Hi everyone! First, I just want to apologize for posting this later than usual. I had some technical difficulties (user error) yesterday that caused my entire new post that I spent two hours writing to disappear! After freaking out and yelling at the bad machine, I decided that I would just go to bed and post the next day because drinking wine at Ravinia all evening is exhausting and it was already midnight. So I’m sorry for my lateness, and I know all of you were just devestated not to start your Monday morning off with a fresh blog post from me! (delusional much?)
Fest-travaganza: As you all know, every weekend in Chicago from June through August there are ooooohhh, at least ten festivals to choose from. This weekend I chose one outside of Chicago: Pierogi Fest http://pierogifest.net/. This takes place in Whiting, IN and celebrates all things Polish. And I love it because it’s very tongue in check and embraces all things campy and kitsch. It is ridiculous! Ridiculously AWESOME! I went Friday with Gay-nea Pig for the parade and let me tell you, I will take a small town parade over some fancy big city parade any day. And here’s why:
Chicago can keep its big marching bands, fancy floats, and minor celebrities. I much prefer my parades to be filled with a bunch of random locals, putting on silly costumes and whipping hard candy at my head. Where else can you see nuns on roller blades five minutes after a bunch of guys walk down the street in their coconut bras and underwear. And I still have no idea why they were dressed like that! And those old ladies doing the dance with their walkers? Those bitches could move! The Babushka brigade and lawn mower precision drill team were the best. It was impressive and hilarious! But it was so packed INSIDE the fest after the parade, much to my dismay, Gay-nea pig and I left. But not for long….I returned the next day with male guinea pig for more fun! I ate pierogis (meat, potato, and cheese) and drank a pina colada out of a pineapple shell! We even got to watch some of the polka dancing with a real live polka band- accordian and all!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. My favorite festival to go to, but so overly crowded it takes away some of the fun. Oh, and I was very sad that despite the presence of a woman dressed, Ms. Pazcki, I did not see a ms. paczki for my belly. Oh, and it’s WAY cheaper than most Chicago Fests!
Ravinia: While technically Ravinia http://www.ravinia.org/Default2.aspx is not actually a festival in the “typical” sense of the word, I am putting it in here because the sign said “Welcome to the Ravinia festival”, therefore, it counts. I’m not going to write too much about this since I’m pretty sure most of my readers are very aware of this magical fun place. But for those of you that aren’t….Ravinia is America’s oldest outdoor music venue. During the summer they have concerts every single night! There are some newer, big name acts (Demi Lovato, Carrie Underwood) and some nostalgia (Duran Duran, Hall & Oates), and then the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) if you are feeling more refined. Depending on the show, tickets can range from $10-30; but that’s for the lawn tickets. The lawn is where all the fun is anyway. Lawngoers bring chairs, fun finger foods, blankets, and lots of wine. Some pros go as far as bringing candles and picnic tables! Look how much fun everyone is having: you can see it gets packed. And that wasn’t even a main event. My girlfriends and I went for the classical concert- an all Tchaikovsky evening. It was good, and they even had real live canons going off during the 1812 Overture which was pretty badass. However, I’m not a big fan of the professional “shushers” at these events that walk around with a “quiet please” sign during CSO concerts and say “shhh” to anyone talking! Also, the classical events do tend to bring out an older, stuffier, snooty, and very white crowd. My personal favorite Ravinia events are the old 80′s acts- I’ve seen Pat Benetar, Hall & Oates, Blondie, and an Abba cover band. Sweet. You can talk, laugh, dance, and sing and it’s more of a fun, party atmosphere at these shows. Nonetheless, I love Ravinia and I must go at least once every summer, because regardless of the music- it’s the ultimate picnic experience and a perfect way to enjoy the summer with friends.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I’m basing this rating more on my overall experiences at Ravinia rather than this particular one.
Irish Fest: A few weeks ago male Guinea Pig and I went to Irish Fest at the Irish American Heritage Center http://irish-american.org/ It was pretty good- but it was kind of empty due to what appeared to be a hurricane earlier that evening. There was the typical stuff: Irish bands, crafts, and food, but there was other fun stuff like the mashed potato eating contest, dramatic readings, dancers, a kilt contest, and the hooley. What’s a hooley? It’s an Irish tradition of matchmaking! So there was a singles event within the festival! And if you’re sad you missed this, don’t be- they have a variety of fantastic Irish-related events year round! And if you’re interested in the hooley, they have one every year around Valentine’s day. But be warned- I went two years ago. The only people who are looking to get ”matched” on Valentine’s day are women. No joke, male guinea pig and I went together and when I came back from getting a beer, he was surrounded by a mob of extremely aggressive women. He was in heaven, I was miserable. So guys- you might want to check that out for an ego boost if nothing else.
Random Fests: I think I already blogged about the Taste of Randolph, which was great. I also went to Serbian fest which sounded awesome, and I don’t know about Chicago’s Serb fest, but the one in Indiana consisted of 20 Serbians that looked shocked and annoyed that we were there, a craft table and a man with an accordian. Don’t be sad you missed that. Worst fest ever. But keep an eye out- there’s much more fun to be had!
Along those lines, you know this is state fair season as well which is like a million street festivals rolled up into one and my favorite thing in the world!!! So soon I will be posting about those and all the fried goodness that I will be eating. I hear Wisconsin is serving fried beer! Want to know more? Check out http://www.ncstatefair.com/ for state fairs and http://www.agr.state.il.us/fair/countyfairssched.php for Illinois County Fairs. Although in my professional opinion, why go to the county fairs when you can go to a state fair? Nonetheless, I will be going to the Lake County Fair in Indiana this weekend, and the Wisonsin State Fair the following week. But before that happens, I want you all to know, I DO take requests, and upon suggestion several months ago from a reader, I finally checked out the Paper Machete. And I’ll let you know all about that next week!