For those of you you haven’t had the luxury of attending Chicago’s plethora of music, film, food and art festivals this summer, don’t fret. There is plenty of fest left, and The PHOENIX is bringing you the best of it.
Taste of Greektown
400 S. Halsted | Aug. 27-28 | free admission
Even if you’re still not entirely sure how to pronounce “gyro”, you can still enjoy Chicago’s largest Hellenic festival, back for its 27th year on Halsted Street. Just blocks from UIC’s campus, this year’s fest features nine restaurants serving up all the Greek classics. There will be gyros (meat cooked on a rotisserie serve in a warm, fluffy pita with onions and tomatoes), baklava (sweet walnuts and honey sandwiched between flaky filo dough), kebabs and saganaki (that fried cheese appetizer that they light on fire and yell “opa!” about). Since a majority of the restaurants will be serving the same traditional dishes, look for the one with longest line — it’s there for a reason.
Chicago Fringe Festival
Venues in Jefferson Park | Aug. 31-Sept. 11 | $5 admission + cost of shows
Chicago’s 12-day Fringe Festival is only a small part of the larger Fringe Festival movement. Fringest appear around the world and “seek the un-tried and the weird.” Basically, these festivals are champions of uncensored, free speech in an eclectic array of performing arts pieces put on by local artists. All the performances last approximately one hour long, and profits from the tickets for shows go directly to the artists. This year’s Fringe Festival will showcase 47 unique shows for a total of 197 performances in various venues across Jefferson Park (located on the northwest side of the city).
North Coast Music Festival
Union Park | Sept. 2-4 | Prices vary
Dubbing itself “summer’s last stand,” North Coast Music Festival comes to Union Park for Labor Day weekend. The list of musical acts features headliners Odezsa, Bassnectar and Zedd along with Sleigh Bells, Raury, Logic, Keys N Krates, and 80 more electronic, hip-hop, jam, indie rock and pop acts. The year’s fest also includes a pop-up art gallery for the first time along with a hefty list of after parties in music venues around the city.
Cider and Sliders
Lawrence and Elston Avenues | Sept. 3-4 | $5 suggested donation
The North Mayfair neighborhood is trying to put itself on the map (because you probably haven’t heard of it before) with its own Labor Day weekend festival that combines two of my personal favorite items: burgers and beer. One of the best parts of Chicago is the city’s diverse neighborhoods. North Mayfair, located on the Northwest side of the city, is out to prove that it has a lot to offer (if you’re interested in a bungalow district, it’s got you covered). The Cider and Sliders fest will feature a handful of slider vendors and plenty of apple-infused beer along with some local music.
Ravenswood Art Walk
Ravenswood Avenue from Lawrence Avenue to Irving Park Road | Sept. 10-11 | $5 admission
Not too far from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, The Ravenswood Art Walk showcases businesses along Ravenswood Avenue with a central hub including more than 40 artist booths, seven food trucks, and two stages with live music. Some of the most intriguing features of this fest include Artworks by Steve Connell, which showcases finger paintings created on iPads of Chicago’s most scenic locations (think diners, El stops, bars, etc.); Little Blue Marble Design, which the website describes as “eclectic photography, watercolor paintings and handmade guitars by two old dudes named Bob”; and Sockified, which promises colorful, quirky socks to brighten up your back-to-school wardrobe.
Douglas Park | Sept. 16-18 | Prices vary
In its second year at Douglas Park, Riot Fest is back to bring you all the rock, punk, and alternative music you could possibly want. The fest has grown famous for booking reunions, and this year is no exception. The original Misfits are set to headline on Sunday, with The Flaming Lips and Morrissey headlining on Friday and Saturday, respectively. There will also be a number of full album performances, including Social Distortion’s White Light, White Heat, and White Trash on Saturday, Sept. 17, and Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus (performed by Julian Marley) on Friday, Sept. 16.
Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest
Southport Avenue between Addison Street and Roscoe Street | Sept. 17-18 | $7 suggested donation
This festival goes without explanation. There will be tacos, drinks, music and Lucha Libre Mexican Wrestling — you should now be convinced to attend. Fifteen restaurants will be serving up all of your favorite tortilla fillings. Last year, Cafe Tola took home the title of “best taco,” but it will have to defend its title this year against three new restaurants, including the highly touted Bar Mas.
Randolph Street Market Festival
1340 W. Washington St. | Sept. 24-25 | free admission
Although this last fest technically happens in autumn, it’s too unique to not include on this list. It’s a combination of Chicago Antique Market, the Indie Designer Market, Modern Vintage Chicago, and the Holiday Market, and it has been called the best place for both antiquing and people watching. With 200 vendors both indoors and out, you could spend hours walking around the grounds to discover furniture, clothing, jewelry, and other unique finds.