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.
The Chicago Air and Water Show, the country’s largest, free exhibition of precision flying, is at the city’s North Avenue Beach, 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Aug. 20-21. But several performers practice on Aug. 19, which means Friday is also a good day to visit the beach area from Oak Street north.
Begun as the Lakeshore Park and Water Show in 1959 featuring a Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue demo and water events, it soon added the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds that have since appeared alternate years with the U. S. Navy’s Blue Angels – a 2022 show headliner.
Stationed at Forrest Sherman Field Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. during its show season, the Blue Angels’ team was started by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz in 1946 to raise awareness and interest in naval aviation.
The squadron spends January through March training at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, CA. For more Blue Angels history visit U.S. Navy Blue Angels History.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights, the show’s other featured group, first got together in 1959 when 19 Airborne Soldiers from different units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC) under Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. to participate in skydiving competitions.
The STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. By 1962 the team was called “Golden Knights” for the medals won.
Where to watch
From the ground
You can hear long-time Air and Water show announcer and former military and commercial pilot Herb Hunter on the PA system at North Avenue Beach in Lincoln Part at 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.
But you can pretty much see the show along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the Oak Street Beach north to Fullerton Avenue.
The U.S. Navy/Marine Corps Blue Angels C-130 “Fat Albert”, the US NavyF35C Lightening II demo Team and US Navy Legacy Flight with FG 1 D Corsiar and A-4B Skyhawk
Chicago show will be the first time, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and U.S. Navy Legacy Flights will be performing in the same Air and Water Show. There will be an additional F-35C Legacy II to incorporate a “Missing Man” dedication to the late Rudy Malnati Jr. who was the Chicago Air and Water Show Director for 30 years.
Other military performers include the US Air Force F-22 Raptor demo team, US Coast Guard Ari/Sea Rescue, Maryland Air National Guard A-10C Thunderbolt II, IL National Guard 183rd Security Forces, US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey and US Air Force Red Horse Mobile Aircraft Arresting Gear Team.
Civilian performers include Susan Dacy of Barnstorming America with Big Red, Bill Stein, Kevin Coleman, Rob Holland, Triple Time Team, and from the city, the Chicago Fire Dept Air/Sea Rescue Team and the Chicago Police Dept. helicopter.
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.
If you pass Madame ZuZu’s, a café/tearoom and music event space on First Street in Highland Park, IL, you will see a sign with an angel and a couple of cute animals that says “Together and Together Again” (7.27.22).
The sign is an invite to a virtual benefit concert put together by ZuZu’s owner, Billy Corgan and partner Chloé Mendel, for the Highland Park Community Foundation.
Yes, it’s the North Shore town that never expected its July 4th parade to be on the news for a mass shooting. And yes, Corgan, frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, is an HP resident.
To be held July 27, 2022, 8 to 10 p.m., the concert will include, among others, Corgan, Smashing bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, Frank Catalano (Jazz sax), the Bob Moses duo of Tom Howie and Timmy Vallance and the classical Lincoln Trio. Other entertainers will be named later.
Attendance and items to purchase are virtual through the Smashing Pumpkins YouTube site. For more info visit Zuzucafe.com event. Zuzu’s is at 1876 First St., Highland Park, IL.
J is for June. This is the month where North Halsted Street is a blaze with rainbow colors, Millenium Park has three entertainment stages and Jay Pritzker Pavilion resounds with the Blues and Grant Park’s Classics.
Sing the Blues
Or just be moved by its mood and rhythm when Chicago celebrates its hometown sound at the annual Blues Festival June 9-12.
The city has expanded the Festival to add blues bands to Chase’s Promenade North and South Stage to the Pritzker Pavilion stage . Check the Blues Band Schedule for Dates, Times and Stage.
In addition, Blues Festival bands will be at the Riverwalk June 9-10 and join with Taste of Chicago in Austin June 11 and Bronzeville June 12.
Pride Fest and Parade
Dress up if you want but join in the LGBTQ+ fun at Chicago Pride Fest June 18-19. .Come for the food, stage shows and entertainment. Return the next weekend for the city’s famed Pride Parade.
