Summer Festivals Chicago: New for 2015

Summer Festivals Chicago: New for 2015

Although festivals, where copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, were born in the Middle Ages before there even was a Chicago, it could be argued that newbie Chicago does the whole festival bit second to none.

Windy City festivals emphasize musical entertainment, food and family fun while celebrating our many unique neighborhoods and attractions.

It seems that no matter how many festivals are crammed into the May to September season-- even tho' we have tons, there's always room for more.

This summer, six new festivals hit the streets joining old favorites. Here's what to expect.

1. Lincoln Park Wine Festival

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When: Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, 1 to 7 p.m. both days.

Where: Jonquil Park, 1001 W. Wrightwood, Chicago

The scene: This urbane weekend happening transforms Jonquil Park into a tranquil open-air market featuring tented wine and food pavilions.  Some 80-plus varietals will be showcased with brand ambassadors and sommeliers on hand to answer questions. In addition, expect live music acts, food-wine pairings, fine art, and wine-related vendors.

The tab: A $60 one-day pass allows the purchaser to sample up to 12 one-and-a-half (1.5) ounce wines (includes a souvenir wine glass). A daily VIP pass for $95 offers tastings of up to 17 wines including premium vintages. A two-day pass at $100 allows for 12 samples each day. Click here or call 773 868 3010 for tickets and information.

2. Taste of Mexico

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When: Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7; Hours: Friday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 10:30 p.m.

Where:  3000 W. 26th Street (at Sacramento), Chicago

The Scene: An authentic taste of Mexico along with its colors, traditions and culture transform Chicago's Little Village neighborhood into a bustling Mexican marketplace. Highlights include a Restaurant Row, cooking demonstrations, music, cultural stages and more.

The tab: Free admission with reasonably priced food and drinks.

3. Wingout Chicago

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When: Saturday and Sunday, June 6, 7,  2 p.m. to 6 p.m., both days.

Where: Old Town, St. Mike's parking lot, 1633 N. Cleveland Avenue.

The Scene: Expect a wing extravaganza accompanied by live Blues.  The fest will be flying high with multiple styles and sauces including: a sweet BBQ, Jerk, Garlic Parmesan, Lemon Pepper, High Output, Teriyaki, Classic Buffalo, Smoked, Grilled, to the Spiciest Habanero and Ghost Pepper sauce.  After eating your fill, vote for your favorite or see how the panel of expert judges--Sean Cooley, Thrillist, Chris LaMorte, Urban Daddy, Matt Kirouac, Restaurant Guru, Kat Levitt, A Girl & Her Food, Kelly Rizzo, Eat Travel Rock, Samantha Roby, Chicago Food Authority, and Chicagolunch--vote.

The tab: $55 for "All You Can Eat Wings" from 15-20 of Chicago’s Top Wing Vendors, 2 free 16 oz. beers or refreshments from a Craft Selection plus Live Blues. Click here for tickets and more information.

4. Brew to Be Wild Craft Beer Event

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When: Saturday, June 13,  6 to 11 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon, Chicago

The Scene: There's sure to be a heady mix of Craft Beer Fans along with animal lovers tapping into the over 80 brews offered at this tasting event.  The fest also features a deejay and lawn games.  More than 50 local, regional and national breweries including those from Chicagoland's Vice District, Empirical, Noon Whistle and Blue Nose breweries and New York's Brooklyn Brewing will be on hand.

The tab: $49 per-person in advance. Designated driver admission is $20. Also a limited number of VIP tastings are available for $89 per person, in advance, that include exclusive beer tastings, snacks, access to a private lounge and restrooms plus an extra hour of tastings with doors opening at 5 p.m. Food will also be available for purchase throughout the zoo.   A portion of proceeds benefits the zoo.  Click here or call 773 868 3010 for tickets and information.

5. Windy City Lake Shake

The giant slide is part of the fun and games at Windy City Lake Shake

The giant slide is part of the fun and games at Windy City Lake Shake

When: June 19, 20, 21

Where: Northerly Island, FirstMerit Bank Pavilion, 1300 S Lynn White Dr.

The Scene: This one's for you, Chicago. Live Nation has put together its sixth multi-day country music and camping festival. Come for the music--Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and about 100 more country favs...stay for the fun.  The fest promises food, games, big country stars, a Giant Inflatable Slide a Vertigo Swing and more.

The tab: Passes start at $199.50, click here for more.

6. Chicago Hot Sauce Fest

World's hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, will be at the Chicago Hot Sauce Festival

World's hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, will be at the Chicago Hot Sauce Festival

When: Saturday and Sunday, July 25, 26, noon to 11 p.m., both days

Where: Avondale neighborhood (Belmont & Elston)

The scene: One thing's for sure, no matter what the weather, this saucy fest will be the hottest of the summer. Hot sauce companies will be coming from all around the country while local restaurants will be offering a variety of spicy (and non spicy) foods. There's also food eating contests including the 2015 World Chicago Italian-Beef Eating Championships  (sponsored by Al's Beef), along with a few HOT pepper eating contests including the Carolina Reaper--the HOTTEST pepper in the world--eating contest.  The fest also will have a hot sauce pepper themed costume contest for kids, live entertainment, food, beverages, and more.

For those that can't handle the heat, the fest will have cooling stations with mist fans, water, bread, ice, and more.

The tab:  $5 suggested donation.

Click here for the complete list of Chicago's Summer Festivals for 2015

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