aggregation aggregation aggregation, Festivals, Free Fun Friday

Not so fast: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

It’s after Labor Day and my social media feed is filled with first day of school pictures and people saddened by the symbolic end of summer.  Although many people defines Summer as the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Autumnal Equinox isn’t for another two weeks!  And even after that, the Midwest usually gets its politically incorrect Indian Summer (well we did before climate change — see what I did there, I likely offended conservatives and liberals!)

There’s still plenty of summery things you can do before the cold and snow arrives.  For instance, this weekend in Lincoln Square is German-American Oktoberfest.  If Mayfest signals the start of summer, Oktoberfest ushers in the fall.  This festival is free and is a good place to begin the hunt for that winter body warmer, aka standing date for the holiday parties.

The beach is less crowded and while the water might not be warm enough to swim in, the sun is still good.  You might even get your  friends together for a few sets of beach volleyball.

If this doesn't scream impromptu Beach Tournament, I don't know what does

If this doesn’t scream impromptu Beach Tournament, I don’t know what does

There’s still a few weeks of baseball left.  This year White Sox tickets will be easier and cheaper to come by, but in years past, both teams are usually so out of playoff contention that they might pay you to sit in the stadium.  [I try to write these posts so that they become Everygreen Content.]  And if you are a glutton for punishment with a large bank account, catch a Bears game before the weather and their season gets too ugly.

If you work downtown you can still eat lunch outside.  Brown bag to Millennium Park or maybe even splurge a week’s paycheck to eat lunch on the River Walk.  Or take a day off and hit the museums.  Kids are back in school so they won’t be as crowded.  Combined with the baseball game, you could essentially re-enact Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

All I’m trying to say is that just because the calendar says it’s after Labor Day that does not mean Summer is over.  Not officially and not if you put your mind to it.

Other posts you might like to bookmark for next summer:
This one- Summertime fun for Chicagoans

Or this one-Don’t Let Summer Slip away…

OOOOR this one- 7 ways not to let summer slip away…

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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Festivals, Summer in Chicago

Summertime fun advice for Chicagoans

Photo Courtesy of  Digital Vision-Photodisc-Getty 2,/i>

Photo Courtesy of Digital Vision-Photodisc-Getty 2

Even though summer doesn’t officially start for another eleven days, it’s after Memorial Day and the warmer weather is here.  I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life and for as long as I can remember, the transition from spring to summer is usually quick and brutal.  We get a few weeks of spring which is usually either rainy and cold or rainy and muggy.  Then the temperature jumps to the high 80s and 90s and you hear the cliches:

  • It’s a dry heat.
  • It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.
  • Hot enough for you?

Summer time in Chicago is synonymous with street festivals. Every weekend there is at least one block party, art fair or street festival, often more.  Street Festivals are 1 of the 5 things I’m too old for:

  1. Over Crowded street fests
  2. FREE advance screening passes to a movie
  3. Waiting in line for a trendy restaurant
  4. Sports Venues and Concerts
  5. Wrigleyville

This isn’t meant to be an absolute. Once in a while, I might still be willing to put up with drunken sorority hasbeens and navigate Wrigleyville or deal with a crowded fest to see my favorite band like when The Smithereens played Retro on Roscoe that one year.

I’ve sort of amended my thinking on Street Festivals.  Some are free though many charge a suggested donation that can range anywhere from a few dollars to twenty bucks.  I still think it’s extortion to over charge for a festival, especially when there are so many better uses for that money.  But I do recognize that 1) no one is forcing me to go, 2) see my list above, and 3) I’m at a place in life where paying the fee isn’t going to break my bank.

To be certain I don’t want to give away $20 any more than the next person. But it won’t kill me and it probably won’t kill you either.

For someone living on the margins of the economy, $8 or $10 per fest might be a big deal. To anyone else paying that amount might be unpleasant but you’ll live.  My new rule of thumb for evaluating the relative worth of a given amount of money in your life is: If you dropped it in a port-o-potty  toilet full of liquid feces, would you reach in to get it? If the answer is yes, it’s a lot of money. At least to you.

Besides, it’s possible you’ll meet someone for either a summer fling or long term relationship.  Summer in Chicago means you might end up dating someone who is training for the Chicago Marathon

Summer usually brings at least one set of out of tow guests.  Looking for someplace to take them that isn’t the same old tourist attractions?

You also have to feed them so here’s a guide for getting some good produce on the cheap.

If Memorial Day is the Unofficial Start of Summer, then  Labor Day is the natural conclusion and that means summer moves quickly, especially in Chicago.  Do not  let summer slip away.



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Festivals, Summer in Chicago

Street Fest Donations: They’re suggested, not expected!

Summer time in Chicago is synonymous with street festivals. Every weekend there is at least one block party, art fair or street festival, often more. Some are free though many charge a suggested donation that can range anywhere from a few dollars to twenty bucks. Frankly, these suggested donations are getting carried away, especially as they go from suggested to expected.

I get that there are costs associated with putting on a street fest, I really do. It probably isn’t cheap and costs can only have gone up over the years. Since no one is forcing me to attend these fests, I don’t mind shelling out a few bucks to help offset those costs. And where I am at today financially speaking, I can certainly afford the entry fee at most street fests.

Which fest is this again? Doesn’t matter dude, as long as we play the same songs in a different order

At the same time, I don’t want to pay a crapload of cash for access to a public city street and the privilege of being crowded into a two-block radius smashed against people, many who haven’t showered in ages, underneath a blazing sun.

For the record, I’m not singling out a specific festival and the smaller festivals that rent out a parking lot can charge whatever they want. But those that use public streets or even a park, those are the ones who really are pushing the envelope with the Expected/Suggested Donation thing.

Over the years I’ve seen this happen at various fests. From the person working the door looking down on you because you are not contributing the full amount to the strong arm rent-a-cop who ever so slightly flexes his muscles if you even question the suggested donation”. It truly makes me wonder if the money really is going to a good cause.

I think the worst is when they don’t even bother using the words donation or suggested. I mean seriously, you’re offering me the opportunity to watch drunk people grind up on pick up each other up while swaying to a cover band that plays the same set at every fest.

Think about this: If someone spends all their money just getting into a street fest, they aren’t gonna have much left over for the overpriced beer and half cooked food, to say nothing of patronizing the non-consumable vendors. That guy with the surf board photo booth or the climbing rock are gonna go home with less money in their pockets if the door people take all of mine.

For the last time, I don’t want to enter your raffle!

And question for the people who work the door and are so adamant about getting the full “suggested” entry fee? Do you get a cut of the pie? Or is it money out of your pocket in some way?

To me it doesn’t seem worth it. In the hot summer it just takes one nutjob who feels the world owes him something and the next guy who wrongs him in any way is gonna pay. So maybe you feel invincible working that booth with the rent-a-cop next to you, or you are the musclehead who can beat up most people in a fair fight without working up a sweat.  The thing is, the nutjob probably isn’t gonna give you much opportunity for a fair fight.  Is an extra couple of dollars really worth it?

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