End summer with two excellent art shows that are worth a drive to the northern suburbs the next two weekends.
Mark Aug. 26-27 on the calendar for the 2023 Port Clinton Art Festival – Amdur Productions. Annually attracting collectors and art show lovers for 40 years and ranked among the best shows in the country, it runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Highland Park, IL
What to expect: 240 artists showcasing paintings, sculpture, glass, fabric, metal, wood art, jewelry, ceramics and photography. In addition, there are art demo stations, a Kid Zone that includes spin art, drawing and sand sculpture. Of course, there are food booths and live music.
Labor Day Weekend is the smaller, about 120 exhibitors but really good, juried Deer Path Art League’s 68th Art Fair on the Square. Located in the historic downtown of Lake Forest, it runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 3-4. For more information visit About the Show | Deer Path Art League.
Move the bod or just sit back and charge up your mood at the free Chicago Jazz Festiva, downtown Thursday, Sept 1 through Sunday, Sept 4.
The annual event is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) with programming by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
Today, Sept 1 go to Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Ave. between Randolph and Washington Streets then tonight, listen to jazz in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
During the day Sept 2, 3 and 4, head to the Harris Theater rooftop (enter on Randoph St.) or go over to the Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade). Then late afternoon and early evening meander over to the Pritzker Pavilion.
Note: outside alcohol not allowed but vendors will have driniks at the venues.
Go to an art fair in a suburb you may not have visited before or very often.
Fair on the Square, presented by the Deer Path Art League Sunday and Monday, Sept. 4-5, attracts local and nationally known artists.
Considered among the Chicago area’s oldest art fairs, it is held downtown Lake Forest on the west side of the METRA tracks.
The art fair is also a chance to see the suburb’s historic downtown which is listed among the country’s earliest outdoor shopping malls. Look up at the Square’s architecture to see some hidden niches and nooks.
As the weather has already let us know, summer events still have a month to go. Some of the Chicago area’s big events are in the weekends to come. Most are free. Think, Air & Water Show and Port Clinton Art Festival. Then, get out the calendar.
Aug 4-7 Windy City Smokeout West Loop at the United Center Cost: $50 and up
Combine country music stars such as Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert with pit master food bites from Kentucky and other famed smoke-it regions and you have Chicago’s annual Smokeout. More info at Home Page – Windy City Smokeout
Aug. 13 is Chicago’s famed Bud Billikin Parade and Festival, 10:30 a.m. to noon.
It’s in Bronzeville along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street and continues Ellsworth Drive through Washington Park to 55th St. The event has floats, dance teams and bands plus food and other booths. It started in 1929 as a way to generate excitement about back to school shopping and activities. For more information visit Bud Billikin event.
Aug. 20-21 Chicago Air and Water Show 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North Avenue Beach.
The 2022 show features U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Amy Golden Knights Parachute Team. However, some of the show can be seen on Friday when the participants have practice run-throughs. For more information visit Chicago Air and Water Show.
Aug 26 4-10, Aug. 27-28, noon to 10 p.m. Taste of Greek Town
The food fest is on Halsted Street from Van Buren to Adams St. For more information visit Taste of Greektown.
Aug. 13-14 Printer’s Row Art Festival 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sponsored by the Greater South Loop Association and South Loop Neighbors, the fest includes local restaurant booths. Booths line Dearborn Street from Harrison to Polk. A parking garage is at 75 W. Harrison St. For more info visit Printer’s Row Art Festival.
Aug 19 noon to 5 p.m. Aug 20 and 21 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest. Booths are downtown Evanston along Church Street. For more information visit Evanston Art and Big Fork.
Aug. 27-28 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Port Clinton Art Festival. Considered among the top art fairs in the country, the Port Clinton event showcases more than 260 juried-in artists who do sculpture, glass, painting, photography, wearable art and furniture. The art festival is downtown Highland Park on Central Avenue. For more information visit Port Clinton Art Festival.
