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Take it outdoors — Fests abound this summer

Jennifer Hudswill headline Petrillo Music Shell July 11 as part this year’s revamped Taste Chicago lakefront festival. | GETTY IMAGES

Jennifer Hudson will headline the Petrillo Music Shell on July 11 as part of this year’s revamped Taste of Chicago lakefront festival. | GETTY IMAGES

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Calendar: Chicago summer festivals 2012
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Updated: May 24, 2012 9:11PM



Memorial Day Weekend heralds the beginning of summer and with that comes the outdoor festival season. From downtown to city neighborhoods to the suburbs, outdoor festivals abound. Although a few have disappeared due to tough economic times, new fests have stepped up to the plate, so there is no shortage of choices.

The biggest news on the fest scene is changes to this year’s Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. It’s later in the summer and shorter — July 11 to 15 — and there will a charge for concerts ($25) for seats in the Petrillo Music Shell (3,000 seats). The 30,000 lawn seats remain free.

Along with those changes come enhancements to the culinary component of Taste via the new Chef du Jour program, five sit-down, three-course meals ($40) and a “pop-up” restaurant program. Food ticket prices remain the same: $8 for strips of 12.

“We really feel that the five-day model allows for more restaurants to apply,” said Mary Slowick, Taste of Chicago manager. “It controls the operating budget for the event and we don’t want to burden anyone with paying for a much larger event, and we thought that this would be, especially in these financial times, a little bit more of a responsible thing to do in an effort to still showcase Chicago’s great culinary community, all of our great entertainment and really provide something for everyone that is in a manageable time period.”

Chef du Jour will showcase a different renowned Chicago chef each day with cooking demonstrations, a booth that vends one of the chef’s signature items and a three-course meal prepared by the chef on Buckingham Fountain Plaza (dinner July 11-13, lunch July 14-15). The featured chefs are Carlos Gaytan (Mexique), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia), Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot) Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat) and Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seaven).

Though still in the planning stages, the pop-up restaurant program will allow 20 restaurants (four different ones each day of the fest) to participate in Taste for one day only. Slowick said the program will be managed byWTTW-Channel 11’s “Check Please.” These eateries will operate just like restaurants participating for all five days. Menu boards will again feature icons denoting healthful food choices.

Headliners so far at the Petrillo Music Shell are Jennifer Hudson (July 11), Death Cab for Cutie (July 12), Chaka Kahn (July 14) and Dierks Bentley (July 15); the July 13 performer has yet to be announced.

“At Petrillo Music Shell … we have a concerted effort to really highlight some national acts at the event,” Slowick said. “Over the last couple of years I think there have been some mixed messages about whether or not, you know, is the focus on the food? Is the focus on the music? We’re focusing on both this year, and we’re very proud of the lineup that we have for the Petrillo Music Shell.”

Radio Disney will present a free family show at 11:30 a.m. July 14 at the Petrillo, and the Bud Light Stage will showcase local performers, including Kids These Days (July12), Robbie Fulks (July 14), Mucca Pazza (July 12) and My My My (July 13).

Taste also will showcase the city’s popular SummerDance program, a new feature, along with popular standbys such as the Dominick’s Cooking Corner, the Family Village with interactive children’s activities and the Humana Race to the Taste (6:15 p.m. July 12).

Slowick said tickets for the chef-prepared meals and Petrillo concerts will go on sale at tasteofchicago.us in late May. If tickets don’t sell out they’ll be available at the event.

Taste of Chicago opens at 11 a.m. July 11-15 in Grant Park, Michigan and Congress. Admission is free; food tickets are $8 for strips of 12. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit tasteofchicago.us.

Taste, of course, isn’t the only festival this summer. Check out a few of the following this summer.

MAY

May 26-27, Barrington Art Festival, Cook and Station streets, Barrington. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

May 26-27, Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, Sheffield between Belmont and School. Admission: $5. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

May 26-Sept. 1, Navy Pier Summer Fireworks, 600 E. Grand, 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 10:15 p.m. Saturdays. Special Fourth of July fireworks 9 p.m. July 4. Call (312) 595-7437 or visit navypier.com. Free.

