Chicago releases its 2018 Special Events Schedule

Chicago releases its 2018 Special Events Schedule

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Chicago releases its 2018 Special Events Schedule

Year of Creative Youth
January–December 2018
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have designated 2018 as the “Year of Creative Youth.” The $2 million investment by the City of Chicago will include a Creative Youth Festival across the Millennium Park Campus, performance opportunities for teens at city festivals and partner events, cultural grants and convenings for youth arts organizations and a marketing campaign among other events.
Citywide
Creative Youth Festival
September 22, 2018
As part of the “Year of Creative Youth,” Chicago’s first Creative Youth Festival will showcase youth artists in dance, theatre, music, spoken word, the visual arts and more. Through performances and activities, all ages will discover and celebrate the creativity and talent of emerging local artists – and those helping to inspire and unlock every child’s creative potential.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
LAKEFRONT FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
20th Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
May 5, 2018
Up, up and away. Kids of all ages will get swept up by this timeless spring tradition. Free kite kits are provided for children to build, decorate and fly (while supplies last) along with other family activities such as professional kite flying demonstrations, face painting, balloon artists and the Big Kite Candy Drop (weather permitting).
Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park (Lake Shore Dr. and Montrose Dr.)
Taste of Chicago food tent, 2006. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Taste of Chicago food tent, 2006. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Chicago Memorial Day Parade
May 26, 2018
The City of Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.
State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren St.
3rd Annual Chicago House Party
May 26, 2018
DJs and live performances showcase the various sounds and styles of house music, the musical form born in Chicago that has gone on to revolutionize dance music internationally.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
33rd Chicago Gospel Music Festival
June 1–2, 2018
Celebrating the great influence of the music genre born in this city 80 years ago, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival features local and national artists from traditional choirs to contemporary urban styles at the largest free, outdoor gospel music festival of its kind.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
35th Annual Chicago Blues Festival
June 8–10, 2018
With a diverse lineup celebrating the Chicago Blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival features the live music performances of over 100 national, international and local artists celebrating the city’s rich Blues tradition while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock hip-hop, rap and more.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
Millennium Park Summer Music & Film Series
June–August, 2018
Grab a seat in the pavilion or bring a picnic for the Great Lawn and enjoy the free outdoor movies and concerts at Chicago’s architectural gem, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph St.)
22nd Annual Chicago SummerDance
Thursdays–Sundays, June 28–August 25, 2018
Swing, waltz, cha-cha…or simply enjoy the music at the largest outdoor social dancing series in the United States. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory, one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing in Grant Park and other Chicago Park District locations. The series culminates at the SummerDance Celebration highlighting the city’s diverse dance community in Millennium Park on Saturday, August 25, 2018.
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden (601 S. Michigan Ave.) and other Chicago Park District locations
38th Annual Taste of Chicago
July 11–15, 2018
A cultural experience for all your senses, Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier free outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining scene, alongside a smorgasbord of cooking demonstrations, music concerts, dance performances, art activations, family activities and more.
Grant Park (Jackson St. & Columbus Dr.)
60th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show
Presented by Shell Oil Products US
August 18–19, 2018
Featuring military and civilian flight aerobatics, historic aircraft, simulated water rescues and parachute teams, the Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the largest and longest-running free admission events of its kind.
North Avenue Beach (1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.)
40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival
August 30–September 2, 2018
A favorite Labor Day weekend tradition, the world class Chicago Jazz Festival showcases four stages of live performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international jazz legends and artists. The festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago
September 7–23, 2018
Enjoy global grooves by award-winning artists from around the world at the city-wide, multi-venue World Music Festival Chicago featuring 50 artists and ensembles representing over 20 countries and regions of the world.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.), Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and other citywide locations
Creative Youth Festival
September 22, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
105th Annual Christmas Tree and Holiday Celebrations
November–December 2018
Celebrate the holiday season at the official Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting, sing holiday favorites at Caroling at Cloud Gate on Friday evenings and glide across the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
FAMILY EVENTS
Year of Creative Youth
January–December 2018
See information above.
Citywide
Juicebox
1st & 3rd Fridays (Chicago Cultural Center) and 1st & 3rd Saturdays (Garfield Park Conservatory), 11 a.m.
Winter, Spring & Fall
With engaging music and dance performances in a kid-friendly setting, the free Juicebox programs are geared for the stroller set, but enjoyable for the whole family.
Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.), Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.) and occasional special events
20th Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
May 5, 2018
See information above.
Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park (Lake Shore Dr. and Montrose Dr.)
Chicago Riverwalk Summer Programming
Late May–October, 2018
From daytime fishing to evening fireworks, the Chicago Riverwalk offers a full slate of free summer fun along the 1.25-mile active waterfront environment and cultural destination in the heart of the city. The Chicago Riverwalk is presented by the City of Chicago with programming produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management, Choose Chicago, the Chicago Park District and the vendors and boat tour operators along the Chicago Riverwalk.
Chicago Riverwalk, Lake Shore Dr. to Lake St.
38th Annual Taste of Chicago
July 11–15, 2018
See information above.
Grant Park (Jackson St. & Columbus Dr.)
Creative Youth Festival
