May Days: Warm up to Chicago springtime events

PottersFrom the Saturday,  May 3, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …


By Dave Wischnowsky

They say that April showers bring May flowers. But this week, May started off the same way that April ended.

With showers.

However, on the sunny side of things, there are plenty of events warming up this month in Chicagoland, even if the weather isn’t warming up just yet. And here are some you should consider taking part in over the next few weeks.

Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival

Cinco de Mayo isn’t until Monday. But Chicago’s free weekend festivities honoring the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, are going strong all weekend.

They culminate on Sunday when at noon the city’s annual Cinco de Mayo parade will be held along Cermak Road on Chicago’s Southwest Side, beginning at Wood St. and ending at Kedzie Ave.

Then, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, the fifth annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, located at 26th St. and Kostner Ave., in the heart of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, gets rolling with live music, authentic foods, arts and crafts and activities for the entire family.

For more information, visit

American Beer Classic
May 10

With hundreds of beers to sample, live music, seminars, a food menu featuring ballpark classics, and field tours of Soldier Field, the American Beer Classic has everything on tap for fans of suds and sports.

Held at Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Drive) on Saturday, May 10, general admission tickets ($65) are available at for both the 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. sessions. Also available for $25 are “Designated Driver” passes for guests not sampling the brews.

Brookfield Zoo Mother’s Day Brunch
May 11

If you’re looking for a unique and lively way to treat Mom on her special day, the Brookfield Zoo (8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield) is hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch at its Discovery Center, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The menu, prepared by the Zoo’s executive chef, features unlimited champagne service, an omelet station, a carving station and a parade of all-you-can-eat entrees, sides and desserts. Reservations are required and can be made at

Chicago Mayfest
May 16-18

Billing itself as the “first party of the summer,” Chicago Mayfest kicks off the city’s renowned summer festival season with a three-day extravaganza that features some of Chicago’s premier cover bands, along with plenty of food and drinks.

At the very least, it’s the first Mayfest of the summer. (More on that in a minute.)
Staged at the corner of Ashland and Barry in Lakeview, Mayfest’s music lineup includes the popular “Too White Crew” (May 16), followed by “Wedding Banned” and “Hairbangers Ball” (May 17), and finally “This Must Be The Band” (Sunday).

For more information, visit

Mayfest Chicago
May 29 to June 1

Far different from Chicago Mayfest – really, it is – Mayfest Chicago is a free four-day, German-themed event held at the intersection of Lincoln and Leland avenues in Lincoln Square, the heart of the city’s German community.

Spelled Maifest in German, the festival is the traditional German celebration of the arrival of spring – think of it as an Oktoberfest in May – with live music, maypole dancing and, on Friday night, a traditional keg tapping and crowing of the May Queen.

Or is that Mai Queen?

The Great Urban Race
May 31

Round up a team of two or four and head to Lizzie McNeil’s Irish Pub (400 N. McClurg Court) to embark on an urban scavenger hunt that requires you to solve clues, tackle challenges and race for cash.

For more information, visit