Wednesday, May 14, 2008

2008 Chicago Street Festivals

It's here!

I'm not talking about summer, although that's technically coming in a month or so. No man, I'm talking about festival season. Chicago residents get through the winter by thinking about the great summers here: the lakeshore, the Cubs, and especially the street festivals.

My readers in New York unfortunately have no idea what a street festival should really be. It should NOT be mozzarepas, tube socks vendors, and the same tourist T-shirts every 15 feet for block after block of Broadway.

Not a real street festival. (But it is a real picture from an NY street fest.)

A real street fest has live music...usually more than one stage. It has great food...meat on a stick, smoothies, pizza or deep fried Snickers. It has cell phone companies and radio stations giving away chip clips, Post-It notes, frisbees and other cool free stuff. It usually costs $5 or so to get in cause it's worth attending. And, it has beer.

As a public service to the people of Chicago*, I've put together the definitive** list of festivals to attend in summer 2008.

Now, a few comments and disclaimers. One: This list has a North Side bias. The official City of Chicago website lists twice as many festivals as I have here. But let's face it: you probably aren't going to Fiesta Back of the Yards on 47th Street, and if you are, God bless ya, you can find that information on your own.

In reality, you're going to go to the same festivals I am--the ones on the North Side you can either walk to, el to, or cab to. You'll have a beer or two at these festivals and you won't want to drive.

THIS is what a real street festival looks like.

Two: I do not guarantee any of the information here. It was collected in early May, and a lot can change between now and festival time. Check the website to see if they've changed the band lineup or the cover.

Three: It's been five years in most cases since I went to any of these festivals. I think I know which one will be great (Ribfest, Taste), which ones will be insanely crowded (Lincoln Ave, Taste), which ones will have the best people watching (Randolph, Hideout), and so on. But I just don't know. So ... "Caveat Festor" ... let the festivalgoer beware.

This too, is a real street fest.

To download a copy, go here:'s 2008 Festival List. Also, You can view a version here if you just want to view on screen or print.

The festivals start this weekend with Mayfest. Get out there and enjoy!

* who live near me.
** who think like me.


83F said...

Miggity-Mack's best version of a Chicago-style festival:

sodeh said...

we went to the cubs game today and on our way home we saw Quigley watching all the people from the front window. He looked angry!

mpf004 said...

If it was warm out, he probably wanted to go outside and play with the Cub fans. Otherwise, it was quite possibly about the impending departure of the blog co-author.

Josh said...

This true -- the street fests in New York are largely subpar affairs. (Although, c'mon: What if those really are THE SOFTEST SOCKS IN THE WORLD???! I mean, wow.)