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Chicago knows how to put on a fantastic festival…and plenty of them. Home to over 400 annual neighborhood festivals, the Windy City simply rocks when it comes to celebrating…just about anything.

You might be surprised to learn that while music festivals do take center stage in some of the top lineups, the list of events is as diverse as Chicago itself. You’ll find patriotic festivals, art festivals, holiday festivals, food festivals, alcoholic beverage festivals and even a shrimp festival (Bubba Gump approved).

Here’s a look at some super fun festivals going on in the area this spring:

Chicago Zine Fest

The Chicago Zine Fest will kick up May 5-6 from 11-6 at Plumbers Union Hall (1340 W Washington Blvd).

This one’s “write” up my alley, a celebration of independent publishers and the small press. The festivities include free workshops and readings and a host of guest speakers you don’t want to miss. Writers, illustrators, layout pros, comic book authors, and publishers are among the talented who will be sharing.

You’ll get to rub shoulders with local self-published and indie press authors and will have a chance to network a little yourself. Of course there’ll be plenty of zine and book swapping.

Activities include button making, creating some analog magnetic poetry at the portable letterpress and so much more.

CZE needs your help. They are asking for volunteers to spread the word about the event by tacking up posters and postcards around town and also to join the fun on Saturday the 6th to assist in making sure everything goes smoothly. To lend a hand, simply shoot an email to chicagozinefest@gmail.com and mention the word “volunteer”. As a token of their appreciation, you’ll get a free poster with artwork by Mike Centeno.

Lincoln Park Wine Festival

If you think life’s too short to drink bad wine, just wait until you get a taste of the Lincoln Park Wine Festival. Over 100 fine wines from all around the world will be up for sampling so you are sure to find one (or 100) that tickles your taste buds.

It’s all happening at Jonqil Park (1001 W. Wrightwood Ave) May 20 from noon to 4 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm.

Two full acres will become a wine-filled wonderland with music, food pavilions and lots and lots of wine. The fest will feature wine-food pairings, artists and sommeliers on hand to share their expertise.

If you want to indulge, you’ll need a ticket to get in and proof on hand that you are 21 or over. Tickets can be purchased at chicagoevents.com.

Tickets are limited so be sure to grab yours early. General admission runs $50 and VIP passes go for $75. Groups get discounts so you might want to round up some friends and make it a party.

Designated driver tickets are also available and only cost $20 and there are other arrangements that can be made for getting home safely too.

Chicago Beer Festival Classic

Celebrate some suds and such!

The fifth annual Chicago Beer Festival Classic will be brewing up some fun out at Soldiers Field on Saturday, May 6.

Sip on samples from one hundred breweries and chat with the brewers that make the magic happen. You’ll get a chance to cast your vote for the best brew too.

Expert brewers will be sharing their secrets about beer and the process of brewing it.

There will be plenty of munchies. You’ll even get a chance to create a custom edible pretzel necklace. If you’re feeling crafty, twist up a pretzel necklace at home and bring it with you to be judged in the contest.

As to be expected at such a fun festival, there will be games galore. Bocce and Hammerslaggen are a few of the activities to choose from.

New on the scene this year is the tailgating party. Get there early or stay late to grab a cold one, grab a snack or catch some brewery merchandise.

The beer fest is held in two sessions, from 11:30am-2:30pm and 4:30[m -7:30pm. General admission is $65. VIP is $85. Designated driver tickets are available. You must be 21 or over (with proof) to purchase tickets and to enter.

Grab your ticket at chicagobeerclassic.com but do it soon because prices go up on May 5. If you’re interested in being a sponsor, volunteer or vendor, you can get information on the site as well.

Memorial Day Parade

Save the date- May 27. Make your Memorial Day a truly memorable one when you join to honor the men and women who gave it all for our country’s freedom.

The event annual  begins with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at 11am at the Eternal Fame located on Dearborn and Washington Streets at Daley Plaza.

At noon, the parade will take off, marching south on State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren.

The Chicago Memorial Day Parade is one of the largest in the nation with roots dating back to 1870 and is an event you don’t want to miss.

Come enjoy the festivities and show some patriotic spirit while giving your respects at the same time.

Admission is free for all. Additional information can be found on the city’s website.

The Hook-Up

If you were worried you’d be bored this spring, hopefully now you see things in a whole new light. There are tons more festivals going on around the city the next few months and just wait until you catch some of the summer festival line-up. We’ll keep you posted so be sure to check back.

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