Chicago’s street fests set to put summer in swing

This weekend’s Wisch List newspaper column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

By Dave Wischnowsky


June is here, so summer must be.

Of course, that’s what I thought about Memorial Day too.

But while we may still be waiting for the weather to truly get – and stay – nice, Chicago’s famed summer street fests are waiting for no one.

They are, however, open for everyone.

And with the calendar now flipped to June, the city’s street fest season is in full swing, even if summer doesn’t quite seem to be just yet. But surely it will be soon, and with those warm thoughts in mind here are some of the best street fests to visit this month in Chicago.

Chicago Blues Festival
June 6-9

The largest free blues festival in the world is also the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. Spread over three days and five stages, Blues Fest annually attracts more than 500,000 blues aficionados to Grant Park and Millennium Park.

This year, the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary and kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with singer Semekia Copeland headlining along with special guest, 14-year-old blues guitar prodigy and Buddy Guy collaborator Quinn Sullivan.

For more information, visit

Andersonville Midsommarfest
June 7-9

Born out of Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, Midsommarfest will mark its 48th year of celebrating old world traditions – including a dance around the Maypole – on Chicago’s North Side.

The festival, which annually attracts as many as 50,000 people to Clark Street between Foster and Catalpa, begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 7. Suggested donation for entry is $10 for the event, which includes a music, local food, drinks and a family area with face painting.

The iconic Simon’s Tavern (5210 N. Clark St.) also should be selling cups of its renowned Christmastime drink glögg – in slushie form. For more information, visit

Well Street Art Festival
June 8-9

Known as one of the city’s most acclaimed fine arts events, the Well Street Art Festival is also known as one of Chicago’s most lively summer fests with its live music stage and array of local food and drink vendors.

Held in the heart of Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood on North Wells Street between North and Division, the festival is held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 8-9. Amidst the revelry will be the works for more than 250 artists whose work range from paintings to sculptures to glasswork and much more.

For more information, visit

Taste of Randolph
June 14-16

These days, each summer seems to bring forth a new controversy about the fate of the Taste of Chicago. Nobody’s complaining about the Taste of Randolph, however.

Held from Peoria to Racine on Randolph – the West Loop street that’s famous for its slew of nationally acclaimed restaurants – the festival is held until 10 p.m. on June 14-16. The suggested donation is $10 and participating restaurants include BellyQ, Publican Quality Meats and De Cero Taqueria, along with drink vendors and merchants.

For more information, visit

Old St. Pat’s Block Party
June 28-29

Billed as the “World’s Largest Block Party,” the 29th annual fiesta at the intersection of Madison Street and Des Plaines Avenue will again be benefitting outreach activities for nearby Old St. Pat’s church.

Each year, the event draws about 18,000 people to its “block” and has become known as a place for singles to meet. The church says that more than 70 couples have married after first encountering each other at the block party.

The party runs from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. each night with Blues Traveler among the music headliners. Tickets for the 21-and-over event cost $40.

For more information, visit