Pride Fest is on Halsted Street from Addison to Grace from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days. A $15 donation is suggested to cover costs. All Ages are welcome. Not welcome are backpacks, large bags and outside beverages. For more information visit Pride Fest About.
Then, dance,, hoot and howl with thousands of LGBTQ+ supporters June 26 for the 52 Annual Pride Parade along a four-mile route. The parade of floats, performers, bands and marchers starts off at noon from Montrose Avenue and Broadway in Uptown. Then winds through the city’s north side (map) including Northalsted and Lakeview to end near Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park.
Pride in the Park
Pride celebrations continue June 25-26 in Grant Park (entrance on Monroe) with a ticketed ($60 Sat. $50 Sun. $105 two-day pass) music and food festival, Saturday 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday 3 to 10 p.m. For tickets and other information visit Pride in the Park.
Go over to Millennium Park for its Music Series, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 to 9.m. for a variety of singers and instrumentalists. Held in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, seating is free. The series opens June 20 with renowned Nigerian Afrobeat saxophonist, composer Femi Kuti.
For classical music in the Pritzker Pavilion, check out the Grant Park Music Festival. It opens June 15 with Mozart Symphony No. 35, 6:30 to 8 p.m.. Seats up front are ticketed and reserved. Further back and bring your own chair or blanket seating is free.
Wear something green on March 17, the date Saint Patrick died in the fifth century. But if you want to watch a parade in his honor or see the Chicago River turn green you’ll want to start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day the weekend before the anniversary date.
Chicago River Dyed Green
On Saturday, March 12, 2022, start your celebration near Chicago’s Mag Mile at the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Wacker Drive on the south bank or the Riverwalk on the north bank.
That is where the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 work their secret formula magic each year between Columbus Drive and Wabash Avenue, Saturday morning before Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Typically using two motor boats and usually starting about 10 a.m., union members pour and disperse gallons of an orange-colored environmentally-safe vegetable powder into the water.
The process takes about 45 minutes and draws a big crowd so if you go you’ll want to get to the area early for a good vantage point.
Originally started in 1962 using a fluorescent dye that made the water green for a few weeks, the dying process was changed to an eco-friendly powder that turned the river green for a few hours.
Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Next, head to Columbus Drive for the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It begins at 12:15 p.m. at Balbo Drive and continues north to Monroe Drive.
Expect to see floats, Irish dancers, bagpipers and bands including the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band which has been leading the parade since 1956. Then, you will hear lots of applause as representatives of the 2022 theme, Chicagoland’s Essential Workers, march into view. Of course there will be city, state and US politicians. For more info visit St. P:atrick’s Day Parade org.
Irish American Heritage Center Fest
Wind up at the St. Patrick Festival at Irish American Heritage Center for good food, beer and entertainment from 1 to 11:30 p.m. While there absorb Irish culture in its museum. Find tickets and more information at Irish American Heritage Center (irish-american.org) (Children welcome and ages 11 and under have free admission.
South Side Irish Parade
The St. Patrick salutes continue on Sunday, March 13 with the popular South Side Irish Parade in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago at noon.
A family-friendly parade, it began as a really small, kids only parade by a couple of neighbors in 1979. However, it grew and grew to become so popular across the Chicago area attendance disrupted its Beverly neighborhood until restrictions on parking and drinking were put in place.
So go but observe neighborhood requests. The parade is on Western Avenue from 103rd Street to 115th Street. For more information visit Home – South Side Irish Parade
Northwest Side Irish
If Northwest is more your location, consider the Northwest Side Irish Parade March 13 that also beings at noon. It goes from Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway.
A fun, community event, the parade winds through Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood. It begins at the William J. Onahan School, goes south on Neola venue to Northwest Highway and then heads north to Harlem Avenue. There is an after parade party at Zia’s Social. Visit Northwest Side Irish Parade.
You might hear Céad mile fáite (A hundred thousand welcomes) n or Erin Go Bragh (Braugh) roughly meaning Ireland til the end of time, there or at the Irish Heritage Center.
Maple syrup, yum. We love it on pancakes or dripping on French toast or sweetening what is cooking. But no matter how the syrup is used, in spring we celebrate it because that is when the sap turned into syrup rises in maple trees.
