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On June 8th Chicago Social Media Marketers participated in a business workshop “Current Strategies and Future Realities: Growing your Brand” at Venture Hub innovators incubator in Chicago.  This panel-style discussion included CSMM co-founder Alicia Forestall-Boehm along with Christopher S. Rollyson, Founder and Managing Director, Christopher S. Rollyson and Associates, Susan Barahia, Founder BesignOnline and Mark Carter, Founder ONE80, LLC. These industry thought leader discussed the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. They addressed event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Freelancers.

Below is the event transcript of Alicia’s informative discussion on strategies for creatives using social media to promote their businesses.


Almost everyone uses social media - it’s part of our everyday lives but are there benefits of using social media for business purposes? Yes is the simple answer. Frequent social media postings allow you to engage in a conversation with potential customers and clients and to ultimately grow your business. An effective social media strategy can enable you to build community connections through engagement and branding.

Here are 12 reasons why small business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives should be using social media and some strategic ideas to help you along the way.

1.      Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service and replicate it from platform to platform.  This is extremely important for a small business. 

  o   Have a professional website
     §  As the internet becomes an increasingly important tool for artists, it is essential that you understand how to build an effective website.  Your website should not simply serve to display images of your work, it should tell the story of your artistic vision, and it should engage the viewer.  Consider your website as the official version of your artistic identity and proceed with its development accordingly. 
      §  Construct a narrative that weaves through your website telling your story and drawing in visitors. 

  o   Include your logo on every piece of communication. (business cards, signage, etc.)

  o   (If you’re in doubt about whether you demonstrate a consistent brand experience, take a look at all of your pages side by side)

  o   A special note to creatives: Artists need to remember that you are your brand!

2.      Create A Buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  o   Strengthen in-person events with social media promotion

  o   Create a Facebook event page

  o   Stream, tweet and post live

  o   Support the event with blog posts, press releases, etc.

  o   Create a marketing hook that defines you and sets you a part from the crowd
     §  i.e. As a restaurant your message should be “We offer authentic Naples style pizza every night until 11 pm or until we run out of dough!” vs. “We serve pizza”.

  o   Generating buzz for your brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require some outside-the-box thinking.

3.      Community Management – Community management means responding to people who have commented on your posts or have posted about you. Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and respond to people who have commented.  The ultimate goal is RELATIONSHIPS.

  o   Don’t be afraid of negative comments.  It’s possible to receive negative comments. But, social media provides the platform to explain, to make things right. The fact of the matter is – if someone has something negative to say they can say it.  Ignoring them doesn’t stop the damage.  But, when you reply, you are seen as a business owner who cares, who wants to make the customer happy, and that you’re human. Social media is a two-way conversation, so go ahead and defend yourself – just do it proactively.  TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE

  o   Thanking someone for a nice comment takes only seconds and it will go a long way in getting them to support your business.

4.      Content Part One– On social media channels it is important to not only include self-focused content.  Not every post should be directly about you. People are less likely to follow you or read posts that are always self-promoting. Sharing informative articles will gain you followers and develop relationships.
  o   Provide a value to your connections with helpful, interesting and relevant content in your posts and comments.
  o   i.e. An artist should post about her art, the art world and her community.

  5.      Content Part Two - Video is better than images and images are better than words.

  o   Sharing videos that have been posted by others or create your own video.
     §  i.e. A musician can share a video taken during a rehearsal

  o   Present Your Human Side With Photos - Photos and other types of visual content are highly shareable on social networks.
    §  Posting photos of your business team helps to show your business as a human brand and build relationships with your community.

  o   Don’t worry about not having professional images - Studies have shown that consumers find amateur images more believable than staged professional shots.

