call (312) 842-1988 or visit Chinese New Year Dumpling Making Dinner Eventbrite.

Hing Kee Restaurant is at 2140 S. Archer Ave., 2nd floor.  For more Chinese cultural information visit ChicagoCCI .

 

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a Chinese New Year themed afternoon tea in The lobby at the Peninsula Chicago Feb . 4-10. There will be a Lion Dance show. For tea reservations  call (312) 573-6695 or visit Peninsula Chinese New Year. The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at Michigan Avenue.

 

Shopping

Two shopping centers, Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, and The Shops at Northbridge, Chicago, will be handing out Chinese New Year-style red envelopes with special store offers  Feb. 2-17, 2019.

At Fashion Outlets go to Concierge Services on Level 1 near Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH for an envelope containing : Year of the Pig Savings Pass that provides up to $800 in savings and a complimentary bag. For more information visit Fashion Outlets of Chicago . Fashion Outlets is at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont.

At the Shops at North Bridge go to Concierge Servies on Level One near Nordstrom for the red envelope. In addition,  North Bridge visitors can see the Huaxing Arts Troupe and visit activity booths from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. The Shops at North Bridge is at 520 N. Michigan Ave. For more information visit Shops at North Bridge.

Jodie Jacobs

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Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinatown New Year's Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)
Chinatown New Year’s Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)

If the new year that began Jan. 1, 2019 didn’t bring much luck so far or you really enjoy celebrating a new year, join in the fun and good luck of Chinese New Year  4717 that begins on Feb. 4.

Chicago celebrations kick off with a pre-New Year’s celebration Downtown Feb. 2, continue Feb. 5 and beyond until they end Feb. 16. However, Chinese New Year celebrations do go from Feb. 4 through Feb. 17 and end in some places with a Lantern Festival.

There is a lot going on in the city to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac’s lunar year sign – the Year of the Pig.

Also known as the Spring Festival, this Lunar Festival (there are others, particularly in Asia,) begins the eve before the first day and is often a time for families to get together.

Think “new moon” to know when it begins. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, 2019.  This year, the new moon is Feb. 4, 2019.

Here are some events that honor the Chinese culture and arts. More information is at Choose Chicago Chinese New Year   and  Chinese Fine Arts Society. Unless otherwise noted, the events are free.

 

Art Institute of Chicago pre-New Year celebration followed by a Lantern Procession

Head over to the Art Institute at 111 S. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 2 for music, crafts, stories, games and some talks in English and Mandarin about the museum’s Chinese art collection from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Then, cross Monroe Street to Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for more activities. A Lantern Procession will line up about 5 p.m. and wind with a lion dance over to Maggie Daley Park about 5:30. Crafts and ice skating take place there until 7:30 p.m. The event is a partnership of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Choose Chicago.

 

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)
Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)

Official City kickoff at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the Chinese Fine Arts Society at noon Feb. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Watch lion dancers, Silk Road pipa master Yang Wei, martial arts and the Flying Fairies dance troupe. A special feature will be the China National Peking Opera Company including a sneak peak of comedic and acrobatic “At the Crossroads,” a famous opera based on a story from Water Margin.

The event is co-sponsored with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preston Bradley Hall is up the south stairs of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St Chicago Find more information at  (773) 935-6169

 

Annual Argyle Lunar New Year Parade

Join Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood festivities Feb. 9 for the Chinese New Year parade of dragons, lions and floats. It starts at 1 p.m. at Argyle and Winthrop near the Argyle “L” stop then goes east on Argyle Street to Sheridan Road, south to Ainslie Street, west to Broadway and then back to Argyle.

Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization
Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization)

 

Today at Apple

At the Apple store on north Michigan Avenue there will be Music Lab of Chinese Instruments with Yang Wei, artist-in-residence at Chinese fine arts society on Feb. 9. The event, running from 1 to 3:30 p.m. also includes hands-on GarageBand on the  iPad for the digital version and Sound-of- Wishes Ensemble. Plus, calligrapher Yijun Hu will draws to the music on an iPad. Apple is at 401 N. Michigan Ave.

