Festival listings: July
* FREE Movies in the Park Mon 9–Sun 15. Various Chicago Park District locations; see website (312-742-7529, chicagoparkdistrict.com). Grant Park movies are long gone, but the Chicago Park District has since picked up the slack by beefing up its neighborhood outdoor movie series. More than 100 local parks get their own big screen for a night or two. All movies begin at dusk.
* FREE Grant Park Music Festival Wed 11 at 8:30pm; Fri 13, Sat 14 at 8pm. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, 205 E Randolph St (312-742-7638, grantparkmusicfestival.com). Pack a picnic and stretch out on the Great Lawn or grab a chair in the Seating Bowl as you listen to the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus serenade packs of Chicagoans. Food and drink, including alcohol, are permitted. (Yes!)
FREE Taste of Chicago Wed 11–Sun 15 at 11am. Grant Park, Columbus Dr from Balbo Ave to Monroe St (tasteofchicago.us). 12 tickets $8, advance $7. Since 1980, Grant Park has been hosting what has become the grandaddy of food festivals. You know the drill: Trade tickets for Chicago street fare. Hopefully, what you gain in weight, you’ll lose from your wallet. Headliners include Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan and Death Cab for Cutie. For $25, land seats in Petrillo Bandshell; the lawn is free.
Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run, Walk & Block Party Thu 12, 7:15–10pm. Cannon Dr and Fullerton Ave (773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com). Races $30–$45; block party only $5. Celebrate your accomplishment by reclaiming all those lost calories at a post-race block party, which starts at 8:30pm at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N Cannon Dr). The French national holiday is honored two days early with French food and live music.
BenFest Fri 13, Sat 14, 4–11pm. St. Benedict’s Parish, 2215 W Irving Park Rd (773-588-6484, benfest.com). Before 8pm $5, after 8pm $10. Luckily this fest has nothing to do with a pet rat. Instead, folks at St. Benedict throw this benefit to aid their schools and parish. Food, tunes and more than $10,000 in raffle prizes entice fest faithfuls.
Des Plaines Summer Fling Fri 13, 5–11pm; Sat 14, Sun 15, noon–11pm. Lee Street at River Rd (773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com). $3. This Northwest suburb’s three-day affair is light on commitment and heavy on food, music and kids’ activities. David Cassidy headlines.
Irish American Heritage Festival Fri 13, 6pm–midnight; Sat 14, noon–midnight; Sun 15, noon–11pm. Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave (773-282-7035, irishfestchicago.com). $15, seniors $7, kids 12 and under free, advance $8. Jig to live bands, including the Tossers and the Dublin City Ramblers, at this 27th annual fest. Use the luck of the Irish to win a mashed-potato-eating contest or a singing contest, or to meet your match at the Hooley Hook-Up event.
* Pitchfork Music Festival Fri 13, 3–10pm; Sat 14, Sun 15, noon–10pm. Union Park, 1501 W Randolph St (312-742-7529, pitchforkmusicfestival.com). $45 per day. Indie-music fans invade Union Park for this Chicago tradition. This year, headliners include Feist and Vampire Weekend.
Windy City Ribfest in Uptown Fri 13, 5–10pm; Sat 14, noon–10pm; Sun 15, noon–9pm. Lawrence Ave at Broadway (773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com). $5. Flex your jaw muscles and stretch that waistline at this fourth annual ’cue fest, which features Here Come the Mummies and Smash Mouth. New this year is Rib Village, an area with all-you-can-eat food (Bridgeview Bank parking lot, Clifton Ave and Broadway; Fri 13, 5:30–10pm; Sat 14, 1–10pm; Sun 15, 1–8:30pm).
Bristol Renaissance Faire Sat 14, Sun 15, 10am–7pm. 12550 120th Ave, Kenosha, WI (847-395-7773, renfair.com/bristol). $19.95, advance $17.95, kids $9.50, advance kids $7.50. Have a jolly olde time and butcher your favorite European accent as you engage in live-action fantasy play, enjoy interactive riddles, cheer on your favorite jousting knight or revel in period performances from 1574. The festival takes place Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day in July, August and early September.
FREE Chinatown Summer Fair Sun 15, 10am–8pm. Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd (773-868-3010, chicagodragons.com). Continue the Year of the Dragon celebration with lion and dragon dances at 12:30pm. The 33rd annual fest also features martial arts demonstrations, Chinese arts and neighborhood food.
Dearborn Garden Walk Sun 15, noon–5pm. Begin at Latin Middle School, 45 W North Blvd (312-632-1241, dearborngardenwalk.com). $35, advance $30. More than 20 private Dearborn Parkway gardens offer inspiration for creating your own urban oasis. Garden vignettes by Chicago designers showcase dramatic outdoor spaces in the tony Gold Coast neighborhood.