Luckily, forest preserves’ educators can tap the trees to capture sap, take visitors on hikes to see the tapping, taste the sap, explain how it is turned into syrup and say how much sap is needed for even a little bit of syrup.
Where to go
In Lake County, IL, the Lake County Forest Preserves’ educators and volunteers lead Maple Syrup Hikes through the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.
“Educators are prepping a full slate of programs taking place in March,” said Director of Education Nan Buckardt. “We are looking forward to offering both in-person and virtual programs this spring.”
In-person, public Maple Syrup Hikes are offered Saturdays and Sundays, March 5–20, at Ryerson Conservation Area. Lasting one hour and held outdoors, the hikes run every half-hour from noon to 2 pm and are open to all ages.
Environmental Educator Jen Berlinghof noted that the temperature dictates what visitors will see along the trails. “The timing for tapping maple trees comes down to temperatures above freezing during the day but still below freezing at night, Berlinghof said. She added that other factors include precipitation and the hours of sunlight in a day.
Berlinghof explained that changing temperature causes the sap to surge upward from the roots toward the branches, where it helps the leaves grow and the buds bloom. Then in summer, the leaves will produce more sap, which will settle back down in the roots come winter.
“Visitors are able to witness the wonder of turning sap from sugar maple trees into sweet maple syrup. All registered participants can have a taste,” Berlinghof said.
Tickets for Maple Syrup Hikes are required. Hikes fill up quickly, so register early. Cost is $6 per person. Children ages 3 and under are free. Purchase tickets online or call 847-968-3321. Special sessions designed for scouts or other large groups are also available. Call 847-968-3321 to register a group.
“If your family is ready to hit the trails, we are providing free self-guided Maple Syrup Hikes from March 21–31,” Berlinghof said. “Through informational signs, you’ll learn the science behind how trees make sap and how we turn that sap into real maple syrup as you walk along the designated trail at your own pace,” she added.
Visit education programs and register online at LCFPD.org/calendar or call 847-968-3321. The Ryerson Conservation Area is at 21950 North Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods,IL
In Cook County, the Forest Preserves of Cook County hold virtual and in person sap programs at the River Trail Nature Center.
Called “Sap’s Rising,” The in-person programs are every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. beginning February 26 at the River Trail Nature center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, IL. They will continue through March 19 at 1L30 p.m. For the March 19 event Vist Sap’s Rising,March 19.
River Trail Nature Center is at 3120 Milwaukee Ave Northbrook, IL. (Currently masks required indoors and unvaccinated visitors need them outdoors. But check when making a reservation.) Reservations are required. Call River Trail at 847-824-8360.
For a while, 2021 did look like Chicago’s vibrant theater scene could pick up where it stopped or went to zoom after the first COVID outbreak. Footlights were back on at several venues from Goodman Theatre to the Lyric Opera.
Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire performers expressed the general feeling of optimism in their first fall show “The World Goes Round,” a terrific presentation of the “Songs of Kander & Ebb,” when they said, “We’re back.”
But as COVID variances spread, shows such as Goodman Theatre’s delightful “A Christmas Carol,” closed early. Notices from some venues went out that said shows supposed to open early in 2022 are re-scheduled.
Now the good news. Several theaters that have COVID protocols regarding masks and vaccinations to protect audiences and performers will have the lights on.
Among them are several Broadway in Chicago offerings.
“The Play that Goes Wrong,” the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, is being extended through April 3, 2022. On stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., tickets are available at Broadway in Chicago.
“I’m thrilled this cast of talented Chicago actors is bringing so much laughter and delight to our audience members,” said Broadway In Chicago President Lou Raizin. “Extending the run gives more Chicagoans a chance to enjoy this hilarious show and others a chance to see it again and again!”
“Frozen” will also continue in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Jan. 22, followed by “Come From Away” Feb 22 through March 6 2022. “Oklahoma” will be at the CIBC Theatre for a short run Jan. 11-23, followed by “Hairspray” Feb. 1-13 2022. For tickets and more information visit Broadway in Chicago.
