The young and the restless
Ready to party but you're not 21 yet? The city of festivals has you covered.
Chicago’s cultural calendar is filled with citywide events that not only allow minors, but welcome them with open arms. Most of them take place during the warmer months (there were three of those months the last time we checked), so stick around this summer and see the city at its gayest. Save the date for the following highlights:
Reeling: The Chicago International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Nov 8–18)
The second-oldest GLBT film festival in the United States is 26 this year, which means it’s probably older than you. Check out ten days of cool queer programming including discounted rates for students. Local filmmakers are always encouraged to send in their projects, so that student film you’re working on this semester may just make it to the big screen at next year’s fest.
International Mr. Leather Weekend (May 23–26)
You wanted a liberal-arts education and you’re certainly going to get one at this weekend-long festival dedicated to fetish lifestyles and culminating in the crowning of International Mr. Leather 2008. Most events are too pricey for the student budget, but don’t let that stop you from spending an afternoon at the much balleyhooed leather market. An admission price of two bucks is nothing for an afternoon of eye-popping visuals. But do us a favor: Make sure this isn’t the weekend you invite your parents to Chicago.
Midsommar Festival (June 13, 14)
What do you get when you mix Swedish-American immigrants, a lively gay and lesbian community and yuppie families? You get Andersonville, an adorable North Side neighborhood with a healthy number of venues catering to gays and lesbians. The highlight trip to this homo-friendly ’hood is this two-day festival, which finds flocks of queers from around the city spending the afternoon drinking, cruising, shopping
Pride Weekend (June 28, 29)
If you’ve never experienced Pride weekend before, just think prom weekend but way cooler (and gayer). Activities abound the entire month of June in Chicago, but it all comes to a boil the last weekend of the month with a spate of GLBT-oriented events, including many aimed at queer youth. Don’t miss Pride Fest and the Dyke March on Saturday. And if you really came to Chicago to get an education, we highly suggest you stick around for the parade on Sunday.
Market Days (August 8, 9)
Market Days (a.k.a. the Halsted Street Fair) is the largest outdoor street festival in the Midwest, and by far the biggest event on the gay calendar. More than 250,000 people (mostly gay) converge upon a four-block stretch of North Halsted Street for a vendorcentric weekend of live music, socializing and drinking. It’s the last hurrah you’ll have before settling into your sophomore year.