Grab a pineapple drink--it's time for fest season. (Chuan D. Vo/For RedEye )
Let's clap it up for ourselves, fellow Chicagoans. We made it through snow and what seemed like a straight month of rain to arrive, blinking and dazed, at the start of summer festivals. Mayfest annually marks the season's kick-off, and it offers a great refresher on all the major components of a true Chicago-style summer bash: beer tents, fest food and of course, the musical stylings of Too White Crew. Because there's only one major party going on this weekend, consider the 17th annual Mayfest your easy reintroduction to all the warm-weather madness. And in case your memory's rusty, don't forget that you'll need some cash, a pair of comfy shoes and maybe a friendly pedicab driver to wheel you home.
Where: 3100 N. Ashland Ave. (Lot at the corner of Ashland and Barry avenues)
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
How much: $10 admission fee, plus food and drink
Expected attendance: 15,000
Don't miss: Cover bands provide the main entertainment all three days, including 16 Candles (7-8:30 p.m. Friday), Too White Crew (8-9 p.m. Saturday) and This Must Be The Band (8-9 p.m. Sunday). Those with Instagram-worthy puppies should also mark their calendars for the free Pet Pageant and Expo (11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday).
For frozen custard: Not only is it fest season, it's finally frozen dessert season. Head just a block west on Belmont to Scooter's Frozen Custard (1658 W. Belmont Ave. 773 244-6415) to a order a concrete (custard with your choice of fruit, candy or nuts mixed in). Scooter's closes at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday, so make this a pre-fest stop.
For shopping: If spring temps have you dusting off your bike, outfit your ride with high-quality accessories from Heritage Bicycles (2959 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-245-3005). Helmets and messenger bags are more stylish than the average reflector-and-neon crop, and there's also an attached coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix. Open 7 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily.
For better beer: If you've had your fill of standard domestics at the fest, walk north on Lincoln to Northdown Cafe & Taproom (3244 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-697-7578) and order off their impressive list of craft beers from the likes of Mikkeller, Three Floyds and Firestone Walker. With hours until 2 a.m. Friday and Sunday and 3 a.m. Saturday, you can post up for a while after the fest.
For pizza: To fuel up before the shows, dig into the "NeapolAmerican" pies at Pizzeria Serio (1708 W. Belmont Ave. 773-525-0600). Somewhere between East Coast- and Neapolitan-style, the slices have enough chew to fill you up without being a nap-inducing bomb. The pizzeria is open beginning at noon Saturday and Sunday and 5 p.m. on Friday, with hours until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Upcoming fests: May 25-26: Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest (Lakeview) and Randolph Street Market outdoor debut (West Loop). See the full summer fest calendar at redeyechicago.com/fests.