The season of getting back to books doesn’t mean that we’ve capped off the summer of creativity! Here are three easy (and fun!) ways to ensure that the arts will be celebrated into September—and beyond.
When: Aug. 30-Sept. 3
Where: Jefferson Park, Chicago (multiple locations)
Fringe festivals, generally speaking, are theatrical carnivals of the new, the original and the “you’re not gonna see this anywhere else.” (And for a city like Chicago, that’s saying quite a bit.) Since 2010, the Chicago Fringe Festival has brought all of this and more, from puppetry to spoken word and rule-bending theater. And guess what? They love your kids, too.
In addition to the dozens of shows for the bigger crowd, the festival provides top-notch performances, plus free games and workshops for the tinies, with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to the performers themselves. In previous years, masks were donned, birdhouses were crafted, and Punch & Judy not-so-gently upended the notion of gentle theater. This year? Anything can happen. (Lucky you.)
When: Sept. 29-30
Where: 1130 Midway Plaisance, Chicago (multiple locations)
Few musical mediums celebrate creativity like jazz. Since 2007, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival has been bringing the best performers from Chicago, the nation and across the globe to the South Side for the annual celebration of jazz. With three dozen performances and programs on 13 stages, it’s one of the city’s largest and easily most anticipated festivals of its kind.
Besides providing a wealth of diversity in musicians, venues and artisan vendors, this free two-day festival gives directly back to its community by creating sustainable support systems for the legacy of jazz as well as for its future. But what if your kid thinks “Take Five” is a time-out anthem? Not to worry: the Jazz Festival’s family-friendly programming will provide a welcomed primer.
When: Sept. 22, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: Millennium Park campus, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago
A further celebration of The Year of Creative Youth—Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ hat tip to young Chicago artists and their tireless mentors—is the city’s Creative Youth Festival, the first of its kind. Performances and art exhibitions from citywide youth groups will be showcased from the stages of Millennium Park over to Maggie Daley Park, with activities for all ages and stages.
Bringing along an art-lover or two? Interactive mural painting and multimedia demonstrations will tickle them pink, while the extroverts among you will thrill for the open mic with DJs. Warm up those applauding hands for Teens in the Park’s annual T.I.P. Fest youth audition winners…and keep them warm for the headlining concert closing out the evening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.