May 26-27, June 23-24, July 28-29, Aug. 25-26, Sept. 29-30, Randolph Street Market Festival, 1340 W. Washington. Admission: $10 for adults ($8 in advance), $5 for students ($3 in advance), free for children 12 and younger. Call (312) 666-1200 or visit randolphstreetmarket.com.

May 27, Baha’i Choral Festival, Baha’i Temple, Sheridan Road and Linden Avenue, Wilmette. Concert times: 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Call (847) 853-2330 or visit bahaitemple.org. Free.

May 31-June 3, Mayfest Chicago 2012, Lincoln Square, Lincoln and Leland avenues. Mayfestchicago.com. Free.

JUNE

June 1-3, Do-Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale, Division between Damen and Leavitt. Admission: $5. Call (312) 850-9390 or visit do-divisionstreetfest.com.

June 1-3, Chicago Eastside Millennium Art Festival, Lake Street at Michigan Avenue. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

June 2-3, Sausage Festival, Sheffield and Addison. Admission: $5. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 2-3, 57th Street Art Fair, 57th Street between Kenwood and Kimbark. Call (773) 234-3247 or visit 57thstreetartfair.org. Free.

June 5-Aug. 28, Rush Hour concerts 5:15 p.m. Tuesdays, St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St. Call (773) 338-9480 or visit rushhour.org.

June 7-Sept. 9, Ravinia Festival, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park. Admission: varies. Call (847) 266-5100 or visit ravinia.org.

June 8-10, Chicago Blues Festival, Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus. Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit chicagobluesfestival.us. Free.

June 8-10, Ribfest Chicago, Lincoln between Irving Park and Berteau. Admission: $5. Call (773) 525-3609 or visit ribfest-Chicago.com.

June 9-10, Printers Row Lit Fest, Dearborn between Congress and Polk. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit printersrowlitfest.org. Free.

June 9-10, Old Town Art Fair, Lincoln and Wisconsin. Admission: $7, 12 and younger free. Call (312) 337-1938 or visit oldtowntriangle.com.

June 9-10, Wells Street Art Fair, Wells between North and Division. Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission: $7. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 9-10, Andersonville Midsommarfest, Clark between Foster and Catalpa. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

June 9-10, Better Homes and Gardens and Weber Chill and Grill Festival, Waveland Park, Recreation Drive and Waveland. Tasting card: $12 online, $15 at event; admission is free. Visit bhgchillandgrill.com.

June 11-15, Bike to Work Week, various events/activities. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit bikechicago.us. Free.

June 11-Oct. 26, Movies in the Park, various Chicago Park District parks. Hours: Movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. Call (312) 742-1134 or visit chicagoparkdistrict.com. Free.

June 13-Aug. 18, Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park, Michigan between Monroe and Randolph. Call (312) 742-7638 or visit grantparkmusicfestival.com. Free.

June 14-24, Ensemble Espanol’s 36th American Spanish Dance and Music Festival. Various locations and admission prices. Call (773) 442-5916 or visit ensembleespanol.org.

June 15-16, Scottish Fest & Highland Games, Hamilton Lakes, Thorndale and Illinois 53, Itasca. Admission: $5-$20. Call (708) 447-5092 or visit Chicagoscots.org.

June 15-17, Taste of Randolph Street, Randolph between Peoria and Racine. Admission: $10. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit tasterandolph.com.

June 16-17, Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts, Main and Chicago, Evanston. Admission: $1. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Call (847) 328-2204 or visit custerfair.com.

June 16-17, Chicago Pizza Fest, Wilson and Broadway. Admission: $5. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 21-24, Chicago Gospel Music Festival, Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (June 21), Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (June 22), and Ellis Park, 37th Street and Cottage Grove (June 23-24). Call (312) 744-3316 or visit chicagogospelmusicfestival.us. Free.

June 21, Make Music Chicago, musical performances at 100 public spaces throughout the city culminating in a grand finale from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. James Cathedral Commons, 65 E. Huron. Call (773) 850-0662 or visit makemusicchicago.com. Free.

