The term family-friendly festival is usually
associated with things like pony rides and face painting. And while
there is certainly nothing wrong with those kiddie faves, the
Chicago area is home to many fall markets and festivals that may
not necessarily frame themselves as family festivals but have a lot
to offer kids nonetheless.
Randolph Street Market
What: European-style, indoor-outdoor urban
When: Sept. 29-30 (indoors and outdoors); Oct. 20-21
(indoors only); Nov. 17-18 (indoors only/holiday market). 10
a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington St.
Cost: $10 at the gate, $8 in advance; free kids under 12.
Family-friendly highlights: It offers live
music, fun food and treasure maps to encourage kids to explore the
market. Sally Schwartz, founder and executive producer of the
Randolph Street Market, notes, "We have a wealth of history lessons
here and it is a great way to get parents talking about their
childhoods through artifacts found." Be sure to leave enough time
for the popular balloon artists and chalk art.
Tips for making the most of your visit: "Be
sure to explore both the inside and outside of the building," says
What: Year-round, monthly market featuring
fashion and food vendors.
When: Oct. 14, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9
Where: River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St.
Cost: $10 at the door,$8 in advance, free kids 12 and under.
Family-friendly highlights: "We set up a cafe
along the river walk where parents can grab a seat and get everyone
fed with the best food around. We generally feature at least one
Doser who is making kids' products-either clothes, toys or
educational tools, and lots of fun food vendors to pick up great
pantry items for snacks. And our lounge has color-on tables that
have been a total hit with the kids," says founder April
Tips for making the most of your visit: Take
advantage of the different monthly art-making stations for kids and
grab a photo in the "smilebooth." "Getting there at 10 a.m. is a
good strategy for making the most of the day," Francis
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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