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PictureChicago Blues Fest
In an attempt to get the summer over with as quickly as possible the City of Chicago has scheduled all of its major events for this weekend.  Okay this may be a slight exaggeration but just a slight one. There is more going on this weekend then there is happening the entire month of July.

The two biggest art fairs: Old Town Art Fair and the Wells Street Art Festival are Saturday and Sunday. The Old Town Art Fair, actually set in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, not Old Town, is nationally acclaimed, has 250 artists and brings in over 30,000 people.  Wells Street, ironically set in Old Town, just a short walk from the Old Town Art Fair, is not as big but is still very popular.

The biggest free music festival:  The Chicago Blues Festival is in Grant Park starting Friday June 10 and running through Sunday night. There will be local blues acts on small stages as well as nationally known performers on the main stage.

The biggest lit fest: Printers Row Lit Fest will be held in Printers Row on Saturday and Sunday. It has dozens of free talks and cooking demonstrations along with tent after tent of used books for sale. It has so many books it can be a bit overwhelming.

The World’s most famous athlete, Lionel Messi, and his Argentinian national soccer team will be at Soldiers Field on Friday Night. Playing professionally in Spain and being from Argentina means there are not many chances to see possible the greatest soccer player of all time play in the United States.

The most famous sailing race: The America’s Cup will be held at Navy Pier all weekend. It is not the final but it is a part of the race series. It is your one chance to watch part of this World famous race.  

Big events are not the only thing on the schedule this weekend. There are several smaller festivals that are also worth checking out.

Ribfest Chicago- The name says it all. It is Friday through Sunday at Lincoln and Irving Park.

Remix Chicago- A music, food and art festival in Logan Square.

Pilsen Food Truck Festival- Food trucks in Pilsen.

The White Sox- The Chicago White Sox will be hosting their division rivals and current World Series champions the Kansas City Royals all weekend.   

Warm weather has finally arrived in Chicago. For many people it means baseball season is here. For others it means no more bone-chilling waits on an EL platform. For weekend warriors it means it is time to dust off the workout shoes and head to the lakefront.

To me however it most importantly means that farmer’s market season is here. You may wonder  what can they possible be growing near a big city like Chicago or possibly you may think that the only thing grown in Illinois is corn. The reality is that Chicago is in a great location for locally grown produce and handcrafted foods. We are a short drive from Wisconsin and their amazing cheeses, Indiana with their great small vegetable farms and Michigan which is one of the country’s best fruit growing states. And yes,  even Illinois has some outstanding small farms.

What can you expect to find at a Chicago farmer’s market? There will be cheeses, meats and baked goods from local producers all season long. Most markets have vendors selling prepared foods that are made on site.  Two of our favorites are GottaBCrepes and Gale’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese. You will find Vietnamese food, tamales and aromatic grilled sausages.  The real star of the markets is the produce. In spring you will find strawberries, not the giant tasteless ones you find at the grocery store, but small oddly shaped ones that are what strawberries are meant to be. There will also be tables overflowing with beautiful and delicious blueberries and asparagus. As summer sets in you will find tomatoes, lettuces, peaches and cucumbers. Fall brings squash, apples and yes corn.

Some of Chicago’s best farmer’s markets:

Logan Square- The best vibe of any of Chicago’s farmers markets. It is as much an event as it is a place to buy produce. This Sunday market is packed with local families and their pets making an afternoon of it. There are good quality produce and baked goods available but the highlight, and what makes it my favorite market, is the prepared foods.

Green City- The most famous of the Chicago farmer’s markets. It is held every Wednesday and Saturday in Lincoln Park, south of the zoo and close to Clark Street. They are very strict about their vendors only selling locally grown, organic food and it shows in the quality of their goods.

Daley Plaza- A large market set in the Loop. They have a nice variety of baked goods, produce and prepared foods.  Steel and glass high-rises make for an interesting backdrop when you are buying local fresh asparagus or blueberries.

SOAR Farmers Market- One of Chicago’s smallest farmer’s markets. Held in the MCA Chicago Plaza every Tuesday they manage to fit an amazing variety of products into a small space. What makes this one of my favorite markets is its small and manageable size. It is more intimate than the bigger markets.


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