Summer officially kicked off this week, but in Chicago we've been soaking up the sunshine for weeks with a jam-packed schedule of summer events.
Each Friday throughout the summer, HuffPost Chicago is sharing our five picks for that weekend's must-go festivals. We all know the big-ticket Pride Parade, Gospel Fest and Green Music Fest are up this weekend, so we thought we'd show a little love to some lesser-known, but equally worthwhile festivals around town.
Need still more options? The city maintains a relatively thorough calendar of neighborhood festivals throughout Chicago.
Have another favorite you'll be hitting up that we missed? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Eden Hensley Silverstein on Flickr.
Long Grove Strawberry Festival
Summer weather makes us crave fresh fruits. And if strawberries are among your favorites, you'd better be at <a href="http://www.visitlonggrove.com/event/the-long-grove-strawberry-festival/" target="_hplink">the Long Grove Strawberry Festival</a>, a three-day extravaganza dedicated to the little red fruit--and also featuring live music and competitions. <br> <em>10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, June 22; 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday, June 23; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday, June 24<br> $5 adults, kids 12 and under free</em>
Fountain Square Art Festival
Evanston has always had a vibrant arts culture, but for one weekend it all comes together in one place at <a href="http://www.cityofevanston.org/news/2010/06/fountain-square-art-festival----june-26-27/" target="_hplink">the Fountain Square Art Festival</a>, recognized as one of the most prestigious arts festivals in the Midwest. 225 artists will showcase their work along six city blocks in downtown Evanston. <br> <em>10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27 <br> Free</em>
Bloody Mary Fest
Who doesn't love a bloody mary on Sundays? Highwood devotes a whole day to the devilish concoction at <a href="http://highlandpark.patch.com/events/highwoods-third-annual-bloody-mary-fest" target="_hplink">their third annual Bloody Mary Fest</a>. A variety of interpretations of this classic cocktail will be available for sampling on the streets of suburban Highwood. <br> <em>3 p.m. Sunday, June 24 <br> Free</em>
Enter The Panda Film Fest
Love Kung Fu movies? Knock out four of them in one day for $10 at the Portage Theater's <a href="http://www.portagetheater.org/Events/89/enter-the-panda-film-fest/" target="_hplink">Enter the Panda Film Fest</a>. The theater will screen Forbidden Kingdom, Kung Fu Panda, The Karate Kid (2010) and Enter The Dragon back to back, with karate demonstrations in between. Free parking is available at Sears nearby. <em> 11 a.m. Sunday, June 24 <br> $10</em>
Love Lincoln Park? Celebrate it at <a href="http://vinoconvistablog.me/2012/06/21/chicago-summerfest-2012-in-lincoln-park/" target="_hplink">Chicago Summerfest</a>, which brings tens of thousands of visitors every year for two days of food, drink, crafts and music--this year's lineup includes 16 Candles and Too White Crew. Proceeds will benefit the Mid North Association. <em>12 p.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, June 23 and 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday, June 24 <br> $5 suggested donation</em>