Chicago Summer Festivals & Events 2012: Pride Fest, Gospel Fest, Art, Theater and more for June 21-24.

Chicago Summer Festivals & Events 2012: Pride Fest, Gospel Fest, Art, Theater and more for June 21-24.
The Gay Pride Parade, a Chicago favorite, steps off at noon Sunday from a new spot.

CHICAGO, Thursday, June 21, 2012. Welcome to summer in the city with hot times ahead. This weekend blasts off with a full plate of events across the city and in the burbs. So take your pick and get ready to party.

FESTS IN THE CITY.

Chicago Pride Fest: June 22,23, Lakeview.

Love it or hate it...hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators will descend on the already space-challenged Boystown neighborhood for two stages of live music featuring headliners, food, drink, drag shows, arts, crafts and a pet parade and a good time. Most of the action takes place along North Halsted St. between Belmont and Addison.

Chicago Gospel Fest, June 21-24, various venues.

The 27th Chicago Gospel Fest is back bigger and better than ever in 2012 with multiple stages of FREE entertainment at Millennium Park, in the Chicago Cultural Center, and in its new home - Chicago’s beautiful Bronzeville neighborhood. Headliners include:  Fred Hammond, Mary Mary, Blind Boys of Alabama and Take 6.

Chicago Summerfest: June 23-24, Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park gets into the act with live music, beer, arts and crafts and activities and entertainment plus guided historical/architectural tours of the area. 2045 N. Lincoln Park West. Saturday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, June 24, noon  to 9 p.m.  $5 donation.

Chicago Green Music Fest: June 23-24, Wicker Park.

This green themed fest in Wicker Park features environmentally friendly vendors (food, arts and crafts) and exhibits along with cutting edge music. Green Music Fest.  Damen Ave. between North and Schiller.  Saturday, June 23, noon to 10p.m. and Sunday, June 24, noon to 10p.m. $5 donation.  312 850 9390.

PARADES.

Gay Pride Parade: June 24, Lakeview/Uptown.

Would you believe upwards of 800,000 will descend on the Lakeview/Uptown neighborhood for the 43rd Annual Gay Pride Parade stepping off on Sunday, June 24 at noon from Broadway and Montrose.

SUBURBAN FESTS.

Fountain Square Art Festival, Saturday/Sunday, June 23-24, Evanston.

This annual festival features juried fine arts and crafts from over 250 exhibitors. Fest goers can also take part in hands-on art projects, food and musical entertainment. 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Location: Church and Sherman,  Downtown Evanston.

Long Grove Strawberry Festival, June 22, 23, 24, Long Grove.

Music, food and yes, Strawberries star at this 27 year-old festival in the quaint Village of Long Grove in Chicago's northwest suburbs. Routes 53 and 83 in Long Grove.

Highland Park Festival of Fine Craft, June 23 and 24, Highland Park.

The highly-respect annual show features over 130 artists showcasing ceramics, textiles, baskets, dolls, furniture, jewelry, sculpture and more. In addition, there's live entertainment, food vendors, family activities and more. The action takes pace on Sheridan Rd. in the area surrounding the Art Center at 1957 Sheridan. $5 donation suggested. 10a.m. to 5p.m.

MUSIC.

Lincoln Park Zoo's Jammin' at the Zoo, Friday, June 22.

Hedley opens for headliner, Neon Trees at this popular summertime series.  Tickets can be purchased in advance for $23 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.

WMXT Party in the Park, Thursday, June 21.

Kick off the weekend with a Party in the Park at the Park Grill in Millennium Park with live music, food and drink on the plaza from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.

The Grant Park Music Festival, Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

The nation’s only FREE, outdoor classical music series of its kind presents: Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony with guest pianist Steven Osborne making his Festival debut (June 22); An American in Paris program with guest conductor Koen Kessels making his Festival debut (June 23). Friday, 6:30p.m. and Saturday, 7:30p.m.

MISCELLANY.

Garden Conservatory Tour, Sunday, June 24, Chicago's North Shore.

Get an inside look at some of the most spectacular gardens on Chicago's North Shore including Bill Kurtis' magnificent Mettawa Manor estate at the Garden Conservatory Days this Sunday, June 24 starting at 10a.m. For $5 per garden, you can take your time strolling the grounds in six private gardens. Begin your day at Four Winds, 81 W. Laurel, Lake Forest where you will receive directions and locations to the other gardens. Go to as many or as few as you like for $5 each.

