Festival Watch: 8 Summer Crowd Pleasers

By at April 25, 2012 | 8:45 pm | Print

The ever changing face of Wicker Park and Bucktown has invited an ever increasing variety of summer activities and festivals, each of which brings a unique theme to this diverse neighborhood.

Whether you’re a nature lover (see: 8th Annual BCO Tree & Garden Walk), an art connoisseur (see: Bucktown Arts Fest), want to learn more about environmentalism (see: Green Music Festival), a mosh pit fan (see: Wicker Park Fest), or want to indulge your sweet tooth (see: Bucktown Apple Pie Contest) there’s bound to be something going on this summer that strikes your fancy.

But our neighborhood festivals are about more than fun, food and good shopping (see: the chamber’s annual Sidewalk Sale)…  These large scale events speak to the character of the area itself and help to make Wicker Park and Bucktown a destination point for all city residents which, in turn, helps bring in business and strengthens the local economy.

So this summer, The Pipeline encourages you to take a stroll through one or more of the six festivals listed below and experience the surprises the neighborhood still has to offer.

6th Annual Do-Division Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale (Friday, June 1st – Sunday, June 3rd)

Do-Division Street Festival returns to Wicker Park to kick off the summer! Spanning ten city blocks along Division, from Ashland to Leavitt, the now THREE DAY festival boasts an array of street vendors, dining options and amusements including the ‘Family Fun Fest,’ a child focused mini-festival offering pony rides, cookie designing, face painting, and more. Featured bands include Le Butcherettes, O’Death and Murder by Death. A $5 donation is requested for entrance. For more information, visit do-divisionstreetfest.com or call 312-850-9390.

Do Division Fest Hours: Friday (June 1), 5 pm to 10 pm; Sat – Sun (June 2-3), Noon to 10 pm (Note: The Family Fun Fest is open from noon to 6 pm on Sat & Sun only). Photo credit: Rep3.org


Green Music Festival (Saturday June 23rd – Sunday, June 24th)


This five-year-old festival (the brainchild of the West Town Chamber of Commerce) again finds its home in Wicker Park, on Damen between North and Schiller. The two day event focuses on environmentally friendly initiatives taking place across the neighborhood and the city and offers visitors a chance to learn ways in which they can become more eco-conscious. In addition to the educational workshops, featured bands include The Raveonettes and Hey Rosetta. The ‘Green Family Fun Fest’ gives kids an enjoyable way to learn about environmentalism while the ‘Green Village’ gives adults a chance to sample and shop for the ecologically friendly wares on sale from many local vendors. A $5 donation is requested for entrance. For more information, visit greenmusicfestchicago.com or call 312-850-9390.

Green Music Fest Hours: Noon to 10PM both days.


West Fest (Saturday July 7th- Sunday, July 8th)

For an 8th consecutive year, West Fest will commemorate the colorful character of Chicago’s diverse West Town with a jam-packed two-day celebration on Saturday, July 7th and Sunday, July 8th on Chicago Avenue between Damen and Wood. Hoping to build on last year’s record turnout of 50,000, this year’s street party once again features: live cutting edge music on two stages, Kid Fest, Pet Fest, and the most popular neighborhood restaurants and retailers.

West Fest is locally planned and managed by the West Town Chamber of Commerce, thus the emphasis is on ‘local,’ from the food to the talent. The West Town region thrives on the principles of community and the subsequent charm created by this diverse, yet united area. West Fest provides the stage to demonstrate why and how West Town is one of the hottest up-and-coming destination neighborhoods in the city. To piggy-back on the recent surge, the West Town Chamber of Commerce is also launching a ground-breaking West Town mobile app called DISCOVER West Town with a ‘hot deals’ feature – promoting top sales at area businesses – the same weekend as West Fest. For more information visit www.WestTownChamber.org or “like” their facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WestTownChicago

8th Annual BCO Tree & Garden Walk (Saturday July 14th – Sunday July 15th)


The Garden Walk, sponsored by Club Lucky in partnership with The Bucktown Community Organization, offers Wicker Park and Bucktown residents a way to experience the natural beauty found in private neighborhood gardens. Participants can enjoy a self guided tour of over 100 of the area’s more elegant and breathtaking gardens as well as a guided tree tour. For more information, or to sign up your garden to be included in the tour, or if you’d like to volunteer, visit http://www.bucktown.org/events/. The event is free though guidebooks books cost $5 and maps are $1, with all proceeds going towards neighborhood beautification projects.




Bucktown Arts Fest (Auction: July 27th, Festival: Saturday, August 25th and Sunday, August 26th)


The Bucktown Arts Festival is one of the city’s longest running all-volunteer festivals! Started nearly 30 years ago, the event is dedicated to offering local artists a place to show and sell their work. Currently, festival organizers are looking for items to be included in their silent and live auctions at the Jackson Junge Gallery on July 27th. The auctions benefit the two day festival which showcases the work of close to 200 visual and performing artists and attracts nearly 40,000 annual visitors. If you’re interested in donating an item to the auction, please contact susansuhar@yahoo.com. For more information about this year’s festival, visit bucktownartsfest.com.


Wicker Park Fest (Saturday, July 28th – Sunday, July 29th)


Wicker Park Fest returns to Milwaukee Ave. between North and Paulina in the dog days of summer. Vendors will line the streets, selling food, crafts, and art. Three different stages will offer a variety of bands including Wild Flag, Off With Their Heads and Dead to Me. A kid’s festival, located on Evergreen between Milwaukee and Wicker Park Ave., will include a petting zoo, face painting, a dunk tank, and much more. Vendor sign-up opportunities are still available so visit wickerparkfest.com to reserve your spot or to learn more about the event. A $5 donation is requested.

Fest Hours: Noon to 10PM both days.


Bucktown Apple Pie Contest (Sunday, October 14)

This sweet introduction to Fall has been based at Holstein Park (2200 N. Oakley) for the better half of a decade and is undoubtedly one of the neighborhood’s tastiest contests. Friends of Holstein Park invites pie lovers from around the city to indulge in the confection creations of dozens of local bakers. Anyone can enter the contest and submit their pie to the three hour event (2 – 5 PM) and, after official judging has been completed, the public is invited to sample slices of all entries! The afternoon will also include pony rides, pumpkin painting and more. Visit this link for full details on how to submit your pie. All proceeds from the event go towards maintaining Holstein Park.


Did we miss your fest? Party?

Add it as a comment.


At Least Two Members of Your Pipeline Team (pictured at WP Fest 2011)


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  1. Katie, 3 years ago Reply

    I notice that the Renegade Craft Fair isn’t listed as a fest, is it not going to happen this year, did they move locations?

  2. Kace, 3 years ago Reply

    You forgot West Fest!!! July 7 & 8th on Chicago Ave between Damen & Wood :)

    • chicago-pipeline, 3 years ago Reply

      thanks, kace! if you submit a paragraph like the others we will add it. division is boundary for us. thanks.

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