Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
A glass of cold sangria in one hand, a plate of food balanced in the other. The only reason to disrupt such a perfect combination might be to dance to the live band performing just a few feet away. That's the basic Midsommarfest formula, and every summer, nearly 50,000 people flock to Andersonville for this celebration of all things local. Going strong for the past half century, the fest takes over Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa with booths for food and crafts as well as five different stages. These showcase eclectic entertainments that truly reflect the neighborhood's charm: not just cover bands (though there are those, too), but a pet parade, Swedish music, dance troupes, and sets from blues, roots, and funk bands. All the fun also helps the neighborhood, and not just because stoplights are powered by laughter; proceeds go to benefit community causes.
Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee Marco Antonio Solís brings years of ballad-crooning mastery to his live shows, tickling ears and riveting eyes with his magnetic stage presence. Buoyed by the effervescent, folksy tunes of his backup band, Solís's honeyed tenor soars to rarified heights while his trademark flowing mane hypnotizes audience members and fills wigs with impotent rage. Drawing on a catalog of chart-topping hits from his solo career, Solís fills ears with such familiar melodies as "Asi Como Te Conoci," "Tu Amor o Tu Desprecio," and "Ojalá." Solís will be joined by Mexican singer-songwriter and fellow hit-maker Ana Gabriel. Euphonic masterpieces will be crafted in the cavernous Allstate Arena, which boasts stadium seating and a protective roof that prevents dulcet tones from floating away and napping geese from entangling themselves in people’s hair.
With sizzling pans of their finest dishes in tow, chefs and cooks from across town congregate at the annual Taste of Skokie Valley to dish out tastings and support their community. At the event, which benefits more than 30 local and international charities, they’ll pile plates high with samples of their plump burgers, international delicacies, and frosting-laden cupcakes. When they’re not grilling, stirring, or slicing, the chefs chatter amicably with guests, raising their voices ever so slightly to be heard over the soft hum of the crowd and lively music from Michael Lerich and his Orchestra.
The silent auction and raffle also keep things local, doling out prizes such as gift cards to local shopping malls or maps to locally buried pirate treasure.
On May 20, 1891, an estimated 6,000 people attended the first-ever Opening Day at Hawthorne Race Course. The event featured the Chicago Derby?a quarter-mile race won by a horse named Brookwood. Since that day, the facility has thrilled Chicago-area racing fans season after season with live competition and full-card simulcasting. But it hasn't always been easy. In 1905, for instance, racing was banned in Chicago for more than 15 years after several of the facility's horses became mired in a political scandal. And Hawthorne Race Course itself has had to overcome its fair share of adversity, including two fires, the most recent of which destroyed the grandstand in 1978.
From September 13 to 16, Camera Park’s emerald expanse of grass and wooden gazebos braces itself for a lively celebration of German culture as the first annual Oktoberfest in Glendale Heights gets underway. The festival’s spacious tent ensures a full weekend of merriment, whether the sky rains, shines, or finally spills its Big Dipper. As brass-laden live bands lay down rhythms with their oompahs, waitresses clad in dirndl skirts serve up authentic German cuisine prepared by Chef Wolfgang of Schnitzel Platz Restaurant, in addition to Austrian and German pastries and frosty beers imported from Hofbräu Brewery in Munich.
Aside from the festival’s palate-pleasing foods, revelers can work off hearty meals by participating in a strong-arm contest, dancing from noon to midnight, and erupting into a round of applause after an inspiring vocal performance by a German American choir group of children. Youngsters can also meet their daily quotas for fun with a pumpkin patch, pony rides, and huts filled with an array of souvenirs, such as hats, German flags, and apple-juice steins.