The best Chicago fests June has to offer

Today’s column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.)

The best Chicago fests June has to offer


June 4, 2011

One month ago in this column, I gave thanks because the sixth-wettest April in 141 years of Chicago recordkeeping had mercifully come to an end.

Little did I know that it was to immediately be followed by the third-wettest May in the city’s history.

Fool me once …

But, now that the calendar has flipped to June – and summer has unofficially gotten underway – I figure that the weather in these parts has to turn around for good at some point.

Then again, look at the Cubs.

Nevertheless, I’m betting (cautiously) on warm weather sticking around this month, and with that wagering that you’d like some ideas about ways to enjoy the Windy City on weekends in June. Well, there’s no better option than Chicago’s famed street festivals. And here are this month’s best …

June 4-5: 57th Street Art Fair

Hyde Park is known as the home of the University of Chicago, President Barack Obama and, once upon a time, Amelia Earhart and Hugh Hefner.

But the historic neighborhood is also home to Chicago’s oldest juried (that is, panel-judged) art fair, held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 4 and from 10 to 5 on June 5 between Dorchester and Kimbark avenues on 57th Street.

At the fair, visitors can chat up artists from across the country who specialize in everything from glass, jewelry and leather to photography, painting, sculpture and more. Family-friendly and alcohol-free, the event offers playgrounds for kids and a diverse array of food vendors.

For more information, visit:

June 10-12: Ribfest Chicago

Twelve years ago, it began as a humble block party in Chicago’s Northcenter neighborhood. Next week, it’s expected to draw more than 45,000 people.

Who will dine of 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ.

Ribfest Chicago, held from 5 to 10 p.m. on June 10 and noon to 10 on June 11-12 at 4000 N. Lincoln Ave., is one of the city’s most anticipated – and delicious – summer festivals. Besides its food, Ribfest is also a nationally recognized music festival featuring indie, pop, rock and country bands. A “Kids Square” area offers inflatables and games for children, while revelers can also catch RibMania, the Midwest’s only professional rib-eating contest.

For more information, visit

June 11-12: Wells Street Art Festival

The 57th Street Art Fair is a dry (no-alcohol) event. The Wells Street Art Festival is not.

And, as a result, the lively fest, held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 11-12 on Wells St. between Division St. and North Ave., is known for both its art (ranked among the nation’s Top 10 art fests by Sunshine Artist magazine) and its revelry (the event attracts many 20- and 30-somethings to Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood).

In addition to 300 exhibitors, the fair also includes more than 20 food and drink vendors, a live-entertainment stage and an elaborate silent auction.

For more information, visit

June 17-19: Taste of Randolph

Want to sample all of the top-rated restaurants in Chicago’s trendy West Loop neighborhood, but don’t have the time?

(Or the money?)

Well, then the Taste of Randolph, held from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on June 17, 2 to 11 on June 18 and 2 to 10 on June 19 at 900 W. Randolph St., is the street festival for you.

The 15th Annual Taste features restaurant vendors such as The Girl & The Goat (owned by Bravo Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard), Indian-themed Veerasway and Italian-focused Vivó. And in addition to tantalizing tastebuds, the event also delights eyes and ears with two stages featuring live cooking demonstrations and musical entertainment.

For more information, visit

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