Posted by: dougery | June 14, 2010

Festivals Man

Festivals, man.

This weekend Lara and I were Chicago metropolis-trotters. On Saturday morning we woke not so bright but early with the intention of marching on down to the Printer’s Row Book Fair (festival #1), a festival of sorts on Chicago’s near south side. Nestled on the southern portion of the “Circle” what was once called the “Loop” but for reasons which escape me were rechristened. I say not so bright because the weather forecast for the entire weekend was as sketchy as a frat boy trolling Navy Pier for jail-bait. All week we had heard we were in for high 80s, humidity verging on 350% and skies prone to relieving themselves at will. We were prepared for an atmosphere akin to a sweaty gym sock.

Well we walked outside and and found it humid, yes, but only about 20 degrees cooler than was forecast the day before. So, you know, weather dot com, and Chicago meteorologists were only off by a margin of error that would get you fired at say, any other place of employment on earth. Not that I was complaining. 62 degrees felt like a blissful weather slap on the ass. “Go out there and get some!,” It cheered, but Lara and I needed a long-sleeve shirt and hopped back inside. Whilst digging through the laundry for the least smelly plaid shirt in my arsenal (I kid–sort of) it began to pour outside.

An hour later we ducked out and meandered our way through the Oldtown Art Fair, set up literally on our doorstep. This was festival #2, and the most hoity toity of the lot. Photography and paintings and sculpture, much of it in the several thousand dollar range. At one point Lara said, “Well, I suppose we could get something, but that would it for our savings.” That would be it indeed. We hustled on down the road and discovered Oldtown Art Fair’s evil twin, the Wells Street Art Fair (festival #3) which is the much larger and generally crappier younger sibling. We were almost downtown by the time we got to the end.

From there we diagonaled our way off of Wells and headed southeast to the old Dearborn train station which loomed over the Printer’s Row Book Fair (festival #1) like loomy architecture should. Having just a bowl of oatmeal earlier in the morning, Lara and I ducked in Hackney’s for beer and burgs, only she got a wrap and wine and I a pulled pork sandwich. All of this will be on the exam, I promise. The USA ~ England game began the exact moment we were served, and 4 minutes later the bar erupted into boos. Those limey Brits were quick to score. Spoiler alert, USA would come back to tie.

The return trek North took us through the southern side of Grant Park, the portion south of the Art Institute full of fresh plantings and urinating homeless people. We sat off to the side of Buckingham fountain owing to Lara’s magical ability to have found the single largest and heaviest book at the Printer’s Row Book Fair (festival #1), something arty about Wyeth? After some thrilling fountaineering we decamped and headed north once more, meandering into the Chicago Blues Festival (festival #4). Both of us were craving a chocolate bao so we left pretty quickly. Homemade pizza and Buffy greeted us when we returned home an hour or so later. The Slayer says hi.

Sunday we continued our Kopi Cafe tradition (we’ve Sunday brunched there about 48 weeks of the past 52), escaping the Oldtown Art Fair’s clutches (festival #1) once more. Little did we know that the Andersonville Midsommarfest (festival #5) was in full sway. You know it was quaint and old worldy from the wonky presumably Scandinavian spelling. Also, there bees, chickens, sex booths and young republicans. And Pastor Jacob who was a really nice guy who gave me honey (not a euphemism).

So there may have been other festivals going on throughout Chicago this weekend which we missed, but not for lack of trying.



  1. You have a way with words, my friend.

    “skies prone to relieving themselves at will”

    “as sketchy as a frat boy trolling Navy Pier for jail-bait”

    and my personal favorite:

    “And Pastor Jacob who was a really nice guy who gave me honey (not a euphemism).”

    Hehe. I laughed out loud.

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