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The 20th Annual International Festival of Life
Photograph: Max HermanThe 20th Annual International Festival of Life

The three best things to in Chicago today

Written by
Clayton Guse
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1. Watch some indie musicians cover the Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead tickets have been more difficult to come by than a table for brunch at 12:30pm. If you're not attending the first of the group's three "Fare Thee Well" shows at Soldier Field, you should check out Alex Bleeker and the Freaks cover the band's heady catalog at City Winery. Bleeker, of the indie rock group Real Estate, will be joined by Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Dave Harrington of Darkside and local guitarist Ryley Walker. (City Winery, 1200 W Randolph St, 11:30pm. $28)

2. Celebrate life African-Caribbean style

If you want to get into something different than hot dogs and apple pie this Fourth of July weekend, the African Caribbean International Festival of Life is your best bet. The festival is in its 23rd year and aims to promote cultural awareness. Festivities will include reggae, dancing, soccer, art and some delicious Afro-Caribbean food. (Union Park, 1501 W Randolph St, noon. $15-$25)

3. Suckle on some pig bones in Uptown

There are few things that say 'Merica like a big, saucy pile of ribs. The seventh annual Windy City Ribfest is coming to Uptown this weekend, which should make for a good, old-fashioned patriotic start to your Independence Day weekend. You'll be able to hear some live music, drink plenty of beer and push your waistline to its limits. (Lawrence Avenue at Broadway, noon. $5 suggested donation)

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