Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Heat Wave!

We’re trying something a bit new this week, and giving you not only the big festivals of the summer, but also a guide to some cool events that are further off the beaten track. Grab your sunscreen and about 6 gallons of ice water and head out into the heat this weekend!

Big Fests
(like the other 10 street festivals you’ve been to this summer, but keep going to because they’re fun and have free giveaways)

Wicker Park Fest: July 23 – 24, 12-10pm

This may actually be one of the best street festivals of the summer (or so says the Tribune), but it does sound quite cool. 3 stages with nonstop music from bands and DJs with some of the weirdest names I’ve heard in a while (An Aesthetic Anaesthetic? What does that even mean?) will be playing all weekend, along with much more. A petting zoo, arts and crafts stations, bounce houses, and a DUNK TANK—which we believe has been severely lacking in the festival scene thus far—make this one of the more exciting fests of the summer! Also, the Summer Sizzle Sidewalk Sale will be going on simultaneously from 11am-6pm both days along all major streets in Wicker Park, so you can snag some deals from your favorite neighborhood stores! But let me reiterate the most important thing once more, dunk tank. $5 suggested donation.

Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival: July 23 – 24, 12-10pm

Head to the Garden District of Chicago and help support efforts to keep this neighborhood beautiful at the Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival this weekend! Check out self-guided tours of over 80 gardens, free guided architectural tours, food and drink vendors and, of course, live music. Headliners include Archie Powell and the Exports, Soul Asylum, and School of Rock! $7, $10/after 3pm.

Chariot Festival: July 24, 12:30-6pm

Celebrate Indian culture at the Chariot Festival this Sunday, hosted by the Chicago Hare Krishna Temple in Loyola Park! A parade headed by a hand-pulled chariot (Chariot Festival…get it?) kicks off the festival, beginning at 11:30am and making its way to the park. There will be free lunch for everyone, yes, free, along with traditional Indian dancing and music, family activities, henna, traditional Indian stores and more! Free.


Random but Very, Very Cool Events

(some alternatives that are pretty bizarre but awesome at the same time)

Chicago SummerDance—Soul Train Anniversary Party: July 23, 6-9:30pm

That’s right, it’s time to hop on the hippest train around to celebrate Soul Train’s 40th Anniversary, hosted by Chicago SummerDance at Grant Park! Yes, I recognize that there is a Summerdance event every Thursday through Sunday throughout the summer, but how many of them feature The Bop and Soul Train Line dance lessons with live music by The Platinum Band playing Soul Train Dance Party tunes? One. And it’s this Saturday, with lessons from 6-7pm and live music and dancing until 9:30pm. Strap on your disco shoes and nostalgia and head out to celebrate this institution’s Chicago roots! Free.

Big Dig North Avenue Beach Party: July 23, 9am-5pm

Join Chicago’s hottest summer beach bash (seriously, it will be in the 90s again, but how better to cool off than at the beach?) at the Big Dig North Avenue Beach Party this Saturday! While it’s too late to sign up for the beach games, spectators are encouraged (and welcomed for free with an RSVP!) to watch some volleyball, bags/cornhole, and dodgeball. There will be DJs and live performances featuring Kidd Russell and Na Palm, so come relax on the beach, listen to some awesome music, and watch others sweat profusely in way-too-intense beach games!

Dollar Beer Night at Beauty Bar: July 24, 10pm

I’ve always been a fan of this slightly gimmicky-but-in-a-good-way bar in West Town with its $10 Manicure and Martini special (come on, ladies, that’s brilliant!), but dudes should feel welcome at Beauty Bar this Sunday for $1 select brews and $3 well drinks. Phil Mixtape and DJ Red Ryder will be bringing you their favorite hits from the last three decades, so come liven up what would be an otherwise boring Sunday night—you know you can catch reruns of True Blood later in the week. Free entry, 21+.

Bags Benefit Tournament at Joe’s Bar: July 23, 2-5pm

Join in the 5th Annual Bags Tournament to benefit Special Olympics Chicago at Joe’s Bar on Weed Street this Saturday! Entry includes an open bar Coors Light drafts, well drinks, wine and soda ($25/spectators, $35/bags players)—while admission prices are a bit high, just remember its open bar for 3 hours and you could do much more damage than $25 in a night out. Also, it’s a fundraiser, you cheap skates!

Whole Foods FREE Beer and Wine Tasting: July 23, 1-4pm

Pretty sure this one is self-explanatory, but let me just spell it out: Free. Beer. And. Wine. Head to the Whole Foods on Canal St in the South Loop to couple your grocery shopping with some wine and beer tastings! We even double checked – it’s completely free. No fine print, no buying minimum, no cover. Seriously, just free. How wonderful is that?

Red Bull BC One United States Qualifiers: July 23, 8pm

Come watch the nation’s best B-Boys (break dancers, for all you non-ABDC fans) as they compete in the qualifiers to advance to the finals in Moscow! 16 crews will compete in 1-on-1 battles, so come support your favorite crew or one from your city (Chicago pride, anyone?) for their chance to represent America in the finals! DJ Skeme Richards will be spinning all night as you watch the best of best dance it out! $10 tickets or $20/VIP, 18+.

Happy heat wave! Anybody want to head to Oregon?

Written by: Keren Mikva

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