Summertime surf’s still up in Chicago this September

lionsFrom the Saturday, Sept. 6, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

By Dave Wischnowsky


In Chicago, summer days are precious.

Even more so when so many of them feel like fall.

This summer, much like last, has been an abnormally brisk one. But as August has turned over to September, the city’s temperatures have actually turned things up a notch – and that rise in the mercury appears to have left one Chicagoan mistaking the city’s North Shore for Hawaii’s.

Or wishing that it was.

This past week, K.C. Hoos launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring surfing to the Windy City lakefront. Yes, that’s right. His desire is to raise $101,000 to purchase a SurfStream machine capable of generating 1-foot to 6-foot waves in a pool that would be part of a surf park near Montrose Beach.

With just over $6,000 pledged as this week’s end, I don’t think Hoos is likely to reach his goal. But there are better ways to extend Chicago’s summer through the end of September anyway. And here are a few of them:

Family events

Beginning this weekend in Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.) and later at other parks across Chicago up through Oct. 19, daring performers and acrobats will be dazzling big top fans both young and old during the Midnight Circus in the Park series.

Don’t worry, it isn’t held at midnight. Shows in Ogden Park begin at 3 p.m. today and again on Sunday. For ticket information and future dates, visit

Beer events

In August, the popular entertainment website ranked Illinois as the 13th best beer state in the nation. It may rate even higher this month thanks to an impressive array of sudsy Chicago events.

On Sept. 12, you can sample beer from 75 regional breweries in the presence of wild animals during Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lions, Tigers & Brews event ( Then on Sept. 13, Union Station will host an encore of its popular Chicago Beer Festival (, this time featuring fall seasonal brews.

Come Sept. 19-20, Grant Park will be home to the inaugural Chicago Ale Fest ( boasting samplings of 200 beers from 100 craft breweries. Also on Sept. 20, famed local brewer Goose Island will throw its annual 312 Urban Block Party ( at its production facility at 1800 W. Fulton St.

Oktoberfest events

Yes, just like the events mentioned above, Oktoberfest also features beer – but its celebrations also feature so much more.

On Sept. 10-12, you can grab a stein and toast the impending arrival of autumn at Adams and Dearborn streets during the 29th annual Berghoff Oktoberfest ( while also feasting on bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels and apple strudel along with German music.

Or, if you choose, you can wait until closer to October and embrace the lively street fest atmosphere of the Sept. 26-28 Oktoberfest at St. Alphonsus Church ( Held at 1429 W. Wellington Ave., this year’s event features Craft Beer Nights on Friday and Saturday.

Mexican Independence Day events

Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. It isn’t. Rather, Sept. 16 – officially known as Grito de Dolores – is the day that officially marks the beginning of the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain. To honor the holiday, Chicago will be holding a trio of free parades featuring colorful floats, mariachi bands, street dancing and, of course, delicious Mexican food.

On Sept. 13, the Pilsen Mexican Independence Day Parade will be held at noon on 18th Street and Newberry. On the following day, Sept. 14, the 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade will take place at noon at 26th St. and Albany, while at 2 p.m. the South Chicago Mexican Independence Day Parade will kick off at Commercial Avenue and 87th.