Chicago’s summer saves fun (and warmth?) for August

AirShowMy Saturday, Aug. 3, Wisch List newspaper column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …


By Dave Wischnowsky

July is over.

Thank goodness.

Despite one sweltering stretch, this past month was one of the coolest that I can ever recall in Illinois. And while I’ve often referred to Chicago as “Summer’s Favorite City,” this time around – with all the 60-degree temps and rain – it seems to instead be Summer’s forgotten one.

But it’s not over yet. We still have August, and perhaps summer will make a late rally this month and redeem itself. If it does, there’s plenty going on up in the city for you to enjoy. Here are a few options that I suggest you consider. Best of all, they’re all free.

Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Aug. 11

Really, what says “Chicago” – and summer, for that matter – better than hot dogs?
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark St.) will honor the beloved red hot during its first annual Chicago Hot Dog Fest. The event will include live blues music, games, a cash bar and eight different takes on the American hot dog. Food and non-alcoholic beverage tickets cost $2 each or eight for $10, while kids can get six tickets for $5.

Roosevelt University historian Bruce Kraig and photographer Patty Carroll, authors of the book Man Bites Dog, will also speak about hot dog culture in America. For more information, visit

Chicago Air & Water Show
Aug. 17-18

It’s been Chicago’s lakefront fixture since 1959, but this year the venerable Air & Water Show will look – and sound – a little different. Due to federal budget cuts, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds won’t perform on Aug. 17-18, meaning the event won’t have quite the same buzz.


But there are still plenty of other airborne daredevils that will be taking part in the show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day off of North Avenue Beach. If you attend, I suggest parking at the Piper’s Alley pay garage on North Avenue just west of Wells Street and walking to the beach to nab a spot near Castaways Bar & Grill, site of the show’s announcer. For more information,

Taste of Latin America
Aug. 23-25

Now in its second year, the Taste of Latin America is billed as a “weekend celebration of all things Central and South America” and features an eclectic mix of exotic cuisine, music and much more.

The event is held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24-25, along West Armitage Avenue between Central Park Avenue and Avers Street on the West Side.

The street festival’s impressive line-up of local restaurants will offer delights such as fish panades, empanadas, and fried plantains hailing from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. For more information, visit

Chicago Jazz Festival 2013
Aug. 29-Sept. 1

The Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates its 35th year this month by moving into a new home at Millennium Park after spending more than three decades in Grant Park.

At Pritzker Pavilion, Jazz Fest will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, with a performance entitled “Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz” featuring 70-year-old local legend Jack DeJohnette and others.

During the rest of the weekend, the festival will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Other main stage highlights include pianist Jason Moran’s tribute to legendary Fats Waller (Aug. 31) and 35-year-old Robert Glasper’s fusion of jazz and hip-hop (Sept. 1). For more information, visit