Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A HUGE Midsommarfest Thank-you

Dear Andersonville community,
Thank you for supporting Midsommarfest 2012! After many consecutive years of partial rain, Midsommarfest enjoyed spectacular weather this year. Thanks to the bright sunshine, a first-time Friday night event, and the support of Andersonville businesses, residents, elected officials, and police, we had a nearly seamless festival. Midsommarfest 2012 had happy crowds, best-ever bands and vendors, and funds raised to support our beloved community.
Midsommarfest supports everything else that the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and Andersonville Development Corporation do year 'round on behalf of the business community. It only happens once a year, but it is a huge part of what makes Andersonville Andersonville (see below for a list of programs supported by Midsommarfest).

One of the most exciting outcomes of this year's Midsommarfest is that it allowed us to give back to the community as never before. Our new partnership with Andersonville schools donated a portion of the Chamber beer booths profit for each beer booth volunteer the school groups provided. Thanks to the sunshine and the thousands of people who patronized the Chamber beer booths, we will be donating a total of $16,000 to Peirce, Trumbull and St. Gregory's schools!
Midsommarfest 2012 also helped promote sales at our local businesses. Midsommarfest weekend is typically slow for many Andersonville retail and service businesses. This year, we offered a free beer at Midsommarfest with proof of purchase over $30. We gave away nearly 600 beers, representing over $50,000 in sales at our local businesses that weekend!
Midsommarfest would not be possible without the people and organizations listed below. We give them a heartfelt "Tack sa mycket!":

  • Local sponsors: Simon's Tavern, George's Ice Cream, Swedish Bakery, Hamburger Mary's, Alamo Shoes
  • Swedish American Museum, for their scheduling and support of Midsommarfest's Swedish cultural events
  • Elected officials: Alderman Harry Osterman, Alderman Patrick O'Connor, State Senator Heather Steans, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, State Representative Greg Harris
  • 20th District Police
  • Peirce School, Trumbull School and St. Gregory's High School, who together provided 444 volunteer hours at Midsommarfest!
  • Others who go the extra mile to make Midsommarfest happen: Holmquist Northern Insurance, Bridgeview Bank, North Side Federal Savings
On behalf of the businesses of Andersonville, thank you again!
Ellen Shepard
Executive Director
Programs partially or fully funded by Midsommarfest include:
Andersonville Farmers Market
Andersonville Arts Weekend
Andersonville Sidewalk Sale
Taste of Andersonville Dinner Crawl
Late & Later Night Andersonville
St. Lucia Festival of Lights
Andersonville Neighborhood Guide
Andersonville.org website
Andersonville Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, blog
Andersonville Monthly Email update
Business networking events
Business Over Breakfast workshops for business owners
Member to member discounts
One-on-one technical assistance to businesses
Advocacy for local business-friendly public policy
eco-Andersonville Sustainable Business Certification
eco-Andersonville Streetscape Recycling
eco-Andersonville bike corrals
Andersonville Green Week
Green Gift Wrapping Bash
Andersonville Honors
Market studies
Constituent surveys
Available property tracking & promotion
Business attraction and property owner engagement
Andersonville Historic District promotion
Andersonville Wine Walk
Andersonville Dessert Crawl

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Andersonville 3rd Annual Green Week

Green Week, a week long celebration of sustainable living, is just around the corner. Over thirty events, activities and demonstrations are schedule for the week of July 9th thru the 15th at various locations around Andersonville. Programs include kid-friendly activities, documentary film screenings and the return of the ever-popular "pop-up park" on Monday, July 9th to kick-off the week. This year, the ADC is also adding two new events: the Sustainability Fair and a Home Brew Contest.

The Green Week Sustainability Fair is an interactive way to engage with businesses, non-profits and other organizations who are leading the way on sustainable programs and products in Chicago. Learn about emerging models, check out the latest and greatest green products and pick-up some tips on how to make your life even more eco-friendly by visiting the Fair on Wednesday, July 11th from 2pm to 7pm at the Swedish American Museum.

And because nothing is more local than brewing beer in your own kitchen, eco-Andersonville will host the Green Week Home Brew Contest on Thursday, July 12th. Schedule from 6pm to 9pm at the Neo-futurist Theater, the Home Brew Contest is our first ever independent neighborhood home brew competition. Sponsored by Mightybytes and Brew Camp, home brewers compete for community votes to be named  "Best Brew". Attendees will be treated to home brew samples, food, live music and more. Tickets for the event are on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets for just $15 in advance!

COMING SOON: Check out the eco-Andersonville website for a pdf guide to all the activities and events happening during the week.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: The best $5 you ever spent

We hear it a lot this time of year: “I love Midsommarfest!” “I always make sure I’m in town that weekend.” “It’s my favorite festival of the whole summer!”

