It’s the first weekend since forever that the city’s meteorologists/fear mongers aren’t forecasting temperatures as hot as Hades, which means it’s safe to venture outside your air-conditioned bubble and mosey on over to Retro on Roscoe, Aug. 11 -12.
Despite its billing as Chicago’s third-largest street fest, Retro hasn’t quite outgrown the feel of a block party — albeit one with three music stages. The real appeal is still the chance to catch up with neighbors, grab a few drinks and ship the tots off to Kiddie Land.
Originally the “retro” in the fest’s title referred to the antique dealers who set up booths along Roscoe. “Little by little we lost them,” says Colleen Flood, co-owner of Four Treys Tavern (3333 N. Damen Ave.) and organizer of Retro’s annual Antique & Classic Car and Motorcycle Show. She’s lined up 25-30 vehicles each day, including a Franken-car that has us intrigued. A group of students will be displaying the Vandillac: part Cadillac, part van, part Chevy.
A number of Four Treys patrons exhibit at the show, as does Flood’s husband, who’s entering a restored 1928 Model T, though the majority of the cars hail from the ’50s and ’60s. “For most of these guys, these were the cars they had in high school or wanted to have in high school,” she says. Can’t say that bodes well for Retro in about 40 years — it’s hard to picture a “classic” auto show featuring a row of Camrys and Civics.
Flood, who’s operated Four Treys for nearly 45 years, has seen the neighborhood “at its best, its worst and now its best again.” The influx of young families has not only revitalized Roscoe Village but it’s also changed the community’s signature festival.
The Kids Area doubled in size last year and continues to grow. This year, organizers have added fencing around the area to make it more secure for the kids and more relaxing for adults. A *wink* beverage station *wink* has also been situated immediately adjacent to the Kids Area. On the Go Chicago will be on site again with a diaper changing/family aid station. Supplies include all the things you forgot to schlep with your stroller: sunscreen, band-aids, wipes and more.
The wipes will come in handy during the Second Annual Scooter’s Frozen Custard eating contest set for Sunday, 3 p.m., in the Kids Area. Round 1 is for children ages five and under; Round 2 for kids ages 6-10; Round 3 (and possibly 4) is a free for all, adults included. Paramedics will be on hand to treat brain freeze.
Over the past six years, Roscoe Village Neighbors, the fest’s sponsor, has pumped proceeds from Retro back into the community to the tune of $360,000. Local schools and libraries were the primary beneficiaries, netting more than $200,000.
Retro on Roscoe takes place Aug. 11-12, noon to 10 p.m. both days; 2000 – 2300 W. Roscoe. Kids Area, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11-12, noon – 6 p.m., Roscoe and Hoyne. The Antique & Classic Car and Motorcycle Show is scheduled for 1 – 6 p.m., Aug. 11-12 at Roscoe and Leavitt.