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A Festival of Festivals

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 9, 2005 7:29PM

This past week Chicagoist has been envying friends who work in air-conditioned comfort. Yes, summer’s finally here and that means: festivals! Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Blues Fest will take over Grant Park through Sunday. But if you’re looking for something a bit more low key this weekend, check these out:

The Merit School of Music comes to Pilsen’s Harrison Park this Sunday to present the Alegre StringTacular. All semester this South Loop school has provided classes for deserving kids from all over the city, and this is how those kids say thanks. Aside from youth performances, you’ll find karaoke, piñatas, and plenty of neighborhood delicacies. Galavision will be on hand, so if you’re lucky you might find yourself on “la television” singing along to your favorites.

If you spent your college days plotting the Great American Novel between raging keggers, the Neo Futurists have your back. At the Drinking and Writing Festival, you’re invited to “Write Till You Puke.” Fork over $15 (or $20 at the door) then participate in something called the “‘2 Drink Minimum’ Writing Contest” and hear about ancient brewing techniques. Enjoy a slate of entertainment featuring live music, belly dancing, and poetry along with excerpts from the troupe’s Drinking and Writing monologues. The fun gets underway Saturday afternoon at the Hopleaf in Andersonville at 2 and continues until 8, when everyone staggers over to the Neo-Futurarium for the winners of their radio play competition.

Do you like drinking but would rather look at pretty pictures? Head on over to the Wells Street Art Festival in the heart of Old Town for two days of agreeable artwork, outdoor stages. Since the neighborhood can’t get enough outdoor excitement, the Old Town Art Fair awaits you a couple blocks from Wells. If you’re more about the food, head on up to Ribfest in North Center for BBQ or to Andersonville’s Midsommarfest for Swedish meatballs and five stages of entertainment squeezed onto Clark Street.

But if none of those sound exciting enough, you can always go play with chalk.