6.      Establish Yourself As An Expert – Using forums and message boards to answer questions professionally will earn you respect as an expert in your community. People will look to you for answers, as a source of information.

  o   This is important for Freelancers

  o   LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is a great place to make comments, post links to articles, share your original blog posts or articles and make professional connections.

  o   Join social media professional groups.  These are also great places to have a conversation and network but they will also expose your brand to a larger audience.
     ú  This will direct your conversation to a specific niche – There are so many social networking, social bookmarking, and social news sites that are dedicated to specific niches.  You have the ability to speak directly to these people and not have all the other noise of unrelated topics getting in the way. If you are speaking their language, you have a better chance of them actually hearing what you are saying.

  o   Blogs  (why are they important)
     §  Valuable content on a consistent basis will make you look like an expert.
       §  They enable conversation. Two-way dialog
         §  Can provide excellent content to fuel other social marketing activities.
           §  Another way to put your brand out there

7.      Connecting With Influencers– Find ways to connect and engage with influencers online. Share and retweet their content. Mention or tag them in posts, and participate in discussions on their social media or blog posts. You never know where these types of connections can lead; and the potential to get a link or mention from a well-known industry expert will make your efforts worthwhile.

  o   i.e. For an artist – Comment on a Gallery’s posts, share them, etc.

8.      Choose The Most Effective Social Media Platforms - What social networks do your customers favor?

  o   One recent study on social media usage revealed that the average user has two social media accounts. While some users enjoy using multiple networks, others have found one that they love and stick with it. Bottom line -It’s important to keep in mind that your customers may favor one network today and in six months discover that another meets their needs better.

  o   Follow your customers and prospects so you can network in all the right places.
     §  Think about who you want to target and where you will find them

  9.      Use Social Media As A Source Of Information. Following individuals, businesses and organization is an easy way to stay up to date on new trends, techniques and events that can be opportunities to engage your audience or grow your business and brand.

10.  Social Media Provides Another Way For Potential Customers To Find You – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of a Google search, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic.

11.  Social Media Marketing Is Much Cheaper Than Traditional Marketing And Advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it is basically free. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing.

12.  Outsource Content Development As Needed - Can your business keep up to date with all the tasks associated with maintaining your social presences (e.g., reading and sharing good content, responding to users’ comments, asking questions to help engage your audience)?

  o   Studies show it takes a midsize company about 32 hours a month to effectively handle a single social media platform.

  o   Studies also show that the companies that have the most effective social media communications are those that have a combination of internal and external people doing social media.


 
 

Join Chicago Social Media Marketers for a panel discussion with thought leaders discussing the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. We will address event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Freelancers, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. Networking will follow.

Panelists include:

Alicia Forestall-Boehm - Alicia is the Co-Founder of Chicago Social Media Marketers. An award-winning visual artist, she has over 20 years of experience with digital and traditional marketing.  She and her team assess the client’s social media marketing needs, execute and manage all social media activities—bringing a strong social media presence for each client. Chicago Social Media Marketers specialize in helping creative professionals, nonprofits and small businesses create and manage professional and effective social media campaigns.

Christopher S. Rollyson - For 30 years, Chris has helped executives make their firms or agencies stronger by leveraging new technology ahead of their rivals. He has advised global firms and technology startups at PricewaterhouseCoopers, led delivery teams at KPMG and advised brands like Sears, Kmart, UBS, Lions Clubs International, Micron and others at CSRA. He founded CSRA in 2006 to advise commercial, nonprofit & government enterprises work on experiential social media and social business strategy and execution.

Susan Barahia - Susan will talk about the different identities of a brand and how understanding what your value proposition offers is critical for business growth. She started her career in design by studying Architecture early on but finished her studies in computer science. After working several years in IT for corporate America, she ventured out on her own designing websites for small businesses. She also became involved in the entrepreneurial community by organizing monthly meetings for small business owners where attendees learned best business practices and found resources to grow their companies.

Mark Carter - Mark turns lack of engagement into profitable collaboration—by creating programs that attract talent, partners and clients. He creates events with focus and purpose, communicates through meaningful storytelling, and fosters collaboration to build teams of peers and advisors.

Date and Time
Thursday, June 8, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Location
Venture Hub
4616 W. Fullerton
Chicago, Illinois 60639

Tickets

$10 in advance
$15 at the door

Register here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/current-strategies-and-future-realities-growing-your-brand-tickets-34554598735?aff=es2  

Refreshments will be available at the event.

