Five Things to Know About Wizard World
There’s only one convention in Chicago that draws the biggest names in comics and TV (along with massive crowds of their adoring fans): Wizard World Chicago. Founded in 1972 and acquired by the comics experts at Wizard Entertainment in 1997, the convention has been the best place for generations of fans to run into their favorite childhood character or movie star or swap theories and speculation with other fans. Read on to learn more about the thrilling events that bring visitors back every year:
The special guests are the biggest draw. In the past, the convention has played host to everyone from 10th Doctor David Tennant to Star Trek’s William Shatner.
You may see Batman walking around the convention floor. Cosplaying is king at conventions, and Wizard World gets as many Jokers, Chewbaccas, and Transformers as it can handle.
Be ready to fill up nerd-approved merchandise at the countless vendor booths. That includes everything from hard-to-find vintage memorabilia to new merchandise inspired by characters from Star Wars, The Avengers, The Simpsons, and more.
You can see live art in action. The convention's artist’s alley brings together well-known comic artists, who sell their work, hand out signatures, and create original art while fans look on.
Networking opportunities abound. Amateur creators look for new partnerships throughout the convention, while workshops share advice on everything from self publishing to character development.
There's really no better place to spend the weekend with your family than at Lisle Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival in Lisle.
Parking is plentiful, so visitors can feel free to bring their vehicles.
Lisle Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival is sure to be a fun experience for the whole family!
A glass of cold beer 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.
Lincoln Park Zoo: Names to Know
Situated in the heart of its namesake park, the Lincoln Park Zoo is home to animals from around the world. Exhibits range from the Helen Brach Primate House to the beautiful Waterfowl Lagoon, and its ongoing research projects work to protect wildlife from the Serengeti to the Congo. Since opening with just two swans in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo has been home to thousands of animals and the trainers that care for them. Before your next trip, familiarize yourself with some of the zoo's most famous names:
Marlin Perkins: Though famous for hosting Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Marlin Perkins first tried his hand at television during his stint as director of the Lincoln Park Zoo. His first program, Zoo Parade, gave thousands of Chicagoland viewers an intimate look into the lives of the zoo's residents, and even won a Peabody Award in 1951.
Bushman: Upon his arrival in 1930, Bushman the gorilla turned the Lincoln Park Zoo from a simple city zoo into an international attraction. Today; his taxidermied remains can be found keeping silent watch over the halls of the Field Museum.
Adelor: Many of today's visitors have fond memories of Adelor, the majestic African lion who held court inside the zoo's Kovler Lion House until his death in 2012. Although Adelor is missed by many, his spirit lives on: a life-sized statue of the famous cat sizes up passersby at the zoo's east entrance
Clark and Addison: Born in 2015, these adorable red-panda cubs share their names with the Wrigleyville intersection that's home to an entirely different type of Cubs.
Disappointed by the relative lack of comedies at film festivals, independent filmmaker Jessica Hardy founded Chicago Comedy Film Festival last year as a much-needed outlet for comedic expression. Now in their second year, Hardy and her staff have picked another round of humorous flicks to the screen over the three-day, second-annual laugh fest, screening both independent feature films and shorts.
Films on Friday include Servitude, starring Kids in the Hall and NewsRadio actor Dave Foley as the manager of a Western-themed restaurant’s overworked staff. Earlier in the day is the screening of Close Quarters, a flick starring renowned local actors T.J. Jagodowski, Susan Messing, and Gregory Hollimon as they debate love, friendship, and jealousy—all over some coffee.
On Saturday, catch the Midwest premiere of
Bad Parents, where Janeane Garofalo and Cheri Oteri play stressed-out soccer moms trying to communicate with their inanimate soccer-ball children. On Sunday, those with VIP passes can attend the award ceremony, as well as the after-party at Rockit Bar & Grill.
As one of Chicago's biggest costume parties, the Haunted Halloween Ball combines the lavish experience of a VIP nightclub and hotel gala with the terrifying ambiance of a haunted house. Each year the spooky bash invades the Congress Hotel—which voted one of The Most Haunted Hotels in the World by USA Today—and transforms its 20,000-square-foot ballroom into a nightmarish scene overrun with zombies and ghouls. Costumed go-go dancers, zombie cocktail servers, and vampire bellmen roam the haunted ballroom floor as top DJs fill the air with dance beats. Haunted Halloween Ball also invites its guests to go all out with their costumes with winners receiving $3000 in cash and prizes.