Put the metaphoric lampshade on your head, guys, because it's Labor Day weekend. Yep, with a day off from work on Monday. you can justify partying Friday through Sunday, preferably outdoors and with a summertime drink in hand. If you're sticking around the city, four fests offer music, quirky art, jazz and boundary-pushing performances around 'hoods from Logan Square to Jefferson Park. Lucky for you, summer fest season's not over yet.
Where: 2200-2300 N. Milwaukee Ave.
When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: Formerly Ravenswood Remix, this eclectic art fest has a new name and a new location in Logan Square. Recycled, repurposed and upcycled jewelry, household items, art and clothing take center stage, while bands such as contemporary psychedelic outfit Secret Colours (3 p.m. Saturday), discontented poppers Archie Powell & The Exports (7:15 p.m. Saturday) and anthemic rock group Makeshift Prodigy (7:45 p.m.) provide the soundtrack.
Mini-detours: Order up some house-roasted coffee alongside breakfast at Bang Bang Pie Shop (2051 N. California Ave. 773-276-8888), where warm-from-the-oven biscuits bask in buttery glory beneath a smear of housemade butter and jams. After the fest, grab a $7.50 PBJ—that's a PBR, a slice of pizza and a shot of Jameson—at Boiler Room (2210 N. California Ave. 773-276-5625) or head to The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-227-3530) for craft cocktails and music.
North Coast Music Festival
Where: Union Park (1501 W. Randolph St.)
When: 3-10 p.m. Friday, 1-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: One-day tickets $55-$75
Don't miss: What do Wu Tang, Passion Pit and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound have in common? They're all headlining North Coast, a three-day music fest that bills itself as "summer's last stand." If you thought Pitchfork was too bloggy and Lolla was too five-years-ago, maybe you can find your niche among the diverse acts at this something-for-everyone summer blowout. (Read our interview with Passion Pit here.)
After-parties: Take your pick of festival after-parties, but we'd recommend snagging tickets to see Young Chop and Sasha Go Hard at Bottom Lounge (10 p.m. Friday) and RSVPing for a free DJ set from Purity Ring and JC Brooks at The Mid (10 p.m. Sunday).
Chicago Fringe Festival
Where: Various locations throughout Jefferson Park
When: Aug. 29-Sept. 8
How much: $5 admission button (a one-time purchase that allows access to any Fringe shows), plus performance tickets ($10 per show; discounted packages available)
Don't miss: This out-of-the-box theater and art festival expanded its programming this year, necessitating a move from its former Pilsen digs. More than 100 performances span multiple venues; buy multi-pack tickets online or at Fringe Central (Fischman Liquors & Tavern, 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave.) or pay at the door. With shows like "Boobs and Hope," "Get Ready for the Vagina Fairy" and "Slap Bracelet Time Machine," the last thing this fest will be is conventional.
Chicago Jazz Festival
Where: Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
When: Noon-7:30 p.m. Thursday; 2:-10 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
How much: Free admission
Don't miss: Even if you don't know a stroll from a shout chorus, it's hard to resist the promise of world-class jazz for free at Pritzker Pavilion. From high school and college jazz bands to regarded professional musicians, the four-day fest highlights diverse jazz performers and covers multiple venues in and around Millennium Park. Bring a picnic blanket or folding chair if you plan to stake your claim on the Pritzker lawn.
Taste of Polonia
Where: Copernicus Center (5216 W Lawrence Ave.)
When: 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; noon-10 p.m. Monday
How much: $7 admission
Don't miss: This indoor-outdoor bash celebrates Polish culture with dozens of performers across five stages, a traditional market plus beer and food for sale. Post up in front of the stage that hosts your favorite acts, whether it's the Tribute Stage (cover bands), World Music Stage or the Dance and Polka Stage (also includes DJ acts). Hungry? Choose from pierogis, kolaczki cookies, Polish sausages and more from Kasia's Deli, Smakowski's Deli and others.
African Festival of the Arts Chicago
Where: Washington Park (5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave.)
When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday through Monday
How much: Advanced tickets $10 each online through August 29 or $40 for a 4-day pass; Daily admission $20 at the gate with discounted family passes available; VIP tickets also available online
Don't miss: Brandy (8 p.m. Monday) and Otis Clay (8:30 p.m. Sunday) headline the 24th annual four-day festival of African music, arts and culture, with fine arts, African drumming and jewelry on display at a simulated African village.
See RedEye's full summer fest schedule at redeyechicago.com/fests
Upcoming fests: Sept. 6-7: Windy City Wine Festival (Grant Park); Sept. 6-8: German-American Fest (Lincoln Square); Sept. 6-8: Festival de la Villita (Little Village); Sept. 7-8: Renegade Craft Fair (Wicker Park)
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