North Side Summerfest, Hot Diggity-Dog!

By Sarah Tilotta | Monday, August 22, 2011

After the rain stopped, the crowds came out for North Side Summerfest. Credit: Sarah Tilotta.

Crowds came out for this year’s expanded North Side Summerfest over the weekend on Lincoln and Damen Aves. in Northcenter, as jets from the air and water show zoomed overhead.

Although rain showers kicked off the festival early Saturday afternoon, the skies soon cleared and live music performances on two stages played through Sunday evening. Cover-bands Sixteen Candles headlined Saturday night for a whopping two hour set, while Hairbangers Ball took the festival out with a head-bang on Sunday.

The hot-dog centric festival featured hot dog trivia posted on vendor tents, and culminated in an amateur hot dog-eating contest on Sunday afternoon. Of the fifteen contestants, four were members of the Thick-Headed Tour, a stand-up comedy group on a road trip through 18 cities. The winner, Taylor Butz, was among the comics, successfully stuffing 12 dogs down his gullet in just 8 minutes, with no “reversal of fortune” (a technical term, meaning he was able to keep it all down).

The contest was judged by Northcenter Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Garrett FitzGerald and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th). Pawar commented on the hot dog eating contest, “I hope to see this as an annual event. For a city known for hot dogs, to my knowledge this is the only hot dog-centered festival. Big props to Garrett [Fitzgerald] for organizing”.

Aside from hot dogs, corn grilled in the husk was a festival food favorite, as well as Guinness ice cream from Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. Vendors ranged from local man-store retailers Isle of Man and hand-crafted Mexican luchadore masks from Chitown’s Best Masksto a variety of art and crafts stalls. All in all, there was something for everyone at Summerfest, one of the last great street festivals of summer on Chicago’s North Side.


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