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This weekend: Chicago neighborhood festivals celebrate diversity

Taylor Street hosts Festa Italiana
Taylor Street hosts Festa Italiana
Caryn Green

The second weekend in August is the ultimate for neighborhood festivals; they're all over. Do not leave town! Now is the time for all good citizens of our fair city to go forth to do what they do best: attend street fairs with lots of food, music and fun for all.

And we do mean all: this weekend’s offerings cover the gamut. From ethnic music and eats on Little Italy’s Taylor Street, on to martial arts and craft demonstrations at Lincoln Park’s Ginza festival, the big name music acts and multitudes of funseekers at Boystown’s Northalsted Market Days, and over to Roscoe Village to troll for antiques and groove on classic cars, these festivals make for great family fun or a night out with friends.

Here's the scoop:

  • Festa Italiana/Little Italy

Dates: August 9 – 12, 2012
Hours: Thur 5 – 9pm, Fri 5 – 10pm, Saturday 12 – 11pm, Sun 12 – 9pm
Location: Taylor St. at Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60606
The lowdown: Lined with booths and cafes, with cultural exhibits, imported goods, a wine garden and tribute bands paying homage to great entertainers of Italian descent - from the Three Tenors to the Four Seasons - Taylor Street welcomes everybody to the historic neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.
More info at: Taylor Street Festa Italiana

  • The 57th Annual Ginza Festival/Old Town

Dates: August 10 – 12 2012
Hours: Fri: 5:30 pm to 9 pm; Sat: 11:30 am to 9:30 pm; Sun: 11:30 am to 6pm
Location: 435 W. Menomonee Street, Chicago, IL
The lowdown: A celebration of Japanese culture and traditional crafts, presenting taiko drumming, classical dance and martial arts onstage performances outdoors, this long-running festival also features an exhibit hall inside the Midwest Buddhist Temple, where guests can see craft demonstrations with hand-crafted treasures available for purchase. Wash down your teriyaki chicken dinner, udon, sushi and edamame with a bottle of Sapporo, and make sure to stick around for headliner Yoko Noge on Saturday night. Her blend of Chicago blues, jazz and Japanese Minyo folk music is totally original and we dig her sassy stage persona.
More info at: Ginza Festival

  • Retro on Roscoe/Roscoe Village

Dates: August 11 – 12, 2012
Hours: Saturday, Noon – 10pm; Sunday, Noon – 10pm
Location: 2000 W. Roscoe St. Chicago, IL 60618
The lowdown: Antique vendors and a vintage car show highlight this blast from the past that also includes a kid’s area – significantly expanded this year - 3 music stages and great street eats.
More info at: Retro on Roscoe

  • Northalsted Market Days/Boystown

Dates: August 11-12, 2012
Hours: 11 am to 10 pm
Location: Halsted & Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657
The lowdown: Billed as the largest two-day street festival in the Midwest, this is one of the biggest events on the LGBT community’s social calendar. Attracting more than 100,000 visitors, it spans six city blocks. Three music stages feature big name acts like the Pointer Sisters, Sheena Easton and Olivia Newton John and more than 400 craft and food vendors offer unique one-of-a-kind finds and tasty delicacies.
More info at: Northalsted Market Days


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