Celebrate MLK Day

Born Jan. 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr Day is celebrated the third Monday of January with community service and art projects, retelling his famed “I Have A Dream” speech, films and singing.  

MLK and Civil rights. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
MLK and Civil rights. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

These celebrations are a few of the gatherings Jan. 16, 2023 in the Chicago area plus one that is in Philadelphia, but also online.

In Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood the Chicago History Museum is celebrating from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with an opening ceremony followed by a sing-along then a fair. For the schedule and other details visit Chicago History Museum, MLK Day.  The museum also has a temporary exhibit called “Remembering Dr. King.” The Chicago History Museum borders the park at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago.

In Evanston, Diverse Communities United is holding a youth led multimedia showcase and celebration of Dr. King’s legacy called “It Starts With Me.” The event runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston. It’s free but find it and reserve a spot at Eventbrite Diverse communities United

In Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood the Hyde Park Art Center is hosting “Southside Stories” from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. in collaboration with South Side Spaces, Arts + Public Life, Court Theater, Intonation and Lumpen Radio.  The Hyde Park Art Center 5020 South Cornell Avenue Chicago. The event is free but check reservations at Eventbrite Southside Stories.

Online find a Martin Luther King Jr. Day program at the National Constitution Center.  There is a look/discussion of his speech at 11:45 a.m and 1:45 p.m. ET and a family concert at 12:45 and 2:45 p.m. ET. The programs are free but need registration. The Constitution Center and Museum is 525 Arch St. Philadelphia, PA (215) 409-6600.

Register Here for 11:45 a.m. ET program Register Here for 1:45 p.m. ET program. Register Here for the 12:45 p.m. ET performance and Register Here for the 2:45 p.m. ET performance.

For more Martin Luther King, Jr. background visit MLK Memorial National Park Service.

Jodie Jacobs

Looking forward


Chinese New Year (Photo by SnoStudios, LLC)
Chinese New Year (Photo by SnoStudios, LLC)

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.

Valentine’s Day

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.

Jodie Jacobs

Around town: What to put on the calendar

Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)



Martin Luther King celebrations

The Art Institute of Chicago has a week of programs scheduled starting on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. That is the official “Martin Luther King Day” this year. “MLK Day” as it is often called, is the third Monday of January because it is close to King’s birthday on January 15

The first program is a virtual performance by the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit from 5-6 p.m. CT. Registration is needed but is free.

For more information visit ARTIC/KingDay and KingDay/Virtual.



Put outside activities on the calendar. Your forest preserve district has suggestions of where to go and what is available. So go sledding, cross country skiing, hiking. Or ice fishing.

Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)
Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)

Lake County Forest Preserves

As an example, check the winter sport’s page for Solar-lit Evening Hikes

On a 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville and a1.65-mile hilly section of the Millennium Trail next to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.. This activity is for walkers, snow shoe and cross country skiiers evenings until 9 p.m. through March 14.

Also look for Sledding at Lakewood in Wauconda and Old School in Libertyville. Lakewood is lighted and open until 9 p.m. Old school is a day time hill. Snowboards, toboggans and metal runners not allowed.

For Cross-Country Skiing find groomed trails at Lakewood’s Winter Sports Area and at Old School, and along the Des Plaines River Trail between Old School and the Wright Woods Canoe Launch on Route 60. A 4-inch snow base is required for cross-country skiing at the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.


Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)
Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship plus festival

A more than two decades old annual event, Lake Geneva, WI’s Winterfest 2021 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (visitlakegeneva.com)

is a fun outdoor getaway  that this year is Feb. 3-7. It includes the US National Snow Sculpting Championship between teams from across the country.

Best day to see the finished works is Saturday, Feb. 6.

There is also an ice sculpture tour downtown plus beach bonfires and a cocoa crawl.

Jodie Jacobs