While the beginning of June wasn’t exactly full of warm sunshine, it did ring in another indicator of summer: festival time! Festivals all around the city of Chicago will be happening throughout summer, banishing the winter blues and bringing people to experience the flavors of the different neighborhoods.
Last weekend kicked things off with Do Division and Maifest. Do Division is a favorite among Chicagoans. It takes place down the corridor of bars, restaurants, and shops that divides Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park. Do Division boasts a boatload of vendors, stages chock-full of good music, and, of course, plenty of good food to eat.
As with any festival, standards like roasted corn on the cob and hot dogs were out in full force. Local restaurants added a little spice of their own as well. Frontier served up alligator sausages and bison burgers. Ćevapčići (yeah, good luck with that pronunciantion!) offered its own meaty treat with a pita filled with beef, lamb, and pork sausage and topped with a red pepper sauce. For those craving something sweet, waffle bowl sundaes, chocolate-dipped cheesecake, and gelato were just some of the desserts on hand. There were even free Slurpees, and who can say no to that?
A little farther north in Lincoln Square, Maifest celebrated the German community and the welcome of spring. The jacket weather didn’t really cooperate with the theme, but that didn’t stop crowds from flocking to the tents for some traditional German fare.
Bratwurst and leberkase (Bavarian meatloaf) were the center of the menu, dressed with sauerkraut or offered as a sandwich. Stacks of pretzels were the perfect accompaniment for the steins of beer hoisted by the merry-makers. After a polka on the dance floor, apple streusel and almond cream cake were a well-earned dessert. No matter your background, this festival deserved a hearty “Proust!”
There is plenty of food and fun to come for Chicago’s festival season, so start planning your weekends!