After spending the night tearing up the dance floor at Charlie’s, I awoke to an almost cruelly bright summer day and several insistent text messages telling me to head to Roscoe Village. My friends needn’t have worried; as a food fanatic I’m particularly fond of Chicago summers and the street festivals they entail. There was no way I’d miss Burgerfest.
Immediately upon arrival, my roommate and I beelined for the sangria tent. At 1 pm, the stretch of Belmont between Leavitt and Damen was bustling, but not overwhelming. Fruity drinks in hand, we carefully inspected each burger tent offering. I resisted the urge to buy the Goose Island Stilton burger (I’ve had it before)or a pina colada served in a pineapple.
Ever indecisive, I bought fried cheese curds- my first in the Midwest-to tide myself over until I chose a burger. Diana and the Dishes, a local band that plays regularly at the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill, took the Damen street stage, so I rushed over and started dancing. When they reached “I’d rather be lonely than with you,” an anthem for any girl who’s gone to Wrigleyville on a Friday night, my friends and I belted out the lyrics— there’s something about the stuff that’s in your hair that makes me … nauseous —while bystanders looked on in mild confusion.
After the set was over, a group of us made the requisite pilgrimage to Bleeding Heart Bakery for red velvet cupcakes and strawberry basil lemonade. We stopped in an antique store to dig through bins of old-fashioned tin signs, laughing over geographically impossible depictions of San Francisco from the 50s. All too soon, it was time to leave. There’s nothing worse than getting trapped in an overcrowded street fair.
Walking away, I felt a pang of regret. I’m moving to California in a month to be closer to my family, and it’s afternoons like these that epitomize all I love about Chicago. Even worse, in all the excitement, I completely forgot to buy a burger. Oops.
About the author: Zoelle Egner (@zoelle) is a poet and corporate sell-out, as well as book review/web editor for Muzzle Magazine. She is probably taller than you.