Market Days 2008
Move over, Pride. Northalsted Market Days is the best gay weekend of the year.
|Queer quotient: Attending Chicago’s most outrageous street fair won’t turn you gay—or will it?|
|Not gay enough yet?: There are plenty of places off Halsted Street where you can seal the deal on your homosexuality.|
|Good cop, gay cop: An out officer leads a Boystown police station’s efforts to serve and protect the LGBT community.|
|Message in a bottle: Boystown bars leverage booze profits to benefit the gay community.|
|Band schedule: Keep this guide handy as you navigate the weekend.|
There’s a huge difference between June’s Pride Weekend and Market Days (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10). Pride is a lot like Thanksgiving with your relatives—an event where a whole bunch of people with one thing in common, in this case the struggle for equality (and in your family’s case, blood), gather together for one obligatory afternoon and everybody leaves drunk. It’s not that we don’t love Pride: It offers both a reflection of our past and a glimpse into our future while also unabashedly celebrating who we are today. It’s just that, like Turkey Day, we’re glad it happens only once a year.
But Northalsted Market Days (a.k.a. the Halsted Street Fair), blasting off this weekend in Boystown, on Halsted Street between Belmont Avenue and Addison Street, is the real party of Chicago’s queer summer season. Market Days is what we scribble into our calendars months in advance, crossing our fingers that our straight friends choose a different summer weekend to tie the knot.
So what’s all the fuss? Simply put, Market Days is the outdoor street festival in hyperdrive. It’s the apotheosis of everything magnificent about summer in Chicago, including gooey street food, live bands cranking out summer tunes and a whole lot of hotties struttin’ what they’ve got. Consider the numbers: 40 live acts, 400 vendors, almost one million ounces of beer poured and a whopping 200,000 attendees over two days. It’s Halsted Street ratcheted up to the hottest, queerest shade of pink possible. Sure, straights are welcome (read on to see where you fall on our scale of gay Market Days activities), but make no mistake: This is a celebration of queers, beers and unabashed leers, not unlike Boystown itself.