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An abundance of weekend fests in the western suburbs

The steady chirping of the cicadas can only mean one thing—the summer of 2014 is all too quickly coming to a close.

But, Chicagoans know how to savor each and every second of their summer and the weekend of August 9th-10th is no exception. From the 85th Annual Bud Billiken back-to-school parade on the south side to the 33rd Northalsted Street Market Days up north, the city will be buzzing with activity.

The fun isn’t limited to the city proper, however. From Addison and Elmwood Park to Berwyn and beyond, the west suburbs are jumping with fun festivals and a wide menu of live music.

Both Addison and Elmwood Park have a heavy concentration of Italians so it’s not surprising that both the Little Italy Fest-West in Addison and the Taste of Elmwood Park are hosting festivals with an Italian flair. The Little Italy Fest is billed as “a celebration of old neighborhoods “ and boasts of fabulous food, family fun, real wrestling and a $100,000 fireworks show on Sunday night.

The Little Italy Festival begins on Thursday, August 7th and runs through Sunday, August 10th. Admission is free on Thursday and $8 for adults on Friday through Sunday. It takes place on Lake Street, just east of Route 53 and there is free parking in the Marcus Theatre lot.

The spotlight will also focus on popular Italian performers ranging from Deana Martin (Dean’s daughter) and Diamanti to Vince Amore, Tony Ocean and the Bronx Wanderers from New York City. The ever popular Johnny Maggio will serve as the master of ceremonies throughout the duration of the fest. Call 630-962-7000 for more details or visit

After performing in Addison on Thursday, Ocean dives into more of his popular standards on Friday night at the Taste of Elmwood Park, which is serving up more of an eclectic musical line up that includes everything from a Rolling Stones cover band to the country stylings of the Hillbilly Rockstarz.

With over 20 booths ranging from Armand’s Pizzeria to Taquaeria el Toreo, there is something for everyone on the food front, too. The Taste of Elmwood Park runs from Thursday, August 7th through Sunday, August 10th and takes place at Central Park at 75th and Fullerton Avenues in the village. Admission is free.

Located “across from da Jewels” on Roosevelt Road and just a few blocks from the late Sam Giancana’s house, Berwyn’s Big Guys Sausage Stand prides itself on “serving up blue collar gourmet food” including homemade sausages that range from bratwurst and Italians to more exotic offerings like bacon wrapped cheddar brats and crawfish and pork sausage.

Big Guys has received high marks from Yelp users and the Food Network has also sung its praises. With live music on tap and the Blues Brothers on the big screen at the 2nd Annual Big Guys Sausage Fest, perhaps more people will discover “dis” spot in the now bustling suburb of Berwyn.

The Sausage Fest begins at 2pm on Saturday, August 9th and runs until 10pm. Big Guys is located at 7021 W. Roosevelt Road in Berwyn.

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