Check out a food truck face-off at Merchandise Mart on Friday. (Mike Rich/RedEye )
(Free!) Ice Cream Preview
Sprinkles 50 E. Walton St. 312-573-1600
The folks behind the popular cupcake brand are scouting Chicago locations in preparation for a Sprinkles ice cream store. In the meantime, you can sample a new ice cream flavor—Red Velvet or Rocky Road—for free if you're one of the first 150 people through the cupcake shop's door. Noon. Friday.
Food Truck Face-Off
Merchandise Mart South Drive 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza 312-624-9214
As an open-to-the-public part of the Techweek Chicago conference, Lagunitas brewery sponsors this technology-meets-taste competition for local mobile kitchens. Sample $2 bites from a dozen trucks including Jerk, La Adelita and The Fat Shallot, then show some love for your favorite using a voting app. Winning food trucks are selected by both a panel of judges and audience votes. 6-8 p.m. Friday. No cover.
Timothy O'Toole's Pub 622 N. Fairbanks Court 312-642-0700
Drink your way through the spectrum of ciders at this bash featuring more than 25 ciders and fruit beers, where admission buys you 10 three-ounce samples of such options as Etienne Dupont Cidre, Furthermore Fallen Apple beer and locally produced Prima Cider, plus discussions with experts and brand ambassadors and a keepsake glass. Still thirsty? Additional tastes are available for $2 each. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. $25.
Art, Music, Beer & Ceviche Night
Flats Studio 1319 W. Wilson Ave. 312-206-0007
Local brewer 5 Rabbit hosts an urban, Latin-style salon where you can sip cervezas, snack on three types of ceviche with visual art by Mexican illustrator Chema Skandal and take in rare vintage Latin grooves from the Sonorama DJ collective. 7:30 p.m. Friday. $25. Tickets: brownpapertickets.com/event/401435.
West Town Fridays
M Vie 1372 W. Grand Ave. 312-265-0159
The new River West spot welcomes you—and your wine-loving taste buds—with half off select bottles including Terrazas malbec (regularly $40) and Hess chardonnay (regularly $38) which you can sip while dining or at the lit-from-below honey-colored onyx bar. 5 p.m.-midnight. Friday.
Buckingham Fountain 301 S. Columbus Drive
Get exuberant on a 25- mile fun ride to benefit Friends of the Park, which kicks off at 1 a.m. and travels through a dozen neighborhoods including Chinatown, Humboldt Park and Lincoln Square with a sunrise finish down the lakefront trail. Registration includes complimentary post-ride snacks, water and soft drinks.10:30 p.m. Saturday. $48-$50. RSVP and rules: chicagoevents.com.
Summer Music Film Festival
Music Box Theatre 3733 N. Southport Ave. 773-871-6604
Cool off indoors with more than 40 years of music-themed documentaries and feature films ranging from breakdancing ("Wild Style") to Detroit Punk ("A Band Called Death") to a new doc about the rise and fall of Napster ("Downloaded"). At 7 p.m. Friday, WBEZ's "Sound Opinions" co-hosts Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis introduce the Chicago release of "Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm" screened as a double feature with "Festival Express." Friday-Tuesday. $8-$15; $70 for all-fest pass. Tickets: summermusicfilmfestival.com.
"The Ballad of Little Duck" and "The Samaritan Syndrome"
Dream Theatre 556 W. 18th St. 773-552-8616
Take in two tales from the dark side by founding artistic director Jeremy Menekseoglu—first, his solo show which explores the experiences of a broken man who must give up his child when his girlfriend abandons him; then, an ensemble one-act drama in which a man visits a mental hospital which doubles as a brothel in hopes of "saving" a troubled girl who he hopes can rescue him from his own demons. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. $20; $17 for students. Tickets: dreamtheatrecompany.com.
REDEYE TIP OF THE DAY
Volunteer for conservation efforts through Shedd Aquarium's Great Lakes Action Days and Adopt-a-Beach events: sheddaquarium.org/5099.html.
Julia Borcherts is a RedEye special contributor.