 

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade attracts thousands of folks from all over the Chicago area. The celebration takes place at Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street in the heart of Chinatown from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb 10. Cosponsors are the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation and Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

 

A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)
A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)

 

Chicago Symphony Center Fifth Annual Chinese New Year Concert

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Symphony Center’s fifth annual concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10. The event features the China National Peking Opera Company and the Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra. This is a ticketed program.

A pre-concert performance is in Buntrock Hall at 1:30 p.m. featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts Association, Yellow River Performing Arts and the Chicago Chinese Qipao Association. These performances are free to ticket holders of the 3 p.m. concert. Orchestra Hall is at, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

 

Global Connections: Chinese New Year Celebration at Navy Pier

Navy Pier celebrates the Chinese New Year with colorful performances and crafts and food booths in its AON Grand Ballroom, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Performing are the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, pipa master Yang Wei, Mongolian throat singer Tamir Hargana, the Flying Fairies dance troupe, Beidou Kung Fu, Zhong Hua Kung Fu plus traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Instrument Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team and others from Chicago’s Chinese community.

The Chinese Marketplace opens at 12:30 p.m. Performances are at 1 P.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Puppet Master: Global Fest returns

Huber Marionettes Gypsy Dancer. (Photo courtesy of Huber Marionettes)
Huber Marionettes Gypsy Dancer. (Photo courtesy of Huber Marionettes)

Depending on your generational reference, the word “puppet” may elicit memories of Shari Lewis’ adorable Lamb Chop or the stage-managing Kermit the Frog of “The Muppets Show.”

But puppetry actually is an ancient tradition of storytelling that is rooted in diverse global cultures. More recently, technical and creative innovations have launched the art to new heights of theatrical expression.

The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival celebrates this renaissance through Jan. 27. More than 100 performances of 24 shows and events are being given at 19 Chicago venues by professional puppeteers from 11 countries.

The 2019 edition of the biennial Festival showcases an entertaining and eclectic array of experiences and cultures from around the world. A wide range of puppet styles and approaches are presented including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, paper scrolls and even anthropomorphized plastic shopping bags.

Some of the productions are lighthearted and family-friendly, while others are dramatic or political. Some incorporate dance, song, multimedia, live music, kites–or total silence. All are thought-provoking and moving examples of the power of puppetry to foster compassion and spark insight into lives beyond our own..

 

A few of the shows that are coming up

“Pescador/Fishermen” by Silencio Blanco of Chile is a series of quiet portraits of men at sea. Engrossed in their solitary work, fishermen absorb nature’s overwhelming immensity.

In “Suspended Animation,” the stunning Huber Marionettes from Cookeville, Tenn., dance, play musical instruments and perform complex acrobatic tricks.

“Schweinehund” is inspired by the true story of Pierre Seel, a Frenchman deported to a concentration camp in 1941 on suspicion of homesexuality. Performed on a wooden table, skeletal puppets interact with projected video-animations evoking powerful snapshots of the atrocities Seel endured juxtaposed with wistful memories of yesteryears. It was produced by puppeteers Andy Gaukel of New York and Myriame Larose of Montreal.

This year’s schedule also includes the Neighborhood Festival Tour, a series of 12 free performances by Italian and Puerto Rican puppeteers.

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was formed in 2014 to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry. Founder and artistic director Blair Thomas, known for his work in spectacle theater, previously co-founded the now-defunct Redmoon Theater.

DETAILS: The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival runs in various city theaters and venues through Jan. 27. For tickets and a full schedule, visit  ChicagoPuppetFest.

Pamela Dittmer McKuen

(Ed note: McKuen saw the first show, “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” but because it isn’t on the continuing agenda, she didn’t write a review for readers who might want to go. However she said she would have given it our top rating of 4 stars.)

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

Around Town: Baseball heats up in January

 

Expect to see Cubs and Sox caps, shirts and jackets on the north and south sides of downtown Chicago the last couple of weekends of January 2019.

The Cubs Convention moves into the Sheraton Grand Chicago (301 E. Water St.), Jan 18-20.

SoxFest takes over the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.) Jan. 25-27.

Both fests feature player meet-and-greets, panels,exhibits and autograph sessions

 

What you need to know to go

(Logo courtesy of the Cubs organizations.)
(Logo courtesy of the Cubs organizations.)

