Fest-goers toast at German American Fest 2009. (Chuan D. Vo/For RedEye )
Sure, Labor Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean summer festival season is over. In fact, this weekend is one of the busiest of the festival season, from wine-tasting in the heart of downtown to dancing and pierogi-eating in Ukrainian Village, not to mention DIY crowd favorite Renegade Craft Fair and Lincoln Square's biggest outdoor party of the summer, German American Fest.
German American Fest
When: 5-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lincoln Plaza on Leland Avenue from Lincoln to Western avenues; Saturday parade on Lincoln from Irving Park Road to Lincoln Plaza
Details: Make Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a German general under George Washington and the namesake of Saturday's 2 p.m. parade, proud by diving into the bratwurst, landjaeger (a jerky-like sausage) and herring sandwiches at this longstanding Lincoln Square event also known as the German Day Festival. Catch the opening Bavarian-style beer tapping at 7 p.m. on Friday or grab a Hofbrau and watch folk dancers covering a range of styles from all over Germany on Sunday afternoon.
Renegade Craft Fair
When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Division Street from Damen Avenue to Paulina Street in Wicker Park
Details: With vendors such as wooden sunglasses maker Tumbleweeds Handcraft and custom knife maker Four Chamber Forge, this is not a craft fair limited to Etsy.com obsessives, although they're invited too. Take classes in knitting, ceramic tile-painting or leather-stamping, pose for a pic in Magnolia Photobooth Co.'s free photo booth and check out vintage clothes at a pop-up shop from The Vintage Bazaar.
Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
When:10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Broadway between Belmont Avenue and Hawthorne Place
Cost: $5 suggested donation
Details: Four words: "interactive urban picnic oasis." OK, we're not sure exactly what that means either, but the idea of a garden where you can play oversized chess sounds pretty cool. More than 150 artists from around the city, country and world were selected to participate in this fest, so it's a good bet for finding the perfect piece in just about any medium. A strong local music lineup ranges from the dreamy, Phoenix-like indie rock of Save the Clocktower to the stirring alt country of Robbie Fulks. Bonus: Your suggested donation also buys you the chance to win plane tickets.
Windy City Wine Festival
When: 4-10 p.m. Friday, 3-9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
Cost: $28 in advance, $35 at the door, $10 for designated drivers, free for those under 21 with a paid adult
Details: Work your way through ten wine tastings, an experience that promises to help you learn (and subsequently unlearn) the difference between pinot noir and pinot grigio (Pro tip: The former is red; the latter is white), as well as get you in the mood for multiple performances from musical guest Lloyd Dobler Effect.
Ukrainian Village Fest
When: 1-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Superior Street between Oakley and Leavitt streets in Ukrainian Village
Cost: $5 per day
Details: If it's been awhile since you chowed down on some nalysnyky (cheese blintzes) or varenyky (pierogi), or if you're just hungry for some good old-fashioned potato pancakes, you're in luck. Pick up classic Ukrainian food or crafts, check out traditional entertainers such as the Hromovytsia Dance Ensemble and pretend you've ended up in Kiev for the weekend.
Festival de La Villita
When: 6-11 p.m. Friday, 2-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: 26th Street and Kostner Avenue; Sunday parade on 26th Street from California to Kostner avenues
Details: Gear up for Mexico's Independence Day (Sept. 16) with a parade, food from neighborhood restaurants, carnival rides and, oh yeah, an effing circus. The Hermanos Vazquez circus performs at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, music ranges from traditional acts such as Alkatraz de la Sierra to pop artists such as Raul Sandoval and Esmeralda Ugalde.
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