We all know there’s something special about Andersonville, and it seems to rub off on our yearly street bash. Like Andersonville, Midsommarfest is just about the most colorful, inclusive, vibrant blend you could imagine. Folks of every age, stripe, culture, demographic, and level of fabulousness join in a exuberant celebration of all that is Andersonville: from Swedish dancers to shirtless boys, from falafel to free family fun, from neighbors to ‘nother beer to support local schools. Add to that over 60 bands (lots more local music!), selections from some of our best local restaurants, talented artists and vendors of all types, and the best darn people watching this side of Wrigley Field, and you have what we think is the greatest party in town. We've even expanded the event to Friday night, and rewarded you with free beer for shopping local!

Midsommarfest is a world-class event, but it serves another function too. The funds raised at Midsommarfest support pretty much every other program that the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and Andersonville Development Corporation produce year-round on behalf of the local, small businesses that make our community great.

Here’s a partial list of what Midsommarfest funds, in part or in whole: 
  • Andersonville Farmers Market
  • Andersonville Arts Weekend
  • Andersonville Wine Walk
  • Andersonville Dessert Crawl
  • Andersonville Green Week and other eco-Andersonville programs
  • St Lucia Festival of Lights
  • Andersonville Sidewalk Sale
  • Late Night Andersonville
  • Advocacy with property owners about prioritizing their rentals to locally owned, independent businesses 
  • Recruitment of local businesses to help fill vacancies and maintain the unique character of our neighborhood
  • Assistance for existing and new businesses with city processes, advocacy, training, and a myriad of other kinds of support

Without funds raised at Midsommarfest, Andersonville would be a very different place.

Your $5 donation at the gate isn’t just payment for one day of fun; it’s also an investment in the Andersonville you love all year!

We are SO looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Midsommarfest is Friday, June 8 from 5-10PM; Saturday, June 9 & Sunday, June 10, 11AM–10PM. See the links above for information on events, bands, and more. Please stop by the Chamber booth at Clark and Berwyn and say hello!

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: Beer sales support local schools

If you were looking for a reason to grab another beer at one of our Andersonville Community Beer Booths (located at Catalpa, Balmoral, and Berwyn), look no further:

Each time you buy a beer at Midsommarfet, you can help support the schools in our neighborhood!  The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is donating a portion of our beer proceeds to 3 of our local schools: Peirce Elementary, Trumbull Elementary and St. Gregory the Great High School.

Each of these schools are providing volunteers (parents, staff, and other friends of the school) to staff the beer booths during the weekend.*

So, step right up to the beer booths at Catalpa, Balmoral & Berwyn, give your friendly beer booth volunteer a high-five and tell them you'll have another one for the kids!

*Just so you know, there is no child labor involved - what were you thinking?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: Complete vendor list

Midsommarfest is a juried festival, which means we put lots of time and effort into bringing you the highest-quality merchants, most talented artisans, and a wide array of non-profit organizations! Without further ado, we present the vendor line-up for Midsommarfest 2012:

Bryan Sperry
Carol Fletcher Photography
Chuck Meyers
Denise Riesen Photography
Gene Pembroke Photography
Lucius Art
Michelle Hierzer
Patrick J. Ward
PhotoAccents by StellaLily
Ron Gould Studios

Clothing, accessories & jewelry
Atira Jewelry
Bead of a Different Drum
Big Skinny Wallets
Bucky Gear
Earth Cadets
Fair Earth
Fish Face Goods
Footpath Trading
Fred Locher (handbags)
I Love T
iCandee Apparel
Imaginary Girl Jewelry
Indigenous Artworks
Kopi Cafe & Jalan Jalan Boutique
Koru Street
The L Stop
Limbo Jewelry Design
Metals Jewelry
Moda Boutique
Nomadic Ant
Obscure Belts
Rad Vintage
Recycled Creations
RedAvaDesigns & Madame Platypus
Transit Tees
ZZZ Threadz

For Kids
Red Balloon Company
Chicago Dye Works (tie-dye shirts)

For Pets
Bow Wow Lounge

Canine Social Club
Just for Dogs
Pet Portraiture

Home goods, decor & antiques
Alapash Terrariums
baan home
Brownstone Antiques
Clark's Antiques
Designs by Gina
Out of Africa
Nicolet Candle Company
The Sign Post
Stacy Raube & Yutaka Fujita (potholders and accessories) 

Works! (lamps & furniture made from appliances)

Just for Fun
A La Card Chicago
Brunkow Cheese
Capitol City Speed Demons (speed pitch)
Chi-Town-Best-Masks (lucha libre masks)
Drink Deck
Maria's Wish (soap, lotion, bath salts) 
Treat Your Body (bath & body products)
Surf Photo
Unreal Tattoos

Non-profit Booths

About Face Theatre
Bethany Retirement Home
Chi-Town Squares
Chicago Filmmakers
Chicago Rowing Union
Chicagoland Gay & Lesbian Chamber 
Children's Memorial Hospital
Ebenezer Lutheran
Famous Fido Rescue
First Free Church
Howard Brown/LCCP
Human Rights Campaign
I-Go Cars
Lakeside Pride
Lambda Legal
Lesbian & Gay Police Association
Log Cabin Republicans
Mercy For Animals
Heather Steans/Kelly Cassidy
One Tail At A Time
pH Productions
Shambhala Meditation Center
Tree House Humane Society
Urban Village Church
Windy City Performing Arts

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: Local food vendors

Midsommarfest has always been a place where you can enjoy a great selection of food from Andersonville's favorite restaurants: Calo's pizza, Andie's pitas and hummus, and Hamburger Mary's mini burgers and fried mac n' cheese. This year, we're stepping up our game to bring you even MORE local food vendors with a variety of delicious offerings. You'll want to spend the whole weekend sampling everything on the venue!