September 22, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
105th Annual Christmas Tree and Holiday Celebrations
November–December 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
Dance-Along Nutcracker®
December 2, 2018
Sugar plum fairies and mouse kings of all ages and abilities are invited to point their toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. The Dance-Along Nutcracker, created in 1985, is the property of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the world’s first openly gay musical organization.
Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
EXHIBITIONS AND VISUAL ARTS
Year of Creative Youth
January–December 2018
See information above.
Citywide
Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush
February 10–May 6, 2018
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Nina Chanel Abney emerged as a major force in contemporary art in the early 2000s. Inspired by twentieth century masters such as Matisse, Stuart Davis and Romare Bearden, Abney takes on recent issues of racial politics with startling directness. Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush is organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Keith Haring’s Murals for the Chicago Public Schools
March 3–September 23, 2018
Having rocketed to worldwide fame in the 1980s, graffiti artist Keith Haring worked with 500 Chicago Public School students to paint murals in Chicago’s Grant Park in 1989.  This is the first exhibition of many of these works by the artist known for his incisive draftmanship and unsettling cast of symbolic characters (atomic baby, barking dog). Haring died tragically of HIV-AIDS in 1990.
Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery (78 E. Washington St.)
Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle
June 2–October 1, 2018
This multi-faceted project explores the past, present and future of North America’s Great Lakes – one of the world’s most emblematic and ecologically significant ecosytems.  Painted in Rockman’s signature, meticulous but visionary hyper-realist style, the works in the exhibition are anchored by five mural-sized (72” x 144”) oil paintings, each exploring a theme that emerged during Rockman’s field research and engagement with lake experts. Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle is organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Chicago Cultural Center, Exhibit Hall (78 E. Washington St.)
African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race
October 27, 2018–March 3, 2019
Featuring work from a wide range of practices including cartooning, sign painting, architectural signage, illustration, graphic design, exhibit design and product design, this exhibition is the first to demonstrate how African American designers remade the image of the black consumer and the work of the black artist in this major hub of American advertising/consumer culture. African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race is funded in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, as part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy.
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms (78 E. Washington St.)
FILMS
Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Tuesdays, June–August, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph St.)
MUSIC
3rd Annual Chicago House Party
May 26, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
33rd Chicago Gospel Music Festival
June 1–2, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
35th Annual Chicago Blues Festival
June 8–10, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Select Mondays & Thursdays, June–August, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph St.)
22nd Annual Chicago SummerDance
Thursdays–Sundays, June 28–August 25, 2018
See information above.
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden (601 S. Michigan Ave.) and other Chicago Park District locations
38th Annual Taste of Chicago
July 11–15, 2018
See information above.
Grant Park (Jackson St. & Columbus Dr.)
40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival
August 30–September 2, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.)
20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago
September 7–23, 2018
See information above.
Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.), Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and other citywide locations
Caroling at Cloud Gate
Fridays, November 23–December 14, 2018
Bundle up and belt out some holiday classics as local choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song at these festive part concerts, part sing-alongs.
Millennium Park, Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” (201 E. Randolph St.)
THEATER, DANCE AND PERFORMANCE
OnEdge
January 12–February 11, 2018
The OnEdge performance series spotlights experimental dance, theater and genre-defying performances from Erica Mott, Rosy Simas, Project Tool and Temporary Distortion.
Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.), Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) and other citywide locations
22nd Annual Chicago SummerDance
Thursdays–Sundays, June 28–August 25, 2018
See information above.
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden (601 S. Michigan Ave.) and other Chicago Park District locations
 RECREATION
Millennium Park Summer Workouts
June –August, 2018
Jump start your day with tai chi, yoga, Pilates and Zumba® classes on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn. Grant support provided by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Millennium Park, Great Lawn (201 E. Randolph St.)
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Mid-November 2018–Mid-March 2019
Swish, twirl and glide at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a Chicago winter tradition for over a decade that draws over 100,000 skaters annually. Skating is free, with skate rentals available for a fee. Free skating lessons are offered throughout the season. Grant support provided by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Millennium Park (Michigan Ave. between Washington St. and Madison St.)
MARKETS
Chicago City Markets
May–October, 2018
Daley Plaza Farmers Market opens May 10, 2018
Across Chicago at locations downtown and throughout the city’s neighborhoods, the markets managed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) sell fresh fruits, vegetables plants and flowers. Some neighborhood markets also feature music programming, prepared foods and local artisan (non-food) vendors.
Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) and citywide locations
Maxwell Street Market
Sundays, Year Round
A Chicago tradition of bargains and bargaining with an international flavor, the Maxwell Street Market offers an eclectic mix of merchandise – from tools to tires, plus fresh produce, furniture, clothing, rare find and collectibles – plus some of the best Mexican and Latin street food in the city.
800 S. Desplaines St.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For information about programs presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, like us on Facebook (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@ChicagoDCASE)
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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906

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