For more information, contact: Andreas Vassilos at Venture Hub at 773-772-7300

The Venture Hub is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship in Chicago's disadvantaged communities.

 
 

We have done our best to identify the different birds. There are a couple we could not decide upon and we are sure we mislabeled one or two. Please use the comment section to correct our errors

When you think of birding and where would be a great place to go see dozens of different and beautiful bird species in a single afternoon Chicago probably does not spring to many people’s minds. That is true for almost everyone except local Chicagoans who are in the know. Twice a year hundreds of different bird species, everything from tiny colorful warbler to shorebirds to hawks, literally come flying through Chicago.

Chicago is fortunate to be on the western edge of Lake Michigan which just happens to be on of North America’s biggest flyways during migration. While flying through modern skyscrapers may unfortunately not be a great thing for birds it is a wonderful opportunity for locals to see a wide variety of birds.

The birds can be seen everywhere, it is not that unusual to see a shorebird on the sidewalk next to a downtown skyscraper. Montrose Harbor’s Magic Hedge is Chicago’s best known birding spot and it is for a good reason. Experienced birders have seen over 60 different species in a single day.

For those working or living downtown that want to see some amazing birds over their lunch hour can head over to Ohio Street Beach. Located just north of Navy Pier the few bushes and trees in this urban oasis are loaded with birds at this time of year.  

 
 
PictureAlicia Forestall-Boehm
For most of you, social media is part of your everyday life. You know that it is an essential part of the doing business and is becoming more important every year. But the idea of using social media to promote your art is daunting and you would much rather be in the studio making art than sitting in front of the computer trying to promote yourself and your art. Even if you are able to generate enough sales to allow you to devote all of your time to your art, you really need to be getting people to notice your art on social media. Fortunately promoting your art on social media can be fun. Often artists work in a very solitary way, and social media can provide the opportunity to network with other artists, often from other parts of the world. They can offer feedback on your work and allow you to explore their world, allowing you to see their art as well.  And let’s not forget to mention the social media “likes” and comments! Who doesn’t like some praise and reassurance once in a while!

So we’ve convinced you that you have to take the social media plunge but where do you begin. You can hire a social media company that specializes in artists and arts organizations and they can take it from there. Or you can have them get you started; creating a social media presence for you and your art and then, you take over this vital promotion yourself.  Or you can follow the steps we have outlined below and do it yourself. 

Steps to a successful social media campaign for artists:

  1. Set up social media accounts just for your art. Your personal page is where you share life events while your art page is where you share your art. Your political views, photos of your dog and where you went on vacation do not belong on a business page so keep it separate. Your art business is part of you and you can and should share important art posts on your personal page.
  2. Facebook has made it easy to setup a business page. Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of your personal Facebook page and click create page. Facebook even lets you choose artist as a page category. Follow their easy steps and make sure to fill out as much of the about section as you can. The best part is that you do not need a separate login. You can access you artist Facebook page from your personal page.
  3. Twitter, on the other hand, does requires a whole new account. Follow these 7 easy steps to setup a new account.  If you have an existing Twitter account you will need to use a different email address to set up this new account.
  4. Instagram, while an excellent channel that focuses on visual messages, really only works on a smart phone. If you do not have one then we recommend that you skip this step. To set up an Instagram account on your phone, download their app and follow their simple and straightforward directions. 
  5. Now you should decide which platform you are going to concentrate your efforts on. In the perfect world you have plenty of free time to ensure comprehensive social media campaigns on all of the different social media channels. In reality most of us do not have the time. Facebook is the most widely used and by far the most important site. We recommend concentrating your efforts here. Twitter works best for well know celebrities and businesses but it can get your art seen by a lot of people. Instagram is easy to use and a good hashtag (#) can get your art in front of a lot of new people.
  6. Make sure your page is visually appealing. After all you are an artist so you want your art to look its best. Using high quality photos is important but a good cell phone photo can be effective. The biggest aggravation is that the best size to use for photos is different for banners, profile photos and posts. This guide will help you optimize your photos for social media. 
  7. Post often. Posting every day is ideal but you need to be posting at least 3 times a week. 
  8. Post about your art, the art world and your community. Not every post should be directly about you. Sharing informative articles will gain you followers and let people know you are a serious artist. You can share anything from a great local art exhibit you really enjoyed, the work of fellow artists, tips for artists, a new piece you have created, chronicling your process or most importantly, where people can see your art. 
  9. Community management. Community management means responding to people who have commented on your posts or hopefully have posted about you. Getting your art out there is important but building relationships is the ultimate goal. Thanking someone for a nice comment takes only seconds and it will go a long way in getting them to support you and your art.
  10. Invite your friends to follow your new page. Facebook makes it easy to invite you current Facebook friend to follow your new art page.  On the right side of your business page there is a line that says “know friends who might like your page”. Simply click on it and invite the friends that you think will like your new page.
  11. Use social media as a source of information. Following artists, galleries and art supply companies is an easy way to stay up to date on new techniques, see what other artists are doing, see what shows are coming to your city and find opportunities for yourself.
  12. Have fun.                                                                                    

