Dates subject to change. MAIFEST WHEN June 1-4 WHERE N. Lincoln Ave. & W. Leland Ave., Lincoln Square WHY Maifest is raucous Oktoberfest’s blushing sister; this annual celebration heralds the arrival of spring. The festival serves Chicago’s thriving German population, as well as millions of visitors who may have a hankering for lederhosen, dirndl, pretzels and beer. All in all, a great place to lift a pint and say, “Prost!” ANDERSONVILLE MIDSOMMARFEST WHEN June 9–11 WHERE N. Clark St. & W. Foster Ave., Andersonville WHY It’s the Swede life in Andersonville, where ancient traditions don modern garb. Midsommarfest offers everything from maypole dancing to live rock music, with traditional Swedish crafts and cuisine at every turn. Bet your bottom dala: Andersonville is the place to be the second weekend in June. PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE'S PARADE PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE'S PARADE WHEN June 17 WHERE Division St., from Western to Sacramento Ave., Humboldt Park WHY This year, Humboldt Park’s Puerto Rican community celebrates the 39th anniversary of its People’s Parade as it marches down Division Street. It’s a not-to-be-missed celebration of Caribbean culture. CHICAGO PRIDE FEST WHEN June 17-18 WHERE N. Halsted St. & W. Waveland Ave., Boystown WHY Chicago’s massive LGBTQ-and-allies weekend consists of a two-day festival followed by a world-famous parade on Sunday, June 25. Sure, you can read the words “a dazzling cavalcade of diversity,” but the only way to truly experience Chicago Pride is to don your rainbow wig and get in the mix. AFRICAN/CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LIFE WHEN July 1–4 WHERE Union Park, West Loop WHY This four-day ethnic jam features native music, folkloric dance performances, region-specific artisan goods, hands-on kids’ activities and games for all ages. There’s also contemporary music from local, national and international R&B, blues, reggae, jazz, gospel, hip-hop and world music acts. CHINATOWN SUMMER FAIR CHINATOWN SUMMER FAIR WHEN July 16 WHERE W. Cermak Rd. & S. Wentworth Ave., Chinatown WHY Now in its 39th year, this annual one-day event effortlessly blends ancient and modern, as the Far East meets the Midwest. Authentic regional and traditional Chinese food, music and performance mix with more Americanized offerings — including a petting zoo and pony rides for kids, and a “cutest baby” contest. FIESTA DEL SOL WHEN July 27-30 WHERE W. Cermak Rd. & S. Loomis St., Pilsen WHY The largest Latino festival in the Midwest, the family-friendly Fiesta del Sol draws more than a million visitors per year to the diverse Pilsen neighborhood. Live music offerings include Latin pop acts, as well as banda and cumbia — the perfect way to dance off all of that amazingly authentic street food. GINZA HOLIDAY WHEN August 11–13 WHERE Midwest Buddhist Temple, Old Town WHY During this three-day celebration of Japanese culture, you’ll have the opportunity to sample fantastic fare (sushi, udon, kentia), dabble in the ancient arts (bonsai, ikebana, origami), practice non-attachment (Buddhist temple tours) or become very attached (shopping for artisan-made goods). FESTA ITALIANA WHEN August 18–20 WHERE W. Taylor St. & S. Ashland Ave., Little Italy WHY La Dolce Vita — the sweet life — descends upon Little Italy in August, when generations-old family restaurants and neighborhood newcomers unite to throw the most delicious party in the city.Learn Italian card games, dance the tarantella and (if you dare) enter a meatball- or cannoli-eating contest. TASTE OF GREEKTOWN TASTE OF GREEKTOWN WHEN August 25–27 WHERE S. Halsted St. & W. Van Buren St., West Loop WHY Hellenic pride takes center stage at Taste of Greektown. Immerse yourself in Greek culture and cuisine with this weekend-long celebration featuring traditional food, drink, dancing and FUN. AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS WHEN September 1–4 WHERE S. Cottage Grove Ave. & E. 51st St., Washington Park WHY Over the course of this immersive four-day event, Washington Park is transformed into an authentic African village. Visitors are transported across the vibrant diaspora through various arts and interests, from heritage drumming and rhythmic music to colorful fine-art textiles, traditional quilting and much more. TASTE OF POLONIA FESTIVAL TASTE OF POLONIA FESTIVAL WHEN September 1–4 WHERE Copernicus Center, Jefferson Park WHY As the largest Polish cultural festival in the country, the Taste of Polonia Festival draws more than 30,000 visitors a year to Jefferson Park. Ethnic performance groups, Polish cuisine, and original crafts and handiwork are on display as Chicago comes alive with the vibrant traditions of this colorful culture. CHICAGO INSIDER VICTOR SALVO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE LEGACY PROJECT How has Chicago played a role in the LGBTQ movement? The first legally recognized U.S. gay rights organization was established in Chicago in 1924. Today, The Legacy Project (legacyprojectchicago.org) is committed to promoting the global contributions of LGBTQ people. The Legacy Walk on North Halsted Street currently features 37 bronze memorial markers honoring inspirational people like Frida Kahlo, Josephine Baker, Cole Porter and Alan Turing. What recommendations do you have for visitors who want to experience the best of LGBTQ Chicago? Boystown was recognized as the Best Gay Neighborhood in the World by Out Traveler magazine. We encourage visitors to time their summer stays with Pride Fest in June, or during Northalsted Market Days (the Midwest’s largest outdoor street festival) in August. Can you recommend some of your favorite standout LGBTQ-owned Chicago businesses? Boystown and Chicago’s other LGBTQ neighborhood, Andersonville, both offer an incredible selection of bars, restaurants and shops. Sidetrack is one of the premier entertainment establishments of its kind in the world. The Twisted Vine is a wonderful music venue. I am a huge fan of Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, which has amazing food and terrific drag talent nightly. And I love Beatnix for fun, kitschy accessories and clothing. EXPLORE ANDERSONVILLE Quirky, urban and inclusive, Swedish-centric Andersonville is also home to one of the city’s largest LGBTQ communities. If you’ve got an extra day to chill before or after Midsommarfest, make sure to visit the 1 Swedish American Museum, then sample the country’s traditional foods at 2 Svea. Whether you catch some experimental theater with 3 The Neo-Futurists or take a self-guided Divvy bike tour of the Lakewood-Balmoral Historic District, you should definitely sit down for an epic Southern meal at 4 Big Jones.
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