Things to know about this year’s Midsommarfest (hint, free beer!)
So you’ve been to Midsommarfest countless times. You’re a veteran. You know which music acts you want to see, and what time and stage they are playing and where the best vantage point is to see the lead singer. You know the best spot to get beer with the shortest line. But do you know how to score FREE beer at Midsommarfest? Didn’t think so. Now that we have your attention, we thought it would be wise to point out a few new things and fun facts about this year’s Midsommarfest.
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce puts countless hours of work into each year’s festival to make it a success for both residents, visitors and local businesses alike. This year, however, they’ve made a few thoughtful tweaks and changes in an effort to make the event even more successful than years past. Each year Midsommarfest is the Chamber’s largest revenue source, however they face stiff competition for attendence on the second weekend in June from the likes of the Old Town Art Fair, Ribfest, the Chicago Blues Festival and Printer’s Row Lit Fest. Your $5 donation at the gates and a portion of beer sales from the Chamber booth benefit the Chamber of Commerce, which in turn helps support and strengthen the uniqueness and vitality of the Andersonville business community. In fact, Midsommarfest’s $5 suggested donation remains one of the lowest in the City, despite others raising to $10 or even more (so don’t try to dodge the $5 suggested donation, cheapo). In addition, beer sales from certain stands benefit local schools (Peirce, Trumball and St Gregory) so there is even more reason to come out to Midsommarfest and have some brews, as if you needed one.
So the entry fee hasn’t changed, good, and your journey to a cool buzz under the sun helps the kids, good, but what has changed? The biggest change by far this year is the addition of Friday evening. Midsommarfest has traditionally been a Saturday/Sunday event only, however this year the festivities kick off on Friday evening from 5pm – 10pm with crowd favorite 16 Candles headlining. The festival itself on Friday will be smaller scale, stretching from Balmoral and Catalpa Avenues on Clark Street with only one music stage compared to six stages from Foster to Catalpa on Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s events will benefit the Andersonville Development Corporation and their eco-Andersonville efforts. eco-Andersonville has been instrumental in such initiatives as creating a sustainable business certification program and bringing a “parklet” to Clark Street.
Other changes include mixing up the music lineups a bit from previous years (click here for the complete list) and adding the “Out Rock Stage” which is sponsored by Gay Chicago TV and Hamburger Mary’s. Toys Et Cetera will also be hosting the first ever Children’s Talent Show as part of the Family Fun Area sponsored by Alamo Shoes. Have no fear, other favorite events such as the Pet Parade and Mary ‘Oke remain. So what about this free beer we keep mentioning? This year, as an added incentive for festival-goes to shop at local independent businesses, if you spend $30 at any locally-owned Andersonville retail location or service provider during Midsommarfest weekend (June 8, 9, & 10), bring your receipt to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce booth and get a coupon for a FREE BEER during the festival. You may not realize it, but despite drawing over 50,000 people Midsommarfest weekend typically tends to be extremely slow for those businesses that are not bars and restaurants. Come on now, when was the last time you stopped and bought housewares, furniture or got your hair done prior to dancing the night away at one of the stages?
So all in all you can see that while Midsommarfest is a big event that suddenly has gotten a little bit bigger, your patronization of the festival goes a long way to support local businesses, the Chamber, eco-friendly initiatives and even local schools. We’ll see you on the streets!
(For even more tips and updates about Midsommarfest, check out the Chamber’s blog)