With so many fun, tasty and sparkling events now happening post COVID shutdowns it’s easy to miss a couple that should be on the calendar, this year.
One of a Kind
It’s an art show, a gourmet gift show and a stuffing-stocker show.
Wear comfortable walking shoes here because One of a Kind’s holiday show takes up an entire floor of The Mart. It’s that gigantic building on Wacker Drive and the Chicago River (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza).
Held Dec. 1-4, there are more than 500 booths to peruse ranging from photography, glass, wearable art jewelry, paintings and woodwork to tasty spices, chocolates, candies and sauces.
Home to the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood is holds a Julmarknad holiday market, a St. Lucia Festival of Lights and a Julmiddag, the traditional Swedish Christmas smörgåsbord.
The Julmarknad , a holiday bazaar of Scandinavian and other crafts plus Santa and entertainment is Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..
The St. Lucia Festival of Lights is Dec. 13 with its crowning down in the Nordic House at the Wrigley Building (400 N. Michigan Ave.) at noon and the candle-lit procession in Andersonville on Clark Street beginning at 4:45 p.m. VisitSt. Lucia Festival of Lights.
Then the Julmiddag smörgåsbord is at the Museum Dec. 18, 2022 at 5 p.m. It includes a St. Lucia procession, a visit from Tomten (Santa) and dancing around the Christmas tree. Make reservations at julmiddag. by Dec. 13.
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.
Following a couple of years of virtual and shortened versions of Taste of Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced May 21, 2022, some surprising plural Tastes and other changes.
Taste will first sharpen appetites for a day in three neighborhoods: Austin, Pullman and Little Village in June before moving to Grant Park for three days in July.
The neighborhood expansion is a double-barrel initiative for Taste of Chicago which began in 1980. It’s a chance for Taste goers to get to know other areas of the city and for food vendors to bring their “tastes” to a neighborhood.
Austin is Saturday, June 11, noon to 8 p.m. around 5720 W. Chicago Ave., the event will feature blues bands from Chicago Blues Festival presented by Soul City Blues and a dozen food vendors. For band times and food vendor list visit Taste Austin.
Pullman is Saturday, June 18, noon to 8 p.m. in Pullman Park. 11101 S. Cottage Grove. For the music schedule (hosted by Charise Bennett of Komikal 1 Entertainment) and food vendors visit Taste Pullman.
Little Village is Saturday, June 25, noon to 8 p.m. at Ortiz De Dominguez School, 3000 W. Lawndale Ave. For music schedule and vendors visit Taste Little Village.
Grant Park is Friday through Sunday, July 8-10, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain near Jackson and Columbus. There are 32 food vendors, two stages and SummerDance. For the Main Stage and Goose Island Stage plus the SummerDance times and vendors visit Taste Grant Park.
Another change is that no food tickets will be sold. Food vendors will take cash and credit cards.
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
Yes, the City of Chicago has reopened. However, look for your favorite festivals at different times in different formats and at different places. There are more events and new celebrations across the city’s many neighborhoods in 2021.
Don’t be Blue
Because some noted annual fests as Blues, Jazz and Gospel are arranged way ahead of performance dates but COVID interfered, plan on attending each of them in a three-hour, early-evening version this fall. As part of the city’s new “In Tune” program, they all will be free and run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in September 2021.
Gospel is Sept. 3. Hosted by Jonathan McReynolds and Inspiration 1390’s Sonya Blakely and Deandre Paterson, it will include La Shon Brown, the Carson Sisters, Nicole Harris, Illiana Torres and the Tommies Reunion Choir.
Jazz is Sept. 4. Presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, it features Ari Brown, Marquis Hill and Lizz Wright.
House celebration is Sept. 11 featuring “Sanitize Your Soul,” a debut Gospel House Choir collaboration between Mark Hubbard and DJ Terry Hunter.
Blues is Sept. 18. The evening will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and the Nick Moss Band . Also hear Dennis Gruenling, Cash Box Kings, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Wayne Baker Brooks.
Work off the Taste of Chicago treats after July 11. The celebration of Chicago dishes and restaurants starts July 7 but instead of everything happening in Grant Park it will be a week of pop-up food from nearly 40 eateries and take place in neighborhood markets. Plus there are cooking demos, music and community meals with local nonprofit organizations.
Pop ups are July 7, 2 -7 p.m. at Pullman City Market, July 8 from 1-7 p.m. at Austin Town Hall City Market, July 9, at 4-8 p.m. at iWEPA Mercado del Pueblo, and also at 5 -8 p.m. for Taste on Tap at Goose Island Brewery.
They continue July 10 from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. at The Hatchery, and from 10 a.m. -4 p.m. at Eli’s Cheesecake Company and from 1-8 p.m. on 63rd street in the West Englewood neighborhood.
The event culminates July 11 from noon to 3 p.m. with women restaurateurs in Millennium Park.
The city’s new programs include “Chicago Presents” community events; a nine-part House City series in the neighborhoods that helped create the music genre; two Latinx and World Music celebrations; two films and more just-announced special events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion; and a mash-up of public art and dance at Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.
