Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

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By the time Labor Day rolls around, I’m usually pretty much streetfaired out. But, with the baby and with the way it’s been particularly hot this summer, we haven’t been to as many streetfairs. So, when my in-laws came to visit over the weekend and we had some relatively balmy weather on the forecast, we decided to head to a streetfair that was just down the street from our place.

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This streetfair’s theme was art, and there were a ton of artists exhibiting their works. A lot of them were local. Some of them were from further away. It was a good mix.

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But despite the art, this was still a streetfair. There were two music stages, beer, wine, and food. And, as has been the trend in street fairs, there was a kids area. Or, maybe it’s not a trend, but I’m just noticing that streetfairs have kids’ areas, now that I have a kid of my own. Either way, there was a puppet show at this one. The kids seemed to enjoy it. But my kid is 8 months old, so she didn’t get much out of it.

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We ended up looking at a lot of art. Whenever we go somewhere with my father-in-law that has art, it always takes a long time. Personally, I rarely find interest in art unless it is particularly large or on a monitor. Even then, my attention span is pretty short. I was more interested in the beer garden.

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In terms of food, it seemed like all the food vendors were hyper-local, as in they all came directly from the neighborhood, which I thought was nice. My father-in-law and I decided to get some Italian sausage from Clark Street Dog. I have never been to Clark Street Dog, but what they had on their grills smelled great.

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They asked my father-in-law what he wanted on his. They told him it comes with sweet and/or hot peppers. He wanted neither and instead asked for ketchup. They were nice about it and didn’t give him a hard time for ordering it wrong. I got mine with both kinds of peppers. I think it’s weird that, in Chicago, they call it hot peppers when usually, it’s gardiniera.

The sausages were good. Really nice char on the outside. Great fennel and pork flavor on the inside. I could have eaten five.

My wife and my mother-in-law decided to get chicken kabobs from Efes Cafe. Even though we live just blocks from it and walk by it all the time, we’ve actually never been at the restaurant. The kabobs came with rice, tomatoes and onions, and a pita. They each thought that it was ok. I think they would have liked it better if it was less messy. Why anyone would think rice of the non-sticky variety would be a good sell at a street fair is beyond me.

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Walking further north along the streefair, we walked into an impromptu garden. A landscaping company had come in and set up grassy knolls along the sides of Broadway, and it looked really nice. It was amazing that they could set it all up overnight, and I wish that they could actually just leave it there. I’m all for anything that makes it more annoying for people to drive their cars through my neighborhood.

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The landscaping company even set up a chess board and sandbox. Kids seemed to really like it. And it made the even just seem a little less street and a little more fair. It was nice. So long as it wouldn’t cause too much unnecessary crowd flow issues, I wouldn’t mind seeing this type of thing more often.

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After our walk through the landscaped area, I stopped for some pizza. Homemade Pizza only does take and bake pizza. But they had a booth. And man, was this pizza good. Super super cheesy. Crust was flavorful and not sweet. There was an easy hand with the sauce, and the veggies were very fresh.

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I really wish these guys would have gone to that pizzafest that we went to earlier this summer. These guys knew how to scale their operations for a streetfair. They cooked their pizzas ahead of time in a multi-pizza oven. And they served up slices from a pizza warmer. There was no wait. And the pizza was hot.

This streetfair was nice. I had a good time. It was a little on the quiet side, but as I get older and now that I have a kid, loud music and big crowds are less interesting to me. So, this streetfair was a little on the tame side, but perfect if you’re bringing a group of friends you like talking to.

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