Aug. 27-28 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bucktown Arts Fest. An annual celebration of art, craft, food and music in Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood. For more information visit Bucktown Arts Fest.
The good news is that the Chicago area is filled with fun weekend outdoor events. The challenge is deciding what to fit in, how much to see (and eat), where to go, and when. Be adventurous. Instead of choosing just a local spot, add a place or event you haven’t tried.
Here are a half dozen events to check out in the rest of July 2022.
Stroll the downtown of this upscale North Shore suburb to see more than 90 artists and artisans. The show features ceramics, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, glass and wearable art. A kid-friendly and pet-friendly event, the show includes artist demonstrations, kids’ activities and live music.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The show’s center is 700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. Free admission. For more information visit Amdur Productions/Glencoe.
Visit the downtown center of a former Naval Air Station in Glenview that was turned into a residential/shopping area known as The Glen. Operated by Art show guru Amy Amdur, Art at the Glen features the works of more than 140 artists.
The show is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday radiating out from 2030 Tower Drive, Glenview. For more information and a map see Amdur/The Glen.
The tiny (somewhat over a square mile) City of Highwood surrounded by the suburb of Highland Park, is known for the many restaurants that line its downtown on both sides of the METRA tracks. Those eateries, ranging from Italian and French to Caribbean and Asian will be ope but the featured foods this weekend are many kinds of tacos. The taco booths are in Everts Park, a block west of the train tracks and Green Bay Road between Highwood and North Avenues. Taco Fest hours: Thursday and Friday 5-11pm, Saturday noon – 11pm and Sunday noon – 9 pm.
The bonus for kids is a carnival set up in the METRA train lot on the east of the track. For more information and a map visit Taco Fest/Highwood Days.
Now in its 38th year and operated by the Wrightwood Neighborhood Assoc, the festival features restaurants in the area plus music and assorted vendors. Hours: Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. The event is on North Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton and Wrightwood.
After missing 2021 due to COVID, Hint of Rhino: Rhinoceros Theater Festival 2022 , will be April 1 through May 7, 2022. Presented by The Curious Theatre Branch in association with the Pride Arts Center and Jimmy Beans Cabaret, Prop Thtr and Labyrinth Arts, shows will run Thursday through Sunday at Jimmy Beans Coffee (2553 W. Fullerton Ave, second floor) in Logan Square and at the Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center (4139 N Broadway Ave) in Uptown.
Tickets to all events are $20 or pay-what-you-can. Proof of vaccination will be required at the door, and audience members and crew will remain masked inside venues. For ticket, show and other information visit rhinofest.com.
Maxwell Street Market
Known for its crafts, clothes, music, street food and family fun, the historic Maxwell Street Market reopens April 3. Hours are Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For directions and more information visit City of Chicago :: Maxwell Street Market.
Among the world’s leading art exhibition and programing, Expo Chicago will be at Navy Pier April 7 through April 10, 2022.
Fall is for Festivals from toasting fall beer at Octoberfests and enjoying the fruits of the season at an Applefest to browsing fine art and crafts at art fairs and swaying to the blues in Millennium Park .
Here is a quick rundown of some of the fun outdoor fests to still catch in September in and around Chicago
Sept. 17 Englewood Jazz Festival Sponsored by the Chicago Park District, the festival is at Hamilton (Alexander) Park, 513 W. 72nd St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m..
Sept 18, Blues at Millenium Park Part of Chicago in Tune, audiences can move to the music on the lawn or sit in in the Pritzker Pavilion (Fandolph Street east of Michigan Avenue.)
Sept. 16-26: Glendale Heights Oktoberfest in Camera Park, 101 E Fullerton Ave, Glendale will be all week. Hours are Mon-Thur 5 to 10 p.m., Fri, 5 to Midnight, Sat. Noon to Midnight and Sunday, Noon to 10 p.m. Admission $5 after 5 p.m., ages 16 and under free.
Sept. 18-19 Sam Adams Taco Fest Held in Lakeview on Southport Avenue between Addison and Roscoe, the hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more info check Chicago events.