Céad mílefáilte, a hundred thousand welcomes, may greet customers of Chicago area eateries and bars in March. And expect the city’s skyline to be filled with green lights from March 11 through March 17.
Even though the city’s famed downtown and the two neighborhood parades, Southside Irish and Northwest Side Irish, have been canceled for 2021 and the plumbers union that turns the Chicago River green shows no sign of doing so this year, the easing of restrictions by Governor J B Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot means many restaurants and bars will be happily welcoming customers in time for March’s St. Paddyh’s Day celebrations.
Expect them to ask guests to mask when entering and when their server is present. And check on reservations because they will be operating at 50 percent capacity and shortened stay time.
“The City of Chicago is encouraging St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that follow current city and state health guidelines,” noted a Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events statement.
In addition, the statement said, “The Chicago Loop Alliance is asking downtown buildings to light up green for ShamROCk Chicago, and other neighborhoods are hosting socially distance scavenger hunts and other reimagined programs.”
As an example, Southside Irish Parade committee is hosting a Shamrock our Blocks celebration with signs and decorations. The South Side Irish Parade
“Each year, the South Side Irish Parade draws thousands of people to our community and to our neighborhood businesses. The parade committee’s goal is to create a plan that gives back to local businesses as well as offer a family-friendly festive way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year,” said 2021 Committee Chair Tim McSweeney
From now until March 17th, Stan’s Donuts (all locations0 is offering all things green. Guests can get Emerald-dipped donuts, Green River Glazed donuts, Green Mint Hot Chocolate, Irish Cream Cold Brew and Mint Cream Cold Brew topped with Cold Foam, Mint Oreo Shakes, and more.
West Loop hotspot PB&J offers a St. Patrick’s Day experience for up to six guests. Starting at 8 a.m. March 13, guests can book these pre-paid packages:
St. Patrick’s Brunch Kit – 1 bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Carafes of Green Orange Juice,Green Beer, and guests choice of 2 Brunch Pizzas at $50 per person.
Leprechaun Package – 1 bottle of Jameson, Don Julio Blanco or Ketel One, Green beer, 2 Pizzas, and St. Patrick’s Day party swag at $75 per person.
Dealers Choice – Guests can order any food or beverage item off PB&J’s menu a la carte with a $75 minimum per person.
In addition to these pre-paid packages, PB&J will also have a “Pot O Gold” pop up bar outside. Guests can purchase Green beer, Guinness, Red Bull Cocktail, Slane shots, and more. As a proud sponsor of the 2021 St. Paddy’s Day 5k and 8K Run/Walk, participants will receive a free Dogfish Head beer, while supplies last.
For two Ireland-born sisters, the reopening of The Dearborn this month comes in time for their home country’s celebrated holiday. Besides iconic Irish dishes like Fish & Chips (which Chef Aaron Cuschieri made and won with on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay) and a Corned Beef Reuben, The Dearborn will offer specials such as Seafood Chowder, Beef & Lamb Shepherd’s Pie and a Strawberry & Crème Roulade cake. Also available Guinness on draft, Irish Whiskeys and Irish Coffee.
The Dearborn is also partnering with Vanille Patisserie for those who can’t make it to the Loop but still want to celebrate with Irish fare. Throughout St. Patrick’s week, order a three-course family meal featuring the Seafood Chowder, Shepherd’s Pie and a special Irish Apple Cake with Shamrock Cookies from Vanille for dessert. Available through TOCK from March 10-17 for pick-up at Vanille’s Lincoln Park location or at The Dearborn.
If tired of friends asking what are you doing with more time at home, put yourself into one of those cartoon frames with a lightbulb in the overhead cloud.
What would the next frame show? Learn how to make a holiday dessert or favorite ethnic dish? Learn to draw? Paint a portrait of your pet? Work with clay? And what if the frame has another figure such as a young son or daughter/ So what about a fun science or comic-book or kids cooking class.?
Chicago Theater and Arts CTAA) checked out several resources in the Chicago area to come up with three suggestions for now. (More later in January to combat winter and Covid doldrums).
The Art Center
TAC, as highland Park’s art exhibition and class space is called, has in person and online classes. A good website to know, TAC has online mini classes for adults and youngsters such as one for ages 15-100 to learn how to do a pet’s portrait, work with colored pencils or portray a winter scene.
Classes are online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2020 with most starting Dec. 1 and going on for two weeks using zoom. Youth classes, for drawing, cartooning, painting and clay, are typically are for age 9-13 but some begin at age 8.
Get dinner ideas. Cook and learn from famed chefs. Have the kids take a class. Those are just some of the perks of going to Chefs Gale Gand and Jessica Dawson’s online Kitchen Sisters Cooking School.
Gand, an award winning pastry chef, cookbook author, Michelin star and James Beard restaurateur and cooking teacher works out of the Chicago area. Dawson is a traveling chef, teacher who was the youngest traveling America’s Test Kitchen host and has taught people around the world the science of cooking (when she stops long enough to teach in one place).
Museum of Science and Industry Resources Lab
MSI has a new, online spot for tomorrow’s scientists. Some of the topics are Mission to Mars: what to pack, Forensics Chromatography, and Engineers: building bridges. For more information visit MSIChicagoResources.
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.