Pulled pork. Baby back ribs. Beef brisket. BBQ turkey legs. These are just a handful of the barbecued delicacies that sizzle on the grill during the annual Six Corners BBQ Festival. In addition to mouth-watering food from area restaurants, two stages host local music acts, from zydeco groups to brass bands. The family-friendly extravaganza also boasts a Kids Corner stocked with inflatables and other youthful activities. All profits from the fest will go toward local arts organizations.
The indoor music and art festival takes over the Chicago Urban Art Society for a full day with exhibits and interactive pieces that ensnare the senses with bursts of color and sound. More than 100 artists fill the marketplace stalls with their wares, showcasing works that include portraits and 3D canvases peering out through a sea of color. Nearby, craftspeople display beaded necklaces, seashell-laden earrings, and hand-painted animal figures for sale. As the crowds peruse works, live music and DJ tunes fill the room. Guests get their own chance to be creative too: patrons can create their own artwork or act as lookouts while Hugo Style paints live graffiti art.
Occupying a building that sprang up at the turn of the 20th century, the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC) somehow manages to cram Ireland into one of Chicago’s city blocks. Work from Irish artists hangs in the building’s art gallery, books from Irish authors fill its library, Irish plays light up its 658-seat theater, and Irish food and drinks delight the crowd on the main floor at the Fifth Province Pub. The IAHC also has a knowledgeable staff of instructors, who teach classes on everything from Irish dance and music to Irish language and genealogy.
Push the boundaries. That's pretty much the only rule for performances at the Chicago Fringe Festival, an unconventional expo of new theatrical works from around the world. Now in its fourth year, the Windy City's festival joins in a dramatic tradition shared by cities including Indianapolis, New York, and the original outpost, Edinburgh. The week-long event provides a prominent stage for up-and-coming productions, helping little-known companies catch some buzz and established groups test out new ideas. A lottery system determines the year's lineup, a process that keeps each festival exhilaratingly unpredictable while delighting statisticians.
PitchFork's whiskey devotees pride themselves on a sweeping selection of grain mash beverages and a menu of rustic bar fare served in a Western-inspired setting. A pantheon of more than 100 different whiskeys stoically stands over the bar to silently challenge all passersby to test their fiery contents, including 4 Roses ($5), Old Weller ($7), and the voluminously bearded 12-year Pappy Van Winkle ($10) (prices based on shots and cocktails). The pulled-pork sandwich ($8.50) loads piles of smoked meat onto a toasted bun to create a cleaner, more efficient porcine consumption medium than tangy slabs of baby back ribs ($12 half; $19 full). Patrons can coax out reclusive appetites with a platter of buffalo-, barbecue-, or citrus-sauced wings ($8–$20) before designing their own mac 'n' cheese, accessorized with a variety of ingredients including prosciutto, asparagus, or mother-of-pearl brooches ($7+).
Taekwondo demonstrations. A kimchi eating competition, the "Chowdown in Korea Town", with Major League Eating's Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas and a $1,750 first place prize. A singing competition with round-trip tickets to Korea. These are just a handful of the activities and attractions at the 2013 edition of the Chicago Korean Festival. Now in its 18th year, the festival celebrates the city's thriving Korean culture through food and entertainment to promote, educate and celebrate its history. Festgoers are immersed in cultural traditions, can fill their bellies with Korean food including naengmyeon (cold noodles), and even participate in a kimchi making workshop with take-home treats. Newly-elected Maine Township School Board Member Jin Lee will even showcase his personal collection of Korean War artifacts to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice of the War.