Chicago Social Media Marketers is a Chicago based social media company that works with artist, photographers and galleries.


 
 
Picture
Chicago is a great city to live in and a great city to visit. It has one of America’s best food scenes, unrivaled architecture and many of the country’s finest museums. Unfortunately it is also one of America’s most expensive cities. A day at the museum can set a family back $100 or more. Luckily, at least for Illinois residents, there are many days when Chicago’s world class museums are free.  To save you the trouble of finding what museums are free on what days we have done all of the research for you and put together this list. Most of these free days are for Illinois residents only.


Free days at Chicago museums in 2017:

Art Institute Chicago:  Free every Thursday evening from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Weekdays from Jan. 9 – Feb. 16.

The Field Museum: Jan. 4, 5, 16, 28, 29, 30 Feb. 1 – 28

Shedd Aquarium: Free admission or you can get the all access pass for $15 instead of $39.95. Jan. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, Feb. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 28, June 5, 6, 12, 13, Aug. 28, 29, Sept. 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, Oct. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, Nov. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21

Museum of Science & Industry Chicago:  Jan. 10-12, 16-19, 24-26, 31, Feb. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28, June 5-9, 12, Sept.  5-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, Oct. 2-5

Chicago History Museum: Every Tuesday after 12:30. Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 4, and July 4.

MCA Chicago: Every Tuesday.

Adler Planetarium:  Jan. 6–13, 16, 17-20, Feb. 6–10, 20-24, June 5–9

Loyola University Museum of Art: Free to everyone on Tuesdays.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Thursdays are suggested donation days.

Smart Museum of Art: Always free to everyone.

Oriental Institute: Suggested $10 donation.

Swedish American Museum: Free for everyone the second Tuesday of the month


 
 
You may be thinking, Hamilton for $10, you must be joking. Tickets have been sold out for months and even if you could buy them they cost a heck of a lot more than $10. Good seats are going for $500 plus for some shows, how in the world can there be $10 tickets. Luckily for us the show is generously offering 44 seats for $10 for every show. They are not just bad seats up in the rafters in the back, the seats are all over. We were lucky enough to get front row center Hamilton seats for just $10. That’s right we were literally 5 feet from the stage. I could not tell you what their shoes looked like but I know which actors didn’t brush their teeth.    

Not surprisingly you will not be alone in hoping to buy these tickets. To make it fair they hold a new lottery for every show. All you have to do is enter a bit of information on their website. There are a few strict rules; you must be 18, there is a 2 ticket limit, you have 1 hour to buy the tickets online after you are notified you won and you have to show up at the theater to get the tickets.  The lottery is held the day of the show and you will be notified just a few hours before the show so you need to be ready to go to Hamilton on short notice.

There are a few tricks to greatly increasing your odds of winning cheap tickets to Hamilton in Chicago.