June 21-22, Summer on Southport, Southport at Waveland. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

June 22-23, Chicago Pride Festival, Halsted and Waveland. Admission: $7. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 24, Chicago Pride Parade, Montrose and Clark to Broadway. Noon. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com. Free.

June 22-June 24, Long Grove Strawberry Festival, Old McHenry Road and Robert Coffin Parker Road, Long Grove. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com. Free.

June 23-24, Green Music Fest, Damen between North and Schiller. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Admission: $5. Call (773) 384-2672 or visit greenmusicfestchicago.com.

June 23-24, Chicago Summerfest Lincoln Park, Clark and Armitage. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

June 23-24, Fountain Square Arts Festival, Church and Sherman, Evanston. Hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: $5. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 23-24, Art Center’s Festival of Fine Craft, Sheridan and Park, Highland Park. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

June 23-24, Promenade of Art, Vail and Campbell, Arlington Heights. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

June 29-July 1, Craft Beer Festival at St. Michael’s in Old Town, 1633 N. Cleveland. Admission: $5 (general) or $75 (craft beer tastings). Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

June 29-July 3, Naperville Ribfest, Knoch Park, South West Street. Admission: $10-$25, kids 11 and younger free with paying adult. Call (630) 779-2702 or visit ribfest.net.

June 29-30, Old St. Patrick’s Church World’s Largest Block Party, Madison and Des Plaines. Hours: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Admission: to be announced. Call (312) 648-1021 or visit worldslargestblockparty.com.

June 30-July 1, Gold Coast Art Fair, Grant Park’s Butler Field, Monroe and Lake Shore Drive. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit gcartfair.com. Free.

JULY

July 2-Sept. 2, Family Fun Festival, Millennium Park, Michigan between Randolph and Columbus. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Call (312) 742-1168 or visit millenniumpark.org. Free.

July 4-7, Grant Park Orchestra Independence Day concerts, Millennium Park, Michigan between Monroe and Randolph. 6:30 p.m. July 4: Independence Day Celebration. 6:30 p.m. July 6, 7:30 p.m. July 7: “Sleepers and Dreamers” world premiere. Call (312) 742-7638 or visit grantparkmusicfestival.com. Free.

July 6-8, Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Parking: $20. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com.

July 7-8, West Fest, Chicago Avenue between Damen and Wood. Hours: noon to 10 p.m. Admission: $5. Call (312) 850-9390 or visit westfestchicago.com.

July 7-8, Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival, Racine between Fullerton and Webster. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Admission: $5. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

July 7-8, Rock Around the Block, Southport at Waveland. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

July 11-15 and July 19-Sept. 16, SummerDance, Grant Park, Michigan and Congress (July 11-15), then Chicago Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan (July 19-Sept. 16). Hours: 6-9:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 4-7 p.m. Sundays. Call (312) 742-4007 or visit explorechicago.org. Free.

July 12, Bastille Day 5K Walk, Run and Block Party, Lincoln Park, Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway. Registration: $30-$40; block party admission, free. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

July 13-15, Irish American Heritage Festival, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox. Admission: $8 through July 11 or $15 at the door; children 12 and younger free. Call (773) 282-7035 or visit irishfestchicago.com.

July 13-15, Pitchfork Music Festival, Union Park, Ashland and Lake. Admission: $45. Visit pitchforkmusicfestival.com.

July 15, Chinatown Summer Fair, Wentworth between Cermak and 24th Place. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com or chicagodragons.com. Free.

July 20-22, Taste of River North, Ward Park, Kingsbury and Erie. Admission: $5. Visit http://rnrachicago.org.

July 20-22, Old Town School of Folk Music’s Square Roots Festival, Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson. Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids younger than 12. Call (773) 728-6000 or visit squareroots.org.

July 21-22, Buffalo Grove Invitational Art Festival, Lake Cook Road and Illinois 83. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847)-926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

July 26-29, Fiesta del Sol, 1400 W. Cermak. Call (312) 666-2663 or visit fiestadelsol.org. Free.

