Celebrating Chicago: Movies in the Park

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago has one of my favorite summer activities in Chicago: Movies in the Park! Sponsored by Chicago Park District, parks across our fair city began showing movies about a month ago (and continue well into September — nothing like extending summer a bit, eh?) that range from classics like tonight’s Barefoot in the Park at Belmont Harbor to relatively new releases such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon and some ’80s classics such as The Goonies (oh, Josh Brolin, be still my beating heart) and The Princess Bride. Oh, I just noticed Chicago classics such as Return to Me (love, love, love Bonnie Hunt and James Belushi in that one plus Carroll O’Connor — none of whom are the main characters of course) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (not my favorite, but it is iconic at the very least). Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Irish American Heritage Festival

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago highlights the Irish American Heritage Festival, a three day celebration that ends this evening.  The event “showcases the finest in local and international Irish and American music, dance and family activities. It features more than 100 performers over 3 days on 6 stages, including the Tossers, the Young Dubliners, Dublin City Ramblers, Killdares, the Kreellers, the Mickey Finns Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones and more. Activities include music and dance performances, demonstrations and lessons, children’s activities, cultural exhibits, a raffle, one-act plays, vendors selling Irish themed gifts, the Mashed Potato Eating Contest for kids and adults, the ShamROCK Stars singing contest for kids and the Hooley Hook-Up for singles on Friday night. A host of children’s activities on Saturday and Sunday include games, facepainting, sand art and a moon walk.”  Thiat description tells a lot, but even cooler is there is a live twitter feed that is tracking the events right on the site.

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Celebrating Chicago: Sweet Home Chicago Sundaes

Umm, can you say YUM???? Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago entry celebrates Sweet Home Chicago Sundaes, and gives us two days to partake — July 14 AND July 15.  This comes from Bellezza Gelato Caffe at 3637 North Harlem Ave (tagline: A beautiful taste of Italy. Okay, I’m convinced — sign me up!), where these will be the only two days that you can find ice cream on the premises, but also coincides with the July 15 observation of National Ice Cream Day (which reminds me, if you’re in northeastern Iowa, you should swing by Le Mars, Iowa, which has been named the Ice Cream Capitol of the World, as more ice cream is produced “by a single company than in any other city in the world!” Random things you know growing up in eastern Nebraska. Though I’d still rather eat Blue Bell over Blue Bunny.  Sorry, it is  a much creamier product, which I am sure is also worse for me, but so be it.) Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Taste of Chicago

And today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago celebrates one of my favorite institutions — Taste of Chicago! I love it for being one of the things we attended the summer of 1997 when my BFF was working in the suburbs and living in Buffalo Grove.  It marked my first trip into the city via Metra, which I use nearly daily now, and amazed me that there are people who would have to take a train that long every day into work.  (Give me a break — I’m a kid from Eastern Nebraska, where commuting 45 minutes from Lincoln to Omaha or vice versa seems strange.  That said, commuting 90 minutes from a small town in the country makes so much more sense.  Only because I had more experience with that back then.) That year, I fell in love with corndogs again, eating my first vegetarian version with a delicious honey mustard (and thus began a new love of mustard explorations as well). To me, Taste of Chicago is iconic Chicago for lots of reasons.  First, outdoors in the summer.  Isn’t that why we all live here through those horrible winter months when we go into and leave work in the dark?  Second, we think we’re foodies but still love to argue about the best hot dogs.  And Taste has some restaurants that have been coming for years, with usually at least one new one (this year’s solo new entry is Pazzo’s, which has a location in the building where I work — I highly recommend, especially if you’re looking for lighter fare).  It also seems so Chicago in the swath of diversity in the people.  The people like me who work downtown, and will only head over during the lunch hour.  The people that come in from the suburbs every single summer for this event, cursing as they pay for parking.  Or my personal favorites — the suburban moms with the Mini Cooper sized strollers that expect everyone to just get out of their way like they are parting the Red Sea or something.  So I will not be making it to Taste this year, but I will think of it fondly!

Celebrating Chicago: Junior League of Chicago

And today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago celebrates a group near and dear to my heart: the Junior League of Chicago (JLC)! I joined JLC in January 2009, just a few months into my tenure here in Chicago, as the first group named the Burton Class.  (The fall provisional classes are now called Astor, the spring classes Burton, as the closest cross streets to headquarters — Astor & Burton. Makes it handy to remember on those times that taking public transportation isn’t going to cut it to make it there on time).  JLC is celebrating the second year of its centennial this year, and part of that is sharing the Mad Hatters program, which will be celebrated at Daley Plaza over today’s lunch hour.

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Celebrating Chicago: Charnley-Persky House 120th Anniversary

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago brings us back to the Charnley-Persky House (which I added to my list of things to do just last week — seriously, how cool is that?) and two of my favorite topics: history and architecture!  So in addition to their extra tours for the anniversary year, I’m betting it is also part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation‘s Gold Coast: Astor Street walking tour. Which I’ve been meaning to do for years (and have scheduled for August on my personal calendar) and invite my Junior League of Chicago peeps, as our headquarters is also on Astor Street (though I would not be surprised if not included on their tour — we think it is cool, but it may not be of historical or architectural significance).  And I’ll discuss more Junior League of Chicago stuff tomorrow. . .

Celebrating Chicago: International Festival of Life

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago takes us to the International Festival of Life, which is celebrated in my neck of the woods at Washington Park.   It is described as:

The Festival of Life is a family-friendly event featuring the music, food and artistry of the African Diaspora. It includes an international food court, two hundred arts & crafts vendors, a children’s pavilion and live music. During this 20th year the festival will be held in honor of Jamaica’s 50th Jubilee Year of Independence. In addition to celebrating African-Caribbean culture, the festival will feature some of Chicago’s best music and musicians from other musical genres, including Rock and Country-Western.   Plus, for the first time in its history the Festival of Life will be combined with the Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), which has traveled from city to city for more than half of its 30 years of existence. During the last ten years, the Awards were held at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. In 2011, the 30th IRAWMA was held in Trinidad-Tobago. After fifteen consecutive years on the road, IRAWMA returns to Chicago, its birthplace. Continue reading