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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Summer in Fests

This summer so far has been an assortment of weekly markets, tastings, plays, and concerts. I’ve planned to attended and stumbled upon various Craft Beer Week celebrations. This has been an active summer. I didn’t realize how active until I started jotting notes down. The best way to capture my hectic and delightful summer is a list of the fests I’ve been to so far. At least the ones I can remember. Not all of them were big, not all of them were great, but here is my year in fests….

  1. Bacon Fest Chicago
    Mid/late-April  | Chicago, IL  |  Event Site
    Okay, so this was in the spring. It really kicked of fest season though. I can’t neglect this salt-cured fest. 
  2. Munster Arts & Craft Fair
    Early-May  | Munster, IN  |  Event Site
    A fun one to stumble on close to home. It is held in a beautiful local park. When the weather is good, it’s fun to take a picnic.
  3. Chicago Pride Parade
    Late-June  | Chicago, IL |  Event Site 
    Record-breaking heat, big crowds, lots of fun. I missed the boat with the parade, but I saw street performers and settled in at Sheffield’s before the crowd hit.
  4. Nobelsville Strawberry Festival
    Mid-June  | Nobelsville, IN Total bust…depending on how you look at it. The focus was the strawberry shortcake, and it was heaven. The price was good, $5 for a heaping bowl. But after you finished your dessert, it was either sit in the sauna of a tent and listen to some tunes, or get out of there into some A/C space.
  5. Pierogi Fest
    Late-July  | Whiting, IN |  Event Site  
    Last year was good, this year was better. The weather was cooler, perfect when biting into those fried pockets dripping with hot butter. The arts & crafts were fun to browse between bites. The strudel at the Original Strudel Factory cannot be passed up.
  6. Taste of Lincoln Avenue
    Late-July  | Chicago, IL |  Event Site   
    This street fest had great food from kabobs to pierogi that you could graze on while listening to the wide range of music being played. I’m talking about Sir Mix-a-Lot and Oasis from the same band. The Lill Street Art Fair was going on in a very shaded part of the area. Each booth had something unique. I picked up a Vessyl growler, a glass bird, and a pendent made of old watch parts carefully soldered together. They had hand-painted scarves and even jewelry made of dead butterflies (they were not killed for the express purpose of dolling us up). The $7 suggested donation to get in that goes toward the Wrightwood neighborhood association.
  7. Chesterton Art Fair
    Early-August  | Chesteron, IN |  Event Site    
    On a hot day, it was still worth going for a quick walk through. It’s a couple of bucks to get in, but it supports Association of Artists & Craftsmen of Porter County. It has a good range of metal work, paintings, ceramics, and wood work. I walked out with a nice little wine bottle coaster from WhyKnotWood from a woodworker with a strong creative streak.
  8. Lake County Fair
    Early/Mid-August  | Crown Point, IN |  Event Site     
    County fair, need I say more? The weather the day we went was much cooler this year. Despite the drought, farmers had a good showing of produce and livestock. The highlight was my little pig winning the pig race. Okay, it wasn’t my pig per se, but I was the person selected in the audience to cheer that little piglet on! Go Soggy Bacon!
  9. Chicago Sister Cities International Festival
    Early/Mid-August  | Chicago, IL  
    I went to this four-day fest on a rainy weekday afternoon, so not a lot going on at this Daley Plaza event. There were some global wares and jewelry. I walked out with a brightly-colored sarong. Took about 15 minutes to walk through. A far cry from the overcrowded Christkindlmarket. All three food booths were closed. It was worth walking by. Not a destination, but an excuse to be in the area.
  10. Munster Arts & Craft Fair and Pooch-a-Palooza
    Mid-August  | Munster, IN  |  Event Site  
    Not much different than the May arts & crafts fair. Fun art and good to stop by. No fee and a nice day at the park. Not only can you people watch, but you can puppy watch too.
  11. Bucktown Arts Fest
    Late-August  | Chicago, IL  |  Event Site 
    This was by far the art fest of the year. They had rows and rows and rows of artists, under tree-lined streets and in the tree-heavy park. There were places to sit and cool down. Good local brews. $1 bottles of cold water. Such a range of art was on display! Mosaic, old computer parts in resin, wood work, screen prints, anything you could think of.
  12. Taste of Greece
    Late-August  | Chicago, IL  |  Event Site  
    I admittedly ran through this one. It was a hot August day and they were just setting up. I walked through, I grabbed a savory and delicious spanakopita, and I vowed to come back. I never kept my vow….ended up at the Bucktown Arts Fest and couldn’t leave. I'll be back next year!
  13. Taste of the Duneland
    (Early September-Labor Day Weekend)  | Chesterton, IN  |  Event Site 
    This is a great one to stumble upon. For me it was good, because it was easy to run if the ominous clouds did pour the torrential rain that they threatened to. I was watching the sky more than the interesting country band on stage. Through the drizzles, I grabbed some Mexican food, a pasta dish with roasted chicken, some waffle fries, and a decadent dessert. The hand-rolled pretzels looked amazing, but I was stuffed! The prices were great, and it was a fun evening out.
  14. Ravenswood Remix
    (Early September-Labor Day Weekend)  | Chicago, IL  |  Event Site   
    This fest was small but mighty. In the space of the size of a parking lot they had great art and fantastic food. All four food trucks had delicious snacks. The beer list was short, but had something for everyone. The artists made upcycled art from coins to old trousers. The $5 suggested donation to get in goes to a local elementary art program. Definitely worth going.
Lots of fests, lots of fun, and it’s not over. More fests planned for this weekend! With all that life has going right now, I don’t think I’ll have time to write about each of these fests individually. My pictures will have to be my mementos this crazy summer of 2012.

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