Isn’t this a wonderful time to be in Chicago? As the weather gets nicer and better and warmer and even sunnier than we’ve already seen, take a small bit of time, every day, to just get outside, take a deep breath, and relax. Look around you, go to a nearby park and witness the beauty of nature all around you. Chicago is host to 580, yes, that’s right, 580 parks, so there has to be one near you.
The Farmer’s Markets will start to open in May, hooray! The official kickoff to the new season will be at Chicago’s longest running market in Daley Plaza, at 11:30am, Thursday, May 11th. If you are anywhere in the downtown area, please make it a point to visit, you will be very glad you did; fresh vegetables, fruits, and all manner of goodies are finally available from local and not-too-far-away family farms. You’ll get to meet the people who actually grow the food that you will eat, learn about the work they do every day to make sure the fields are fertile and well-tended, and the crops growing properly. Farming is not easy work, my friends, so let’s stop by, spend a few minutes with these fine people and take home a week’s worth of fresh vegetables and fruits for our own tables, shall we? https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmersmarkets0.html
It’s MAY. Festival time is already here, do you believe it? Let’s head down to Bridgeview and the annual Viva Cinco de Mayo Festival. It starts on Friday, May 5, at 5pm (1700 hrs) until 10pm (2200 hrs) and continues on through the weekend. Included in the very family-friendly festivities are a huge carnival, lots of different Mexican beers, live music on two stages, and amazing amounts and varieties of delicious food. This is Chicago, after all, one place where you can visit the whole world without ever leaving the city, so dive in and try something new and different. Toyota Park, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview. www.vivacincodemayofestival.com
Our Polish friends are also celebrating that same weekend. The 126th annual celebration (can you believe that?) of Polish Constitution Day starts off with the largest Polish parade outside of Poland, 11:30 am. May 6, S. Columbus Drive at Balbo Street, and continuing to Monroe, Chicago. Did you know that Poland was the first country in Europe, and the second country in the world to adopt a democratic constitution? There will be many opportunities to sample excellent Polish fare at the many fine Polish restaurants in Chicago throughout the week and week end. I trust you’ll let me recommend our friends at the award winning Red Apple Buffets on Milwaukee Ave. For information go to www.may3parade.org or call the Alliance of Polish Clubs at 773-745-7799.
Chicago Craft Beer Week is coming, this year it’s from May 18 to 25. The kickoff event, aptly named “Beer Under Glass,” will be held at the vibrant and spectacular Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 S. Central Park Ave., Chicago, where 100 different breweries will serve over 200 different craft beers. Amazing! The fun starts at 5:30pm (1730) and runs through 9:30 (2130) in the Conservatory, and then continues on in numerous venues throughout town for a full week. Check it all out at http://chibeerweek.com/events.php because there is no way to describe it here, my friends.
This beautiful month ends, as it does every year, with the Memorial Day week end, when it’s time to remember America’s fallen soldiers. The memorial began in the aftermath of the Civil War, but has come to represent all soldiers and sailors in all of America’s wars. Please take a few moments out of your day and think quietly about what it might mean to die in battle for your country. Then, on Sunday, May 28, join me and several thousand of my cycling friends, acquaintances and friends-I-haven’t-met-yet in Grant Park for Bike The Drive. Lake Shore Drive is closed to automotive traffic for hours to give us time, this one day each year, to ride north along Lake Michigan to the end of the Drive, or back south, down to the beautiful Museum of Science and Industry. There are amazing views and “photo opportunities” in both directions, and many of us, myself included, will ride both loops before returning for the big music, bike and outdoor festival in Grant Park. It’s a great day, enjoyable and complete. http://www.bikethedrive.org
What a great way to end a fabulous month. I hope to meet you, out and about in this wonderful city, soon.