Cubs fans: Individual weekend passes and Sheraton packages are sold out but a few two-night, four-passes packages are still available for the W Chicago Lakeshore (644 N. Lakeshore Dr.).

For more information and to snag a W Chicago Lakeshore package visit Cubs Convention. More information on Cub players/coaches/alum to attend will be announced shortly before the convention starts.

 

(SoxFest logo courtesy of Sox organization)
(SoxFest logo courtesy of Sox organization)

Sox fans: There are still two-night hotel packages and weekend passes available. Some players, coaches and alum have already been announced. For the packages, passes, who will be there and more info visit SoxFest.

 

 

 

*** Drawing for free pair of SoxFest passes to readers of Chicago Theater and Arts.

The Sox organization is graciously donating a pair of passes to SoxFest for a Chicago Theater and Arts reader to use (not sell).

What to do

To enter the drawing, facebook readers can follow me on facebook at Jodie Jacobs, put their name in the comment area with code SX. I will send a reply asking for contact info.

Or if not on facebook send an email with name, phone and address to jjtravelsmart@gmail.com.

Names must be in by Jan. 13. Drawing will be on Jan. 14. The person will be informed by Jan. 15 with instructions on whether the passes will be mailed or picked up at the Chicago Hilton.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Three theater festivals brighten January landscape

 

Fillet of Solo Festival brightens January. (Fillet of Solo photo)
Fillet of Solo Festival brightens January. (Fillet of Solo photo)

What to do in long, blah January? These three festivals: Chicago Sketch Comedy, Fillet of Solo and Rhinoceros Theater turn that gray month between red and green December and red and pink February into a multi-colored vision of comic moments, heartfelt songs and thought-provoking stories.

 

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival Jan. 10 -20, 2019

The Chicago mayor’s race may be a local subject for sketch comedy or politics in Britain and the US may be skewered from the stage but part of the fun of attending the annual festival is to hear how comedic entertainers view what is going on in the world or in families or in their own lives that may turn out to be similar to yours.

Started in 2002 with 35 comedy groups sharing their thoughts, the festival now attracts more than 180 groups from all over. They will be performing about 200 shows beginning Jan 10 and going through Jan. 20, 2019. So check out the performers and their dates at Chicago Sketch Comedy Lineup, get tickets and head over to Stage 773, a multi space venue at 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago.

 

Fillet of Solo Festival  Jan. 18 – Feb. 2, 2019

Fillet of Solo  celebrates storytelling by groups and solo performers. The performances are at Lifeline Theatre 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. and the Heartland Studio Theatre, 7006 N. Glenwood Ave. (Free parking and shuttle available). To find out who is performing where and when visit Performances.

 

Rhinoceros Theater Festival  Jan. 18 – Feb. 24, 2019 

Begun in 1988 as the Curious theatre Branch, this fringe theater festival brings together music and theater performers. Originally located in Wicker Park and then moving to Rogers Park, the festival took root at Prop Thtr in 2009 which co-produces the festival with Curious. Events are at Prop at3502-04 Elston Ave., Chicago.

For music, stories and plays schedules visit Rhinofest titles. For more information call visit Rhinofest.

 

Jodie Jacobs

Around town: Not gone yet

 

With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.

Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera
Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera

Shows

Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information  visit Lyric Opera.

Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.

Women of Soul” at the Black Ensemble Theatre goes to Jan. 27. See tickets and more information at Black Ensemble Theater.

“ A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, opens this weekend (Dec. 14 2018), and runs through Jan. 27. Tickets and more information at Chicago Shakes.

At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted, “Familiar” continues through Jan. 13 and “”La Ruta” goes through Jan. 27.  Visit Steppenwolf.

 

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Festivals

Illumination” at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle, goes through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Winter Wonderfest” continues at Navy Pier, Chicago, through Jan. 6. For tickets, parking and other information visit Navy Pier.

Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show)  For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.

Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.

Read More

Winter WonderFest

 

Navy Pier celebrates winter
Navy Pier celebrates winter

We had a great time visiting the Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier.