Mercury Theater will be doing “Women of Soul – With a special tribute to Aretha” Jan. 28 through March 6, 2022. Originally premiering at the Black Ensemble Theater in 2018, the show is written and directed by Daryl D. Brooks. It also pays tribute to Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Donna Summer and Janet Jackson.
“This feel-good revue is being given an exciting new life and the chance to be seen by new audiences at Mercury Theater Chicago,” said Brooks. The Mercury Theater is at 3745 N. Southport Ave. For tickets and more information visit Mercury Theater Chicago.
Goodman Theatre will be back with “Gem of the Ocean,” by one of Chicago’s favorite playwrights, August Wilson. Playgoers familiar with Wilson know he often takes them to Pittsburgh’s Hill District. “Gem” is set in the difficult times of 1904 when a spiritual journey is needed. Directed by Chuck Smith, the play runs Jan. 22- Feb. 27, 2022 in Goodman’s Albert Theatre
In addition, “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman, will be in Goodman’s Owen Theatre, Feb. 11 – March 20, 2022. For tickets and more information visit Goodman Theatre.
Porchlight Music Theatre has rescheduled “Blues in the Night” for Feb. 9-March 13 due to COVID concerns. Dates for its stage reading of “Clear” by Paul Oakley Stoval and the show, “Passing Strange,” will be announced. For more information visit Porchlight Music Theatre.
The year 2021 looked weird on the event calendar. Fun events and show openings were penciled in and then many were crossed out, erased or footnoted with wear a mask and bring the vax card.
It’s hard to predict if 2022 will be an echo but we can ruminate on these five annual happenings that may be experienced in person, on zoom, on TV or ordered and delivered.
Martin Luther King Jr Day
January is kind of quiet but the third weekend typically offers community service opportunities in honor and memory of Martin Luther King Jr. The official recognition day, a federal holiday, is Jan. 17. For more information visit MLK Day | AmeriCorps.
Chinese New Year
You have another chance to celebrate a new year. Food, dragon parades and most traditional observances start Feb. 1 in 2022 to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. They continue through Feb. 15 with the Lantern Festival. For more information visit Chinese New Year.
Groundhog Day If you want to know how many more weeks of winter are ahead, ask a groundhog. A long time European folklore tradition of predicting the weather by watching animal behavior, the practice moved to the Pennsylvania area where it became a full-blown celebration in Punxsutawney known as Groundhog Day; observed on Feb. 2. Translated into a popular romcom written by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis and directed by Ramis the movie was filmed in Woodstock, IL starring Bill Murray and Andie Macdowell. For Punxsutawaney info see Visit Punxsutawney. For the movie visit Groundhog Day 1993.
Super Bowl LVI
If traveling to southern California you need to know the Super Bowl and crowds will be hanging out Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium, the Rams and chargers home opened in fall of 2020. If watching on TV for the commercials and half time the show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET and is on NBC. Visit Super Bowl Sunday NFL.
Feb. 14, known by some cynics as a Hallmark celebration because of all the cards sent, the day is a chance to say thank you with flowers, candy and dinner out. Some historic notes say the day is really St. Valentine’s Day for a Christian martyr and other sources say it dates to the Roman holiday Lupercalia.. Either way, the day is a chance to express affection. Visit Valentine’s Day/History.
It may be hard to believe we’re in the midst of the holiday season, already!
The Chicago Botanic Garden opened its paths at night for Lightscape. Santa is already listening to wishes at Macy’s where the famed holiday windows are ready for their close-ups. And, Christmas Around the world and Holiday of Light opens at the Museum of Science and Industry on its free day, Nov. 17, 2021.
But don’t miss the BMO Lights Festival – The Magnificent Mile this Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Folks line up two and three deep to watch lights go on as the parade moves south on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River and ends with fun fireworks.
A great place to view the action would be Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave. You need to know, however, that the DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Avenue Bridge) closes at 3:30 p.m. But there are activities and food (smell Garrett’s? (It’s at 625 N. Michigan Ave.) along the Mile.
If you go downtown Friday, see the tree lighting at at Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza, 410 N. Michigan Ave. 4 p.m.