This Weekend: Retro On Roscoe’s Sheer Size

By Mike Fourcher | Thursday, August 4, 2011

Retro On Roscoe boasts a better-than-most kids play area. This is from last year's RoR. Credit: Mike Fourcher

For many Chicagoans, Retro On Roscoe is how they first learn about Roscoe Village. One of the city’s largest street festivals, this weekend RoR will stretch from Damen to Clarendon on Roscoe St., have three performance stages, a cornhole tournament, antique car show, dozens of booths and games, hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of attendees. The two-day extravaganza, hosted by the Roscoe Village Neighbors Association and managed by Star Events, runs from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and will confirm for many Chicagoans that Roscoe Village is a fun place to be.

While most street festivals hang their hats on bands and food offerings, RoR’s strength is on the carnival midway-like atmosphere created by the six blocks-long assembly of games, vendors and activities during the day. For instance, RoR’s does the kids play area better than most with a ferris wheel and a petting zoo, the antique car line up this year promises at least 50 vehicles, while Sunday brings a cornhole tournament with cash prizes. Taken individually the activities may not seem like much, but the sheer number of RoR’s offerings are what makes it special.

And in that vein, RoR goes all out with an explosion of cover bands and street fest rock. While Ribfest draws the indy bands and this year’s Burgerfest had Foghat and the Smithereens, RoR fills three stages with kids rock and performers like Mary Macaroni in the afternoon and expert cover bands like Too White Crew and 16 Candles in the evening. With set lists that draw heavily from the 80′s, the music offerings aren’t meant to attract twenty-something, Blue Line hipsters, but their parents and the thirty-somethings just starting families in Roscoe Village.

You can find a complete band and entertainment listing on Retro on Roscoe’s website here.

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