  • While you can only enter once per show there are no rules against you and your significant other from both entering. You can even enter for them as long as you have 2 separate email addresses. That doubles your chances of winning.
  • Enter for as many shows as you can. If you are free to go that night make sure and enter and keep entering every chance you can go. They only allow you to enter the day of the show so you will have to do it every day.

  • Put a tab or bookmark on your phone or internet browser to remind yourself to do it and to make it easier. 

  • Be patient and persistent.  We entered dozens of times before we won. 

  • Watch your emails for a notification you have won. You only have an hour to purchase the tickets online and winning and then missing your opportunity because you saw the email too late would be very annoying. 

Good luck. It is an amazing show and well worth spending $10 to see.  

 
 
Chicago is a beautiful city all year long, okay maybe not in January when the snow on the streets turns to black and the trees are bare. It is at its best during Christmastime. Christmas means 1 million white lights on Michigan Avenue, the former Marshall Field's on State looking the same as it did 60 years ago, Christkindlmart and all of its charm returns and buildings all over the city lite decorated for the holiday season.  
 
 

Once again it is time for one of our favorite events in Chicago, Open House Chicago. Every October over 200 buildings including high-rises, historic mansions, private clubs, World famous architectural firms and churches open their door to the public. Inviting them to come in and have a look around. Most of these places are normally off limits to the public so it is your chance to see them from the inside.

While the main areas of interest are of course architecture and interior design there are other interesting things to see. In the past the kitchen at the Drake Hotel was part of the event. While you would think that kitchens are normally not that interesting they are when they are one that can make enough food to feed over a 1000 people at one time, making it certainly something to see. Some of the building are only open to Chicago Architectural Foundation members.

The buildings included in Open House Chicago are spread out all over the city and some have waits of up to an hour to get in so you will be lucky to cover more than a small fraction of the over 200 options. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a great website that lists all of the buildings by neighborhood along with a short description of each. The site also includes an interactive map. We recommend you plan out where you want to go rather than trying to pick places as you go.

Having regularly taken advantage of the opportunity that Open House Chicago presents to see some of Chicago’s best buildings we have developed a list of the best places to go.

Number 1 on our list is the Brewster Apartments. This Lincoln Park residence is one of Chicago’s most interesting buildings. The glass block cat walks and ornate metal stairs make it a unique and beautiful place. As a photographer I have tried to get in any of the other 363 days of the year, only to have the doorman send me packing. By this gatekeeper’s reaction, I do not think I was the first or even the hundredth person who has tried to get in just to look around.  Happily, I found the Brewster Apartments on last year’s list and made seeing it a top priority.

The Clark House is the oldest house in Chicago. I doubt many Chicagoans, including myself 2 years ago, could tell you what the oldest house in Chicago was or where it was located. This is a museum so you can see it at other times, but there is a $10 admission fee, which is waived for this event. So going here is more about saving money than seeing something off limits the rest of the year.

The mansion on N Sheridan. There are two beautiful old mansion that can be toured on N Sheridan near Granville. The Gunder House and Conway House. You can see what lakefront mansions from a time gone by look like. 

Studio Gang Architects. One of the World’s top architectural firms that is on the cutting edge of modern architecture. You can stop in and see what boundaries they are pushing now.

Lake Point Tower.  A condo building that is the only building east of Lake Shore Drive. Their rooftop outdoor area has to be seen to be believed. It is over two acres of peaceful, manicured grounds right in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Almost all of the places are worth visiting but there are few more we have enjoyed. The Columbia Yacht Club, a private club, is a fun stop to see what that big ship on the lakefront looks like on the inside. The Fine Arts Building is always open to the public but it is so much fun it makes the list anyway. It is like going back in time with elevator operators and brass staircase railings. The Chicago Temple is a unique place of worship; a distinctive chapel 550 feet in the air. The Chicago Board of Trade Building is an ART Deco masterpiece and has an important place in Chicago history. Lastly, any of the architecture firms are worth a visit for a sneak preview of their latest in building design.

Open House Chicago is October 15 & 16 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm and as always is completely free. Individual buildings set their own times so make sure and check each one before going. Some are only open on one of the two days and a few are only open to members of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Photo credit to Chicago photographer Douglas Boehm.

