Chicago, IL

Good News Chicago! Summer Events Are Back (Hopefully) for 2021

Jennifer Geer

There are no guarantees and no permits issued yet, but we have reason to hope

Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash

It was a bleak summer that turned into an even more somber winter, but there are signs of hope that we are emerging from our pandemic lifestyle.

We're not out of the woods yet. We still need to practice social distancing and wear masks. But, we're in a much better place than we were a year ago. It was last summer that all large-scale events in Chicago and other cities were canceled.

Today, two million Americans are getting vaccinated daily. And we understand the virus much better than we did last year. We know it's easier to control the spread in outdoor areas.

All of this leads to the hope that 2021 will be a better year. Chicago city officials hope so too. Thanks to the $1.8 billion headed to the city from the federal relief funds, Chicago will have the resources to hold major events like the Taste of Chicago and the Air and Water Show.

With the drop in hotel revenue and tourism, without the federal relief, there would have been no funding for these events.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters, “I feel very optimistic about summer activities and gatherings this summer. ... I believe that the summer of 2021 is gonna look more like 2019 and less like 2020.”

What do we know so far?

Image by Charlottees from Pixabay

Both St. Patrick's Day Parades are off again this year. The city parade says it will be virtual, the South Side parade is off, and the river dyeing event is canceled. No bright green river this year.

Baseball is back! Fans can attend ball games live at Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate fields at 20% capacity.

Lollapalooza might be on this year. It was a virtual event last year, but organizers are hinting there may be in-person performances. Although exactly what that will look like is still unknown. It won't be anything like the packed crowd of concertgoers of the past.

Planning for the Chicago Marathon is underway. Like everything else, the marathon is not guaranteed to happen, but event organizers are working on planning a race that follows Covid safety guidelines for the fall.

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council committee announced they have authorized a full calendar of special events including:

  • The Air and Water Show
  • Taste of Chicago
  • Chicago Blues Festival
  • Chicago Gospel Music Festival
  • Chicago Jazz Festival

Organizers of 18 special events around the city have applied for permits. No permits are granted yet and won't be until March 31st or later. There is no guarantee, but CBS 2 obtained a full list of these special event permit applications.

Here is the complete list:

  • Bike the Drive 2021
  • The Second City Triathlon
  • Chicago Spring Half Marathon
  • Stars and Stripes 5K Run
  • Turkey Trot Chicago 5K/8K
  • Chicago Triathlon
  • Hope Walk
  • Chicago Bike Week Rally 2021
  • Taste of River North
  • SerbFest Chicago
  • Fall Fest
  • Printers Row Lit Fest
  • Old Town Art Fair
  • Millennium Art Festival
  • Good Company concert series
  • Chicago Auto Show outdoor ride
  • Printer’s Row Art Festival
  • Artfest Michigan Avenue

Without the incoming federal relief funds, it's doubtful any of this would have been possible. Hotel revenue helps to pay for these large-scale events. With the ongoing raging pandemic, the hospitality industry has been devastated.

Nothing is certain and if Covid cases begin to head back up, all bets are off. And whatever events we do get, crowds are likely to be limited and masks most certainly will be required. Still, there is reason to feel cautiously optimistic that we may be getting a little slice of normalcy back in our lives very soon.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

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