Chicago summers are all about festivals, food, parades and general outdoor merriment. Though the official start of summer isn't until next Tuesday, you can get a jump start on the season with our picks for weekend fun.
Friday, June 17
Meet Chicago magazine’s Hottest Singles of 2011 at this year’s Summer Lovin’ event at the MCA. Local restaurants and bars will provide food and drinks while DJs spin beats to keep the crowd going all night. And singles on the prowl, take note: This year's group includes a Chicago Bears player, a tango instructor and a model.
Where: 220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660
When: 7 – 10:30 p.m.
Price: $85 in advance, $95 at the door. Add $20 for VIP tickets.
Hobo With a Shotgun
Remember those fake trailers before Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” film? One was “Hobo With a Shotgun,” which is about exactly what it sounds like, and was later made into a real movie by director Jason Eisener. The Music Box will be showing this gory-yet-campy thriller on Friday and Saturday night this weekend.
Where: 3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604
When: June 17 and 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Price: $9.25 per ticket
Saturday, June 18
Artists of the Wall Festival
Become a part of a local art project this weekend with the 18th annual Artists of the Wall Festival in Rogers Park. Locals of all ages are invited to help decorate the 600-foot lakefront mural at Loyola Park Beach, with the best designs winning cash prizes.
Where: Loyola Park Beach from Farwell to Morse
When: 9 a.m. until dusk; Judging schedule for 2 p.m. on June 19
Puerto Rican Day Parade
The weeklong celebration of Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas (patron saint festivals) culminates in the Puerto Rican Day Parade downtown. See floats, dancers, live music and more in this massive cultural celebration.
Where: Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe
When: 12 p.m.
Windy City Gay Idol Finals
For weeks, LGBT locals have competed for the top honors in this city-wide contest. This Saturday, the top 12 finalists will sing for the title in an event that will feature audience prizes and an appearance by last year’s Windy City Gay Idol, Matt Rivera.
Where: Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St.; 773-477-9189
When: Doors at 2 p.m., show starts at 3 p.m.
Price: $10 cover
Sunday, June 19
Festa Pasta Vino
Festa Pasta Vino gives you an excuse to stuff your face with authentic pasta dishes, while still fulfilling your obligation of treating dad to a fun Father's Day. On Sunday night, this block party welcomes cookbook author Lisa Caponigri, who will demonstrate some Italian cooking techniques, as well as a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
Where: Oakley Ave. and 24th St.; 630-962-7000
When: June 17, 5 - 11 p.m.; June 18, 12 - 11 p.m.; June 19, 12 - 9 pm
Price: FREE with suggested donation of $7
6 Corners’ BBQ Fest
We know you love to eat some barbecue outside, so stop by this Portage Park festival to get a taste of some of the best barbecue in the city. Grab a beer, chow down and listen to some live music by bands like Hoyle Bros. and Drop Steady.
Where: 4000 N. Milwaukee Ave.
When: June 18, 12 – 10 p.m.; June 19, 12 – 8 p.m.
Price: FREE with suggested donation of $6