 
 
Saturday 10/1-Sunday 10/2

Thursday September 28 thru October 30 – UniverSoul Circus, Washington Park
Friday September 29 thru Saturday October 1 - The West Town Art Walk, Chicago Ave. between Milwaukee & Hoyne
Friday thru Saturday October 1st - Oktoberfest, Naper Settlement, Naperville
Friday thru Sunday October 2nd – St. Benedicts’s Octoberfest, Chicago
Friday thru Sunday October 2nd - Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival
Saturday – Bacon and Beer Classic, Soldier Field
Saturday – Logan Square Beer Festival, Logan Square Auditorium
Saturday - Woodstock Ale Fest, Downtown Woodstock
Saturday – Chicago’s Vegan Mania, Broadway Armory
Saturday thru Sunday - 29th Annual Apple Fest, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood
Sunday - All-Star BBQ, Palmer Square

October

Monday 10/3-Sunday 10/9

Thursday September 28 thru October 30 – UniverSoul Circus, Washington Park
Friday - Harvest HopDown, Millennium Park
Friday thru Sunday - Fall Bulb Festival, Chicago Botanic Garden
Friday thru Sunday - Scarecrow Fest, St. Charles
Friday thru Sunday – Rocktober Beerfest, West Loop
Friday thru Sunday - The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, Highwood
Saturday - Fall Adventure Day, Northerly Island
Sunday – The Chicago Marathon


Monday 10/10-Sunday 10/16

Monday - Columbus Day Parade, State St. from Wacker to Van Buren
Thursday September 28 thru October 30 – UniverSoul Circus, Washington Park
Friday-Sunday – Andersonville Arts Weekend, multiple locations
Saturday - Chicago Home Movie Day, Chicago History Museum
Saturday - Say Cheese Fest, Chicago Marriott and Medical District/UIC
Saturday - Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival, McCook
Saturday-Sunday – Open House Chicago, multiple locations

Monday 10/17-Sunday 10/23

Friday thru November 6 - The Chicago International Children's Film Festival, multiple locations
Saturday – Spooky Pooch Parade, Chicago Botanic Garden
Saturday - Spooky Zoo Spectacular, Lincoln Park Zoo
Saturday-Sunday – Halloween at Navy Pier
Saturday-Sunday – Boo! At the Zoo, Brookfield Zoo
Saturday  thru November 12 – Chicago Humanities Festival, multiple locations
Sunday – Clark Street Spooktacular, Lincoln Park



Monday 10/24-Sunday 10/30

Friday thru November 6 - The Chicago International Children's Film Festival, multiple locations
Saturday – Spooky Pooch Parade, Chicago Botanic Garden
Saturday - Spooky Zoo Spectacular, Lincoln Park Zoo
Saturday-Sunday – Halloween at Navy Pier
Saturday-Sunday – Boo! At the Zoo, Brookfield Zoo
Saturday  thru November 12 – Chicago Humanities Festival, multiple locations
Sunday – Clark Street Spooktacular, Lincoln Park

Halloween - Monday 10/31

Northhalsted Halloween Parade
Halloween at Navy Pier


Banner Photo Credit: DBoehm Photography

 
 
September

Thursday 9/1-Sunday 9/4


August 31 thru next Sunday - Chicago Fringe Festival, Jefferson Park
Thursday  -  Closing night 22nd Black Harvest Film Festival, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago
Thursday thru Sunday – Chicago Jazz Festival
Thursday thru next Sunday  - Chicago Fringe Festival, Jefferson Park
Friday thru Sunday – Northcoast Music Festival
Friday thru Monday - African Festival of the Arts, Washington Park
Friday thru Monday - Taste of Polonia, Jefferson Park
Friday thru Monday  - Napervile Last Fling
Saturday thru Sunday – Midnight Circus, Gately Park, 744 E. 103rd St.
Saturday thru Monday - Septemberfest, Schaumburg
Saturday - Chicago Fire, Toyota Park

