Chicago Pride Fest
With the recent passing of the Illinois Civil Union law, Pride Fest takes on a new meaning. The Northalsted Business Alliance presents the 9th annual fest as a precursor to Sunday's main event—the 42nd annual Pride Parade. Halsted Street is bound to be overflowing with food, drink, and arts and crafts vendors, with festival favorites like Deborah Cox set to entertain the masses. Check out our Guide to Pride 2011 to arrange your perfect pride weekend. Fri 24, 3–10pm; Sat 25, 11am–10pm. Halsted St at Waveland Ave (773-868-3010). El: Red to Addison. Bus: 8, 36, 152. Before 5pm $7; after 5pm $10.
FREE Taste of Chicago
The city's largest summer festival is back this year with dozens of food and drink options from Chicago's diverse neighborhoods. Break out the pants with the elastic waistband and be ready to try a bite from as many vendors as you can. Don't forget to score discounted tickets at your local Dominick's. For good music, head to the fest on July 1: At 5pm, Dixie Chicks spin-off Court Yard Hounds takes to the stage followed by country maven Loretta Lynn. Festival-goers can feel at least a little safer this year, with CPD sending more undercover officers to monitor fest activities. Fri 24–Jul 3, 11am–8:30pm. Columbus Dr from Balbo Dr to Monroe Dr. El: Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Adams; Blue, Red to Jackson. Bus: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 26, 28, 126, 145, 146, 147.
This fest paves the way with ecofriendly equipment and vendors--and by banning plastic bottles, styrofoam containers, and non-recyclable paper products. Fortunately, the fest isn't charging a premium on eco-friendliness: Entry costs a slim $5. It wouldn't be a green street festival without music for the urban, granola crunching, Volvo-driving set: indie rockers Yo La Tengo headline and other acts are staggered on two stages so festival-goers won't have to choose between acts. Green famillies are welcome, with a separate kid's area full of crafts and carnival games. Sat 25, Sun 26, noon–10pm. Damen Ave between North Ave and Schiller St (312-850-9390). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. $5.