THEATER HIGHLIGHTS.

Sneak peek at Goodman Theatre's Crowns.

Opening night, Thursday, June 21, for the 27th Gospel Music Festival at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion features actors from the Goodman Theatre production of Crowns with a sneak peek of the play before its opening on June 30. 6:30p.m.

Theater on the Lake, June 21, 22, 23,24.

Caffeine Theatre presents OR, by Liz Duffy Adams. The raucous, bodice-ripping comedy tells the story of Aphra Behn who has a few hours to finish her breakthrough play when her ex-lover and fellow spy delivers the news that there’s a plot to kill her current lover, King Charles II.

New Works.
Oracle Productions’ adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s, The Sandman, continuing through June 30, 2012.
Sideshow Theatre Company presents the world premiere of The Gacy Play by Calamity West at Theater Wit opening June 23 throgh July 29, 2012.

Musicals.

Lookingglass Theatre’s new musical Eastland at the Water Tower Water Works, now through July 29, 2012.
Jackie Taylor’s original work, The Story of Marvin Gaye “Don’t Talk About My Father Because God Is My Friend,” performs at the Black Ensemble Theatre, now through July 19 2012.

Broadway in Chicago.

Rock of Ages at Broadway Playhouse continuing through August 5.

RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles at Ford Center/Oriental Theatre coming June 26 through July 1.

Dramatic.

The Chicago premiere of Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus El Rey runs at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, from June 29 to July 29, 2012.
Raven Theatre Company presents Eric Simonson’s adaptation of Bang the Drum Slowly, continues through July 14, 2012.
Redtwist Theatre is presenting Martin McDonagh’s Dark Comedy, The Cripple of Inishmaan, through June 24, 2012.

Family friendly shows include:

The long-running, Pinkalicious: The Musical, continues at the Broadway Playhouse.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Navy Pier opening June 28 through August 26, 2012.

Ongoing productions continuing in Chicago include:

The hit musical, Million Dollar Quartet, continues in its fourth year at the Apollo Theater.
The Second City’s History of Chicago will continue through the summer at Up Comedy Club.
The hit show Blue Man Group performs at the Briar Street Theatre in Lakeview.

SPORTS.

Chicago Cubs Catch in the Confines, Saturday, June 23.
The Chicago Cubs are hosting the seventh annual Catch in the Confines presented by Advocate Health Care, Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Wrigley Field. Families, friends and fans of all ages have the opportunity to spend 50 minutes throwing the ball in the Wrigley Field outfield, running the bases, visiting the batting cage or sitting in the dugouts. Catch in the Confines proceeds benefit Chicago Cubs Charities programs. Participant tickets are $150 each and include a commemorative T-shirt, photograph, baseball and lunch. This ticket must be presented to participate in the activities on the field.  Guest tickets are also available for $15 each and include access to the stadium and lunch for family members who wish to watch but not participate on the field. Children, ages two and under, do not need a guest ticket to enter Wrigley Field, but they are not permitted on the field.

Chicago Women's Half Marathon and 5K, Sunday, June 24.

A new signature race, the inaugural Chicago Women's Half Marathon and 5K, a women-only event that will start and finish in Grant Park on June 24

UPCOMING EVENTS.

Green City Market Chef's BBQ.

Green City Market Chef's BBQ Benefit will be held in Lincoln Park on Thursday, July 12, 2012, from 5:30pm-8:00pm.  Rain or Shine.  Ticket Prices:  Ages 12+: $125.00 (includes entry and all food/beverages); Friends of the Market $100; Ages 12 and under: $25.00; VIP Tickets:  $250.00; VIP Tables: $2,500* (The VIP Heirloom table is $2,500 and seats ten.  VIP tables can be purchased by calling the Green City Market office at 773 880 1266.

Cirque du Soleil's Dralion.

Cirque du Soleil Dralion opens next Wednesday, June 27 under the big tent at the United Center. (currently at Allstate Arena). The show mixes circus arts with street entertainment in a visually stunning event. Phone 800 363 5085. United Center, 1901 West Madison Street, Parking lot K. Through July 1.

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