Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville Gears Up For Midsommarfest During Its 50th Anniversary


Get ready for music, a Maypole dance, international fare, artistic wares and more starting Friday at this year’s Andersonville Midsommarfest. The festival ends Sunday.

More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the annual event celebrating a neighborhood that was named 50 years ago.

“We’ve been working hard this year to make sure that Midsommarfest weekend is a celebration of the neighborhood’s heritage – from the first Swedish settlers, to the local business owners who decided on a name and identity for the business district, to the GLBT community who have enriched the area and created a welcoming culture of inclusion, to the families of all types that now call Andersonville home and the local businesses that keep it vibrant,” said Jessica Hammer, director of marketing for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. “We hope that anyone who comes to the festival can appreciate all aspects of the neighborhood.”

This year, Midsommarfest will take place along Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa avenues. The admission is a $10 suggested donation, and kids under age 12 and seniors get in free. Admission proceeds benefit the work of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. The fest begins at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, it begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m.

Gate volunteers are needed at this year’s festival to welcome guests and keep lines moving. Duties include stamping hands, passing out raffle tickets and flyers, and other possible duties as determined by the gate captain. Volunteers will receive an official Midsommarfest volunteer T-shirt and a free beer or soft drink at shift’s end. For more information, or to volunteer, visit http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0a48adac28a2fb6-midsommarfest2.

The Midsommarfest will have seven stages, though not every stage will host events on each day. The North Stage will be at Clark and Catalpa, the Party Like It’s 1965 Stage will be at Clark and Berwyn, and the South Stage will be at Clark and Foster. The FHD Stage will be at Clark and Balmoral. The Summerdale Stage will be at Clark and Summerdale. The Swedish Stage will be at Clark and Foster, and the Center Stage will be at Clark and Berwyn.

Friday’s kick-off will include performances by 16 Candles on the North Stage, Final Say on the Party Like It’s 1965 Stage, and ABBA Salute on the South Stage.

The Swedish American Museum will host a series of Swedish heritage events, including, on Saturday, the traditional Maypole dance at 11:45 a.m., the Swedish American Children’s Choir at 12:15 p.m., Nordic folkdancers at 12:40 p.m., the Chicago Swedish Male Chorus at 1:05 p.m., and the ABBA salute at 8 p.m. The Nordland Band will perform at noon on Sunday.

The Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration will offer free admission this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Family focused events will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. These include a climbing wall, a giant inflatable slide, face painting, a Chicago hula hoop demonstration (on Saturday only), and more.

Additionally, don’t miss Flashback 1965. This tribute to the history of the neighborhood will include more than 200 distinct images showcasing the businesses and people of Andersonville in 1965.

Fifty years ago, Andersonville was named by a group of local business owners who sought to bring new attention to the commercial district by renewing their commitment to the area’s Swedish heritage, the local Chamber of Commerce said. The name came from the Andersonville School, one of the neighborhood’s early institutions. It stood at the southwest corner of Clark and Foster.

While the neighborhood has changed since then, it remains commercially vibrant. Almost all of Andersonville’s commercial district, in fact, is comprised of locally owned, independent businesses whose owners live in or near the community, the local Chamber of Commerce said. Some of those businesses, like Simon’s Tavern, Svea, and the Swedish Bakery, are still Swedish-owned.

The historic images were provided by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago History Museum, the Edgewater Historical Society, business owners and residents in the neighborhood. A coalition of local business owners and residents collaborated with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to create the campaign. Special thanks goes to Women and Children First Bookstore, Painted Light Photography and Framing Gallery, and Room Service. Flashback 1965 is one of many celebrations taking place this year in celebration of Andersonville’s 50th anniversary.

“It’s a nice way of honoring what was then while enjoying what is now,” Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward, said.

He added that the Midsommarfest provides community members with a wonderful opportunity to support local businesses. It’s also a good way to come together to celebrate Andersonville’s rich diversity and unique history.

“Midsommarfest continues to play an important role in Andersonville, both as a celebration of the neighborhood and also because the funds raised at Midsommarfest support the year-round work of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and Andersonville Development Corp.,” Hammer said.

“Without Midsommarfest, we would not have been able to start the Andersonville Farmers Market (now going strong it its 7th season); create and market fun events like Andersonville Arts Weekend, the Summer Sidewalk Sale, our food and drink crawls, and a whole slew of holiday events; or develop cutting-edge programs like community composting, public art projects, numerous studies on the importance of local businesses, and public space initiatives like People Spots — just to name a few.”

For more information about the Midsommarfest, visit www.andersonville.org. Midsommarfest is produced by Star Events, a Chicago-based company.

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