August already? This weekend's fests—Ginza Festival, Northalsted Market Days, Bud Billiken Parade and more—signify the height of fest season for me. The weather's warm and humid, Lollapalooza is in the rearview mirror and college students will be heading back to school before the end of the month. Whoa. If you've been slacking on your fest attendance, you don't have months and months ahead. It's time to send that group text and get out there. Here are the six fests to plan for this weekend. | @redeyeeatdrink


Each week, we're offering up a mini challenge to help you make the most of the fest line-up, then asking you to photograph it and to tag #GetFested on Instagram. Last week, we asked to see your best Lolla outfit, and we love this shot from @mercedes_zapata, who didn't let a little mud ruin her first Lollapalooza. This weekend, show us something delicious you're eating at a fest, and don't forget the hashtag.


Ginza Festival

When: 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Menomonee St.

How much: $7 suggested donation

Don't miss: Part music, part food and part crafts, this annual celebration of Japanese culture returns to Old Town for a 59th year. Plan your visit to the fest around mealtime—once you smell the teriyaki chicken and corn on the grill, you'll want to stick around. After you've polished off your sushi, bowl of cold udon noodles or Japanese beer, browse the impressive crafts and artwork from Japanese artisans including four master waza (craftsmen). The musical headliner this year is Yoko Nage and her band, Japanesque, who blend folk music with blues vocals (8 p.m. Saturday; $12 admission required after 7 p.m. Saturday).

Northalsted Market Days

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Halsted Street between Belmont Avenue and Addison Street

How much: $10 suggested donation

Don't miss: One of the largest two-day street festivals in the Midwest (organizers expect more than 150,000 attendees), this gay- and lesbian-friendly Lakeview institution returns with four stages of music plus nearly 300 food, beverage and arts vendors. Highlights this year include performances from Neon Trees (5 p.m. Sunday), Karmin (8 p.m. Sunday) and Belinda Carlisle (8:45 p.m. Saturday).

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Clark Street at LaSalle Street

How much: Free to attend

Don't miss: This city takes its hot dogs seriously—just ask anyone who's ever made the mistake of requesting ketchup at a Chicago stand. So it's not a huge surprise that the Chicago History Museum has brought its fest back for a second year and expanded it to two days with a line-up of eight vendors—including Hutch, Si Fu Chino Latino and Wishbone—putting their own spins on Ball Park franks. $20 buys 26 tickets, which is enough to buy two waters or sodas and five hot dog samplers. Goose Island beer also will be available for purchase; buy food and drink tickets in advance online ( to save 25 percent.

Retro on Roscoe

When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: 2000 W. Roscoe St.

How much: $10 suggested donation

Don't miss: Fans of all things rockabilly and vintage can't miss this 19th annual festival, which spans six blocks and three stages. Look for more than 50 spiffy cars and bikes at the Antique and Classic Car and Motorcycle Show outside The Four Treys Bar (3333 N. Damen Ave.), then stick around for plenty of cover bands, food and vendors throughout the weekend.

Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic

When: Parade steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Parade begins at the corner of King Drive and Oakwood Boulevard, continuing south to 51st Street where it winds through Washington Park via Ellsworth Drive to Garfield Boulevard

How much: Free to attend

Don't miss: The annual back-to-school parade celebrating African-American youth is one of the country's largest parades, and is expected to again draw more than a million attendees for its 85th year. Floats, marchers, drill teams, musicians, dancers and community leaders will march in the parade, which culminates in picnics and other celebrations in Washington Park throughout the afternoon and evening.

Slow & Low: Community Low Rider Festival

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: 600 W. Cermak Road

How much: $5 admission

Don't miss: Lowrider culture is on display in Pilsen at this fourth annual festival, where you can check out more than 200 tricked-out cars and bikes and meet the muralists, detailers and pin stripers who created them. Snack on tacos, tamales, vegetarian specials and desserts, sip alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and vote for your favorite car or bike.


See RedEye's full summer fest schedule at