The WISCH LIST
By Dave Wischnowsky
Summers are cool in Chicago.
These days, that’s both figuratively and literally.
One year ago, we experienced an unseasonably brisk June, July and August, and this time around both June and July have followed suit.
Now, perhaps August will break the trend, but whether the weather truly gets hot or not, summer is still the best time of the year in Chicago. And this month offers plenty of opportunities for you to find fun.
Bud Billiken Day Parade
In 1929, Robert S. Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper, came up with the character of Bud Billiken, named after the Billiken – the guardian angel of all children, according to Chinese legend.
He then launched a parade named after his brainchild, which has since grown to become the nation’s second largest parade and a fixture in Chicago’s African-American community.
Focused as always on the message of “Back to School,” this year’s parade begins at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Drive and Oakwood Boulevard in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood and continues south to 55th Street at Washington Park, which is the site of a celebratory picnic.
For more information, visit budbillikenparade.org.
Beer at the Zoo
Brookfield Zoo invites you to enjoy bears and beers, lions and lagers and aardvarks and ale during its third annual ZooBrew event, held from 5 to 9 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Aug 9-10.
Featuring more than 60 beers, the unique 21-and-over tasting event is sure to be a zoo – literally. Tickets are $45 for non-members and $25 for designated drivers. Learn more at czs.org.
Taking place in Little Italy, one of Chicago’s most delicious neighborhoods, the eighth annual Festa Italiana will be held for four tasty days along West Taylor Street.
Featuring food and drink vendors, an amateur meatball eating contest and even a grape stomping area, the popular event also includes live entertainment and a kids carnival.
For more information, visit chicagofestaitaliana.com.
Air & Water Show
A Chicago lakefront fixture since 1959, the Air & Water Show is back again featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other daredevils.
Held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday off of North Avenue Beach, my suggest for drivers attending is to park at the Piper’s Alley pay garage on North Avenue just west of Wells Street and walk to the beach to nab a spot near Castaways Bar & Grill, site of the show’s announcer.
For more information, chicagoairandwatershow.us.
Movie at the Zoo
If brews at the zoo aren’t your thing, then perhaps movies are.
Or, rather, Zoovies.
On Thursday, Aug. 21, Lincoln Park Zoo will be hosting its latest Zoovies event with a showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the zoo’s scenic South Lawn. The movie begins at dusk and admission is free, although you can upgrade to a VIP package that includes one drink, a slice of pizza, box of candy and unlimited popcorn, as well as exclusive animal house access with private bathrooms and air-condition. Parking passes are also available. Later Zoovies dates include Sept. 5 and Oct. 3.
For more information, visit lpzoo.org.
Bacon, Sports & Beer
In what is surely a heavenly hat trick for some, the second annual Bacon, Sports & Beer Celebration held in Union Station’s Great Hall allows you to sample bacon-inspired creations from 20 of Chicago’s top restaurants, taste beers from more 20 craft breweries and enjoy “sports” events such as Nerf games and Pop-A-Shot from 3 to 6 p.m.
To learn more, visit baconsportsbeer.com.