The event is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and even though it is geared primarily toward the little ones there is plenty of fun for the whole family.

Essentially this is an indoor carnival. In fact the brochure claims “thrills without the chills.”

For the little tykes, designated as under 46 inches tall, there are two bouncers and other games in the Jingle Jym Junior area right by the entrance.

WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)
WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)

Of course the Kringle Carousel which is the first thing you see when you enter is fun for anyone looking for a classic carnival experience. My wife never misses an opportunity to ride a carousel.

There’s mini golf artic style and an artic plunge is a giant inflatable slide topped by an enormous polar bear.

The Lighthouse takes those 36” and taller up a roughly thirty foot lighthouse then unexpectedly drops them repeatedly for a bit of a thrill.

The Winter Tube is a slippery snowless toboggan-like slide, only rather than a sled, you ride a kind of colorful inner tube style ring.

Ice skating at WinterFest
Ice skating at WinterFest

I think a feature for many is the star spangled ice skating rink. This seems like it might be an attraction for teens looking for a fun date night, especially if mom makes you take your little brother along.  But indoor ice skating is actually my idea of enjoying the sport.

Kids love to climb and what could be more fun than making your way to the rafters via the Snowy Summit Climbing Wall?

The gigantic Christmas tree is beautifully decorated offering a perfect back drop for a photo or just to be enjoyed from virtually every vantage point within the fair.

Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.
Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.

The Cliff Hanger is certainly the most visual and most exciting offering, whirling you at break-neck speed in a kind of hang glider looking contraption, ultimately landing you gently back the ground.

The psychedelic lighting of the Winter WonderWhirl adds a lot to the sense of excitement.

There are bumper cars, an excursion train, Tilt’a Whirl and spinning Hot Cocoa Cups.

Enjoy plenty of holiday photo ops which you can do yourself or take advantage of the photo package available for purchase on site.

There are snacks, additional rides and attractions and as a nice bonus each ticket also includes a ride on Chicago’s very own Centennial “Ferris” Wheel.

This is a good excuse to get off the couch and do something together as a family or just another nice way to enjoy a trip to Navy Pier.

DETAILS: You will find the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at the West end of Navy Pier on the Lakefront at Illinois Street through Jan. 6, 2019. For tickets and information visit NavyPier.org

Reno Lovison

 

 

 

Holiday gift ideas Mart show

 

Quilts by Kathleen Johnson at One of a Kind Show Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)
Quilts by Kathleen Johnson at One of a Kind Show Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)

Wear walking shoes because the more than 600 booths at the One of a Kind Show Chicago has taken over the 7th Floor of The Mart and they are worth investigating.

From gourmet foods along one wall to artists selling jewelry, glass, ceramics, paintings, interesting wall art, quilts, wooden objects, hats and bags, the One of a Kind Show is fulfilling holiday shoppers’ gift list.

They’re also finding items for their own jewelry box, given the number of shoppers trying on earrings and necklaces at the Patricia Locke (she was there for the opening) booth during “early access” hour Thursday.

Patricia Locke at her booth in the One of a Kind Show ((J Jacobs photo)
Patricia Locke at her booth in the One of a Kind Show ((J Jacobs photo)

BTW, The Locke booth also featured Rook + Crow jewelry, a less expensive line that didn’t go in for colored stones but was well designed.

This is not a quick walk-through show.

It’s a chance to chat with Midwest artists and gourmet food purveyors such as Wisconsin quilter Kathleen Johnson who brought gorgeous pieces that easily qualify as art work, Chicago multi-media artist and designer Emmy Star Brown who is also in demand as muralist and Chicago suburban artist Danuta Loane about her fine ceramics.

Danuyta Loane's ceramics (J Jacobs photo)
Danuyta Loane’s ceramics (J Jacobs photo)

And there are the Flaherty’s from Moline, IL to talk to about their yummy Irish Toffee and sample their hot Buttered Rum.

Opened Dec. 6, the show continues through Dec. 9, 2018 for holiday shopping and returns April 26-28, 2019 to start the spring-summer art fair season indoors.

The Mart is on the north side of the Chicago River between Orleans and Wells Streets. For ticket, hours and other information visit One of a Kind.

Jodie Jacobs