July 26-29, Newberry Book Fair, 60 W. Walton. Call (312) 255-3501 or visit www.newberry.org. Free.

July 27-29, North Shore Festival of Art at Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

July 28-29, Wicker Park Fest, Milwaukee between North and Wood. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Admission: $5. Call (773) 384-2672 or visit wickerparkbucktown.com.

July 28-29, Taste of Lincoln Avenue/Lill Street Craft Fair, Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood. Admission: $7. Hours: noon-10 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

AUGUST

Aug. 3-5, Lollapalooza, Grant Park, Michigan and Congress. Admission: only Aug. 5 tickets are available ($95). Visit lollapalooza.com.

Aug 4-5, Glencoe Festival of Art, Hazel Road and Park Avenuee. Call (847)-926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Aug. 4-5, Wrigleyville SummerFest, 3300 N. Seminary. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

Aug. 9-12, Taylor Street Festa Italiana, Taylor at Ashland. Admission: TBA. Call (312) 243-3773 or visit festaitaliana2012.com.

Aug. 9-12, Wood Dale Prairie Fest, Town Square, Wood Dale Road and Commercial Street, Wood Dale. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com. Free.

Aug. 11, Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, 39th Street and South Martine Luther King Drive. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (773) 536-3710 or visit budbillikenparade.com. Free.

Aug. 11-12, Art at the Glen Town Center, 1800 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Aug. 11-12, Northalsted Market Days, Halsted between Belmont and Addison. Admission: $7. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Call (773) 868-3010 or visit chicagoevents.com.

Aug. 11-12, Retro on Roscoe, 2000-2300 W. Roscoe. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

Aug. 17-19, Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival, Glenwood and Morse. Visit glenwoodave.org. Free.

Aug. 18-19, Lincolnshire Art Festival, Milwaukee and Old Half Day Road, Lincolnshire. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Aug. 18-19, Chicago Air and Water Show, lakefront from Fullerton to Oak with North Avenue Beach as central location. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit chicagoairandwatershow.us. Free.

Aug. 18-19, Long Grove Fine Art & Wine Festival, Archer Municipal Lot, Robert Parker Coffin Road near Fountain Square. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847) 634-0888 or visit longgroveartfest.com. Free.

Aug. 20-25, Chicago Dancing Festival, various venues. Call (773) 609-2335 or visit chicagodancingfestival.com. Free but tickets must be reserved in advance.

Aug. 24-26, Taste of Highland Park/Port Clinton Art Festival, Central, First and Second streets in Highland Park. Call (847) 926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Aug. 24-26, The Boulevard, Logan Square, Logan and Kedzie. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

Aug. 25-26, Bucktown Arts Fest, Senior Citizens Memorial Park, 2300 N. Oakley. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Call (312) 409-8305 or visit bucktownartsfest.com. Free.

Aug. 30-Sept. 2, Chicago Jazz Festival, Cultural Center (Aug. 30), Millennium Park (Aug. 30-31) and Grant Park (Sept. 1-2). Call (312) 744-3316 or visit chicagojazzfestival.us. Free.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 8-9, Ukrainian Village Festival, Superior between Oakley and Leavitt. Admission: $5. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit explorechicago.org.

Sept. 8-9, Downtown Downers Grove Art Festival, Main and Curtiss. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847)-926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Sept. 15-16, Highwood Last Call Art Fair, Walker and Sheridan. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (847)-926-4300 or visit amdurproductions.com. Free.

Sept. 21-27, World Music Festival, various locations. Call (312) 744-3316 or visit explorechicago.org. Free.

Sept. 28-30, Long Grove Apple Fest, throughout Long Grove. Admission: $5. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

Sept. 29-30, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, various Hyde Park locations. Admission: TBA. Call (773) 665-4682 or visit starevents.com.

Sept. 29-30, Design Harvest Festival, Grand between Damen and Wood. Hours: 11 a.m.-8p.m. Call (312) 850-9390 or visit design-harvest.com. Free.

Jennifer Burklow is a local free-lance writer.



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