Fest planner: Aug. 22-24

This is your final weekend before Labor Day, and you have plenty of opportunities to make it count. Take your pick of nine festivals focused on food, art, music and fashion in neighborhoods from the South Loop to Logan Square. Hungry? Head directly to SausageFest in Old Town, Chicago Food Social at Kendall College or Greektown's Taste of Greece. Looking for live music? Pencil in the South Loop's Bash on Wabash, The Boulevard in Logan Square or Chicago's New Orleans Festival, which takes place alongside Chicago Fashion Fest. Into art and design? Take it all in at the Bucktown Arts Fest or Friday evening's Fulton Fest in West Town. If this nine-fest-deep lineup doesn't get you off the couch, nothing will.
kbernot@tribune.com | @redeyeeatdrink


Each week, we're issuing a mini-challenge to help you make the most of your weekend festival experience. Complete the challenge, snap a photo and tag it #GetFested on Instagram for the chance to have your photo appear in our RedEye. Last week, we asked to see your shots from the Air & Water Show, and we love these cloud-backed images from @mutterrrr and @whereiswndy. This weekend, show us something delicious you ate or drank at a festival. Shouldn't be too hard, right?

SausageFest Chicago

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: St. Michael in Old Town (1633 N. Cleveland Ave.)

How much: $5 suggested donation

Don't miss: Chicago takes its sausages fairly seriously, and some of the finest butchers and restaurants in town will all be in one place this weekend to showcase their versions. Take your pick of bratwurst from Paulina Meat Market, Polish sausages from Bobak's Sausage Company, Italian sausages from Bari, a Chicago-style hot dog in a tamale from Dia De Los Tamales, alligator sausages from Chicago's Dog House and more. Non-meat eaters won't go hungry thanks to vegan and vegetarian options from Dia de los Tamales. While you snack, listen to music from The Verve Pipe (8:30 p.m. Friday), Michael McDermott (8 p.m. Saturday) and a line-up of country acts Sunday. At 3 p.m. Saturday, the fest crowns its Sausage King, a charity competition to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Boulevard

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday

Where: 3100 W. Logan Blvd.

How much: $10 suggested donation

Don't miss: Logan Square's indie rock, blues, funk and electronic music fest is back with two stages of live music on historic Logan Boulevard. Headliners include Ween guitarist Dean Ween's side project, The Dean Ween Group (9 p.m. Saturday), Americana band Greensky Bluegrass (8:30 p.m. Friday) and electronic group Conspirator (7:30 p.m. Saturday). Tickets for after-parties at Concord Music Hall are on sale at boulevardfestival.com.

Fulton Fest

When: 2-7 p.m. Friday

Where: Fulton Street between Damen and Hoyne avenues

How much: Free to attend

Don't miss: Discover the work of businesses and artists in the West Town and Fulton Market areas at this festival organized by the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago. Organizers will shut down a portion of Fulton Street, where tents will cover booths from area businesses and artists including Goose Island Beer Company, Passion House Coffee Roasters, Spicemode, High End Junkie streetwear brand, Cone Gourmet Ice Cream and others. Sample their goods or purchase food from parked food trucks.

Bash on Wabash

When: noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Wabash Avenue between 13th and 14th places

How much: $5 suggested donation

Don't miss: The South Loop fest returns for an 11th year with live music, food from area restaurants and a free 5K run (12:30 p.m. Saturday) and 10-mile bike ride (12:30 p.m. Sunday; free registration for the run and ride at eventbrite.com). Musical highlights include The O'My's (6:45 p.m. Saturday), The Steepwater Band (7:30 p.m. Sunday) and Funk & Soul Elite (8:15 p.m. Saturday), a loose gathering of Chicago's top record collectors, including members of Soul Summit, Windy City Soul Club, Sheer Magic and Numero Group, spinning some of their favorites.

Bucktown Arts Fest

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Senior Citizens Memorial Park (2300 N. Oakley Ave.)

How much: Free to attend

Don't miss: Now in its 29th year, the Bucktown Arts Fest showcases nearly 200 artists, musicians, dancers and poets. A main stage features local acts while a New Jazz Roots stage puts the focus on emerging jazz and jazz-inspired performers; additionally, a theater and dance stage hosts global performers, a Shakespearean play and more. The beer tent also has become its own draw, selling local and national craft brews including Ale Syndicate du Sable Belgian ale, Moody Tongue crushed green coriander wit and Goose Island The Ogden Belgian tripel (all Saturday) and Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail double IPA, Flossmoor Station dunkelweizen and 3 Sheeps Baaad Boy Black wheat ale (all Sunday).

Chicago Food Social

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Kendall College (900 N. Branch St.)

How much: $5 admission

Don't miss: This celebration of food trucks and chefs returns to the parking lot at Kendall College for two days of food, cooking demonstrations and live music programmed by Empty Bottle. Purchase snacks from trucks including Da Lobsta, The Fat Shallot, Husky Hog BBQ, Pierogi Wagon, Puffs of Doom and more, plus catch live demos from Mexique chef and "Top Chef" contestant Carlos Gaytan (2:05 p.m. Saturday), Punch House beverage director Will Duncan (5:50 p.m. Sunday) and others. Musical acts include The Sea and Cake (8:30 p.m. Saturday), Windy City Soul Club (1 p.m. Saturday) and Brontosaurus (3 p.m. Sunday).

Taste of Greece

When: noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: 400 S. Halsted St.

How much: Free to attend

Don't miss: This celebration of Greek pride returns to Greektown for a 25th year, offering Mediterranean food from neighborhood restaurants including Artopolis, Greek Islands, The Parthenon, Santorini and Zeus Gyros, plus Greek music, belly dancers and the debut of a fine arts area.

Chicago Fashion Fest featuring Chicago's New Orleans Festival

When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Division Street at Damen Avenue

How much: $5 donation includes admission to both fests

Don't miss: The sixth annual Chicago Fashion Fest this year teams up with a new event, Chicago's New Orleans Festival, for two days of shopping, runway shows, beauty vendors and other stylish happenings, plus a side of Louisiana food and music. At Fashion Fest, look for lines from established and emerging designers and shops including Anastasia Chatzka, Trillium, Maash Boutique, Gabrielle Zwick and more. When you get hungry or want to hear some music, head to Chicago's inaugural New Orleans Festival for chicken sausage, shrimp jumbalaya, fried alligator and beer and wine with musical highlight and Lafayette, Louisiana native Buckwheat Zydeco (8:30 p.m. Saturday).