Ready your rainbows; it's Pride Parade weekend. (Brock Brake/ For RedEye )
Now that you've had more than a month to practice your fest skills, it's time to really put them to the test. This jam-packed last weekend of June is home to two huge Pride Month events, a new country music-focused fest, a gigantic block party and yes, a mechanical bull in Lincoln Park. Grab your water bottle and saddle up, partner. email@example.com @redeyeeatdrink
Where: Begins at Broadway and Montrose Avenue, travels south along Broadway to Halsted Street, then travels south on Halsted until turning east on Belmont Avenue to Broadway, then continues south on Broadway until turning east on Diversey Parkway to end at Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park
When: Noon Sunday
How much: Free to attend
Don't miss: The floats. The fashion. The drag performers. Pride Parade is one of the most over-the-top visual spectacles of the summer, drawing an estimated 850,000 spectators last year. RedEye will be along for the ride, so keep your eyes peeled for our float and don't forget to wave!
Mini-detours: Kick off the weekend with Chicago queer rapper Big Dipper's dance party/performance Saturday night at Spin (800 W. Belmont Ave.), or shake it late into the night Sunday (until 4 a.m.) with the all-day and all-night DJ line-up at Hydrate (3458 N. Halsted St.). Need a morning boost? Fill up your mug at Dollop (4181 N. Clarendon Ave.) before the parade steps off.
Back Lot Bash
Where: Cheetah Gym's parking lot, 5238 N. Clark St.
When: Doors open at 5 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: Weekend passes ($30-$60) available online; single-day passes ($10-$20) available online and at the door
Don't miss: This weekend-long women's festival—one of the city's biggest annual events for the lesbian community—combines music from performers including Melissa Ferrick (9 p.m. Friday) and Uh Huh Her (DJ set Sunday evening), plus a fashion show and, of course, sun-drenched drinking.
Mini-detours: Cheeky beer-and-burger joint Hamburger Mary's (5400 N. Clark St.) likely will be the go-to spot to party pre- and post-Bash, but expect equally fun crowds at charming dive Simon's Tavern (5210 N. Clark St.) and Irish-themed beer bar Lady Gregory's (5260 N. Clark St.)
Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
Where: Old St. Patrick's Church; enter at Madison Street and Des Plaines Avenue
When: 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
How much: Two-night passes available online ($75); single-day passes available online ($40) or at the gate ($45); admission includes four drink tickets
Don't miss: Choose your own adventure: Friday night is all about the indie rock, with Punch Brothers (7 p.m.) opening for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (9 p.m.), while Saturday has a country twang courtesy of Phil Vassar (7:15 p.m.) and Gretchen Wilson (9:15 p.m.). Beer, brats, a raffle and other summertime shenanigans also are on deck.
Mini-detours: Before the party, grab a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich (or two adorable banh bao sandwiches for smaller appetites) from Saigon Sisters (567 W. Lake St.); afterward, post up with friends at Jaks Tap (901 W. Jackson Boulevard) and choose from 40 on-tap beers.
Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival
Where: Milwaukee Avenue between Diversey Avenue and Kedzie Boulevard
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: $5 suggested donation or a $10 3-day wristband
Don’t miss: True to Logan Square’s cool aesthetic, the fest is a mash-up of art, food and drink and music including Chicago alt-country band Waco Brothers (8:45 p.m. Sunday), Detroit trio Jamaican Queens (5 p.m. Saturday) and DJ-musician Dam-Funk (8:45 p.m. Friday). An RSVP at do312.com gains you access to a “Pop-Up Parking Lot” with drinks from area bars and restaurants Parson’s Chicken & Fish, The Owl and others.
Chicago Country Fest
Where: Lincoln Park, enter at 2020 Lincoln Park West
When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: Formerly Chicago Summerfest, this new Southern-tinged fest includes country cover bands, line dancing, barbecue from Moe's Cantina and John Barleycorn, plus what is likely the only mechanical bull in town.
Summer on Southport
Where: Southport Avenue at Waveland Avenue
When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: Yes, all the familiar fest band faces such as 16 Candles (8-10 p.m. Saturday), Too White Crew (4-6 p.m. Sunday) and Hairbangers Ball (8-10 p.m. Saturday) will be in attendance across two stages, but the food vendors are a step up from typical street fare. Snack on oh-so-cute sweet and savory pastries from Puffs of Doom and artisan ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (which will open a shop on the Southport Corridor later this summer).
Lincoln Park Arts & Music Fest
Where: Racine Avenue between Fullerton and Webster avenues
When: Noon-10 P.M. Saturday, Noon-9 P.M. Sunday
How much: $7 suggested donation
Don't miss: Visual artists, musicians and food take over the DePaul neighborhood for this fifth annual fest headlined by singer-songwriter Howie Day (7:30 p.m. Sunday) and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page (8:15 p.m. Saturday).
July 5-7: Wavefront Beachside Music Festival (Montrose Beach); July 5-7: Windy City RibFest (Uptown); July 6: Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic (Jackson Park); July 6-7: Taste of Lakeview (Lakeview)
>> Click here for RedEye's full summer festival calendar.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.