Here are some of the great local food vendors, with a taste of what they will be serving :
  • Andies Restaurant - Mediterranean and Greek food
  • Beat Kitchen - Pizza & empanadas
  • Calo Restaurant - several types of pizza
  • First Slice Pie Cafe - PIE!, flavored iced teas, and root beer floats
  • Hamburger Mary's - mini burgers, fried cheese curds, mac & cheese fritters, and fried pickles
  • Homemade Pizza Co. - pizza (but this time, you DON"T have to cook it yourself!)
  • Jerry's Sandwiches - Blackened chicken, white cheddar, and chipotle mango chutney sandwich
  • Jin Thai (winner of a Michelin Bib Gourmand award!) - Pad thai with chicken or tofu, crab rangoons
  • Noodle Zone - egg rolls, fried rice, and Asian food
  • Reza's Restaurant - hummus, falafel, eggplant steak, and Persian salad

Other food vendors:
  • Chris and Gary's - hot dogs, nachos, and other carnival food
  • Dumpling House - pierogies
  • El Campeon - pina colada,churros
  • Genoa Italian - Italian sausage, brats, corn dogs, mozzarella sticks
  • Georgie's Greek Tasty Food - gyros, Greek sausage, and kabobs
  • Lee Concessions - Grilled chicken kabobs, orange chicken, lemonade
  • Nicholas Quality Meats - kabobs, gyros, BBQ pork, lamb
  • Paciugo - gelato
  • The Strawberry Patch - chocolate-covered strawberries, and other chocolate-dipped delicacies
  • That's So Corny - roasted corn

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: Celebrating our Swedishness

Today we're talking about celebrating the reason Midsommarfest has such a funny spelling: Andersonville's Swedish heritage.

In Sweden, Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen (Midsommer's Eve and Midsummer's Day-usually celebrated on the Friday and Saturday between June 19 and June 26), is one of the most important holidays of the year. It celebrates the summer solstice with a maypole dance, traditional music, and (of course) lots of drinking (visit Wikipedia to learn more about how Swedes celebrate this holiday). 

To honor Andersonville's Swedish heritage (read more about it here), we keep the original Swedish spelling of Midsommarfest and feature Swedish performers on one of our stages to give you a feel for what a Swedish Midsommarfest is like.

We even kick things off with a traditional maypole dance that you can participate in!
Swedish Stage (Clark & Foster)
Sponsored by the Swedish American Museum 
11:45 AM   Traditional Maypole Dance
12:40 PM   Merula Swedish Choir
1:05 PM     Chicago Spelmanslag
1:25 PM     Nordic Folkdancers

12:00 PM   Nordland Band

Andersonville's cultural institution, the Swedish American Museum, is also open during Midsommarfest (11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday) and offering FREE admission the whole weekend! Check out their permanent exhibit about Swedish immigration to Chicago. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration, located on the third floor, which features interactive, hands-on exhibits where they can dress up and experience immigration firsthand.

The Swedish American Museum will also have a tent outside of the museum (near Clark and Foster) with FREE children's crafts (make your own paper Midsommar crown!) as well as Swedish goods on sale from the Museum's gift shop. Swedish food purveyors, and former neighborhood favorites, Wikstrom's Delicatessen will also be in the tent selling delicious Swedish imports.

With all of these activities going on at Midsommarfest, we can all be Swedish for the weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Things to love about Midsommarfest 2012: Family Fun Area

Everyone knows that Midsommarfest is a great place to have a cold beer and listen to great music, but there is also LOTS for families with kids to do during the day, thanks to the Family Fun Area, sponsored by Alamo Shoes. This year, the Family Fun Area will feature:
As always, ALL activities in the Family Fun Area are FREE! And, don't forget, admission to the festival for kids 12 and under is also FREE.

In addition to the Family Fun Area, the Summerdale Stage (at Clark and Summerdale) features a great line-up of entertainment that kids of all ages are sure to love!

12:00 PM   Pet Parade, sponsored by Ruff N' Stuff (stop by store to enter!)
1:00 PM     Bubbles Academy
2:00 PM     Dream Big Performing Arts
2:30 PM     Little Linguists Academy
4:00 PM     Gus Giordano Dance School
5:00 PM     The Revelettes - Chicago's grooviest go-go gals