Sept. 19: Bloody Mary Fest Held in Everts Park, 111 North Ave. in Highwood a little city (just over a square mile) that is known for great restaurants, the drink (and food, and music) event goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 24-25: Chicago Gourmet takes over the Harris Theatre Rooftop on Randolph Street at Millennium Park. It’s not all fancy food, so go for really good tacos and burgers. For tickets and details visit Gourmet.
Sept. 24-26: Oktoberfest Chicago Held in Lakeview at 1429 W. Wellington, the event is Fri, 5 to 10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cost: $10 Friday and Saturday and $5 Sunday.
Sept. 24-26: AppleFest is a popular Long Grove festival that is a chance to see the historic town while munching on apple cider donuts, chocolate and caramel dipped apples. Held downtown Long Grove at 308 Old McHenry Road and the Stemple Parking Lot, the hours are Fri noon to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. cost is $5., ages 6 and under free.
Arts and crafts
Sept. 18-19: Riverwalk Fine Art Fair is held in Naperville at Main and Jackson and along the river from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 18-19: Artfest Michigan Avenue An Amdur Productions juried art fair, about 70 artists will fill the courtyard space at 401 N Michigan Avenue between the former Tribune Tower and the Apple store, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 18-19: West Loop Art Fest covers four blocks in the booming West Fulton Street, North Sangamon Street area from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 18-19:Renegade Craft Fair A popular Wicker Park neighborhood festival, the booths will be up along Division Street between Damen and Ashland Avenues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 24-25:West Town Art Walk Art walks were once popular on Friday nights in towns across the country. A few have moved, reinvented themselves where art galleries still exist or have moved in such as in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. This festival covers Division to Hubbard and Halsted to Kedzie but free Pedicabs are available to visit the galleries on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. For more details visit West Town Art Walk | West Town Chamber
Even the pundits don’t know when the full election results will be known or get through the courts. So, folks who welcomed the spirit of Halloween for personal and family feel-good time, now need another good-ole’ standby, holiday shopping, to raise spirits.
Christkindlmarket and the One of a Kind Show Chicago will both go virtual in this pandemic year of 2020.
A European-style holiday event sponsored by the German Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Christkindlemarket moved online from downtown Chicago, Wrigleyville and Milwaukee on Nov. 1.
Shoppers can visit the fun market for its signature mug, mulled wine, holiday ornaments and activities through Dec. 31, 2020.
A small group of award-winning artists who show internationally, are in galleries and exhibit at some of the United States’ major art fairs, have cobbled together a virtual art fair that airs Oct.23-25.
The fun weekend begins with joining them for a drink on Friday similarly to the opening of a gallery show. Then, they continue with visits to their studios on Saturday and Sunday.
As an example, meet California wildlife artist Anne London and see the works of Chicago artist Darren Jones. They are just two of the artists you get to know at Youtube/watch/artfair.
Browsing tents and tables of jewelry, pottery, art glass, paintings and photos is still going on in some towns with a slightly different format. It’s also happening virtually.
The Port Clinton Art Festival, the mega fair that usually takes over at least four blocks of downtown Highland Park, will be back the last weekend of August. But in the 2020 year of the pandemic, look for it at about a quarter of its size with about 50 artists lining one block of St. Johns Avenue on the east side of the train station.
Taking a protocol page from Chicago’s popular destinations, the Port Clinton fair will have timed tickets. They can be obtained through Evanbrite/PortClintonArtWalk.
Port Clinton is among several fairs operated by Amy Amdur as the more than 30-year-old company of Amdur Productions.
Shopping the old fashioned way, leisurely browsing in person without worrying that the items will be gone by 8 a.m. or that the internet will be overloaded, can be a treat at museums and annual gift shows.
Listed here are two examples of excellent gift shows and really good, large museum shops. They are likely to take a while to explore and are fun excursions while filling the gift list. Continue reading “Where to find unusual gifts”