Monday 9/5-Sunday 9/11

Monday thru Sunday - Chicago Fringe Festival, Jefferson Park
Tuesday thru Friday – Free Day for Illinois Residents, Museum of Science & Industry
Wednesday thru Sunday – The 129th Sandwich Fair, Sandwich, IL
Thursday – Adults Night Out, Lincoln Park Zoo
Friday thru Saturday – Windy City Wine Festival, Buckingham Fountain
Friday thru Saturday – 9th Annual Lebanese Festival, Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Lombard
Friday thru Sunday - Festival de La Villita, Little Village
Friday thru Sunday – Official Star Trek Convention, Westin O’Hare
Friday thru Sunday – Chicago German-American Oktoberfest, Lincoln Square
Friday thru Sunday – Hip-Hop Summerfest, Adams/Medill Park, University Village
Saturday – Ribfest, Forest Park
Saturday – Taste of Hungary, Norridge
Saturday thru Sunday - Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
Saturday thru Sunday – Ukranian Village Fest
Saturday thru Sunday – Renegade Craft Fair, Wicker Park
Saturday thru Sunday – Ravenswood ArtWalk
Saturday thru Sunday – Midnight Circus, McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
Sunday - Scandinavian Day Festival, South Elgin
Sunday – Zoo Run Run, Brookfield Zoo
Sunday thru next Saturday – Naperville Independent Film Festival

Monday 9/12-Sunday 9/18

Monday thru Friday – Free Day for Illinois Residents, Museum of Science & Industry
Monday thru Saturday – Naperville Independent Film Festival
Thursday – ACTIVATE, Cow Path Alley, The Loop
Friday thru Saturday – Oaktoberfest, Oak Park
Friday thru Sunday -  Riot Fest, Douglas Park
Friday thru Sunday, – Midnight Circus, Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen Ave.
Saturday - 16th Annual Englewood Jazz Festival, Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513 W. 72nd Street
Saturday - 25th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Adventure, Park Ridge
Saturday – Japanese Culture Center Open House, 1016 W. Belmont, Chicago
Saturday thru Sunday -  West Loop Art Festival
Saturday thru Sunday – Lakeview Taco Fest
Saturday thru Sunday - City Made Fest, Andersonville
Saturday thru Sunday - American Indian Center of Chicago 63rd Annual Powwow, Busse
Woods Forest Preserve, Elk Grove Township
Saturday thru Sunday - 31st Annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fair, Naperville
Sunday - Monarch Festival, Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens, Palos Heights

Monday 9/19-Sunday 9/25

Monday thru Friday – Free Day for Illinois Residents, Museum of Science & Industry
Thursday thru next Thursday – Reeling, The 34th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Andersonville
Thursday thru Sunday – Expo Chicago, Navy Pier
Friday thru Sunday - The 32nd Annual American Craft Exposition, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Friday thru Sunday - Chicago Gourmet, Millennium Park
Friday thru Sunday – St. Alphonsus Octoberfest, Lakeview Chicago
Saturday – The Tao of Tacos, Harris Theater Rooftop, Millennium Park
Saturday - The Annual Elim Dutch Festival, Palos Heights
Saturday - Lisle Ale Fest
Saturday - 11th Annual Hyde Park Arts & Crafts Adventure, University of Chicago
Saturday thru Sunday - Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Saturday thru Sunday - Edgewater Arts Festival, Granville Ave.
Saturday thru Sunday, – Midnight Circus, Oriole Park, 5430 N. Olcott Ave.

Monday 9/26-Friday 9/30

Monday thru Friday – Free Day for Illinois Residents, Museum of Science & Industry
Monday thru Thursday – Reeling, The 34th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Andersonville
Friday thru Saturday October 1st - The West Town Art Walk, Chicago Ave. between Milwaukee & Hoyne
Friday thru Saturday October 1st - Oktoberfest, Naper Settlement, Naperville
Friday thru Sunday October 2nd – St. Benedicts’s Octoberfest, Chicago
Friday thru Sunday October 2nd - Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival

Banner Photo Credit: DBoehm Photography

 

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