And just like that, the holiday season is upon us. Brace yourselves for lots of funky holiday shopping events, seasonal ceremonies, family-style dinners, brew fests and a few non-holiday bashes in between, for when the spirit begins to overwhelm you.
3-6: SOFA Chicago 2011
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Short for the International Exposition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art, this annual art bash will make even the biggest art cynic swoon over works of glass, ceramic, wood, metal and fibers from international artists. All artwork is for sale, but go even if only for a fresh dose of inspiration for your blank walls. Times vary. $15-$50.
5: Beer Hoptacular
Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.
No need to pre-game this one. Beer bros unite for one of two sessions including samples of more than 100 small-batch beers from 35 breweries. Mingle with other beer nerds to trade home-brewing tips (or phone numbers, if you’re lucky), cast your vote for the best brew and leave with your souvenir sampling glass in tow. 1-4:30 p.m. and 6-9:30 p.m. $35.
5: Chicago VeganMania
Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk St.
For those always celebrating a No Meat November, check out this annual fest celebrating all things vegan. Local vegan eateries, companies and artists set up shop, and guest speakers, musicians and others provide entertainment. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. No cover.
6: Battle of the Bhut
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St.
It’s pronounced “boot,” and it’s outrageously hot. Watch competitive eaters enter a world of hurt as they devour wings made with bhut jolokia peppers, named the hottest of its kind by the Guinness Book of World Records, in this contest supported by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. Think you have the stomach for it? Sign up to compete for a shot at the $1,000 prize—and the worst stomachache of your life. 1 p.m. No cover.
11: Found Footage Festival vs. Found Magazine
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
The comedian-hosts of the traveling fest and the editors of the lost treasures magazine present hilarious and quirky videos, notes, photographs and more found at garage sales, thrift stores and trash bins. 8 p.m. $13.
11-13: Vintage Bazaar Holiday Pop-Up Shop
2133 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Does holiday shopping really have to be an annual thing? Remind yourself that buying gifts can be an entertaining experience at this shopping party with vintage and second-hand goods in a Logan Square storefront space. Friday night is a preview event (7-11 p.m., $20) that includes appetizers and a drink ticket. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. No cover.
12: 3 Floyds 15th Anniversary Party
3 Floyds Brewery, 9750 Indiana Parkway, Munster, Ind.
The batch of a whopping 2,500 tickets to this birthday party released on the brewery’s website last month has already sold out, but another batch of tickets are expected to be available at the brewery the day of. The new XV brew is debuted at the party, along with eats from local chefs, such as Paul Kahan and Justin Large of Big Star and Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate. Star begging friends now for a ride across the border. 1-10 p.m. $25.
13: CHIRP Record Crawl
Viva la vinyl! Trot across town with the fine folks from the Chicago Independent Radio Project during this inaugural event to a carefully selected crop of local record shops that offer up discounts to those sporting the gold Record Crawl badge. It all ends with an after-party, drinks and performances at Laurie’s Planet of Sound. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. No cover.
(FREE!) 19: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Get into the holiday spirit at the annual day-long festival, with musical performances, marching bands, celebrity appearances and a procession along Michigan Avenue hosted by none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse. End the day with fireworks along the Chicago River. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
(FREE!) 19: Chicago Craft Mafia DIY Trunk Show
Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway
Avoid a repeat of last year’s last-minute holiday shopping disaster by checking the DIY and handmade goods at this massive craft fair featuring local vendors hawking some one-of-a-kind, creative gift options. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
20: Warm Up and Bear Down Chili Cook-Off
Moonshine Brewing Company, 1824 W. Division St.
What says winter more than a tailgate-party-slash-chili-cook-off? Get in on this all-you-can-eat bargain bash in the bar’s parking lot with chili from more than 15 vendors competing for the grand prize title. 1-6 p.m. $10.
23: Black Wednesday!
Whatever you do tonight, make it epic—oft considered the biggest party night of the year, Chicago bashes never disappoint. Might I suggest a dance party hosted by DJ duo Flosstradamus at Lincoln Hall? Stay tuned as more parties are announced.
24: Thanksgiving dinner
Make it a bountiful “Friendsgiving” by opting for dinner with friends this year. Chow down at Longman & Eagle, a newcomer to the Thanksgiving in Chicago crowd, with a traditional family-style dinner or opt for something a little different with a vegan meal at Native Foods Café in Wicker Park.
25: Black Friday!
Don’t bother going to sleep after your marathon turkey session—some Black Friday shopping sales start as early as midnight at big box stores such as Target.
26: Ice rinks open
Start dropping hints to the boyfriend now—the Chicago Park District opens many of its ice rinks today, including The Rink at Wrigley and the Daley Bicentennial Plaza rink. The McCormick Tribune Plaza favorite in Millennium Park opens Nov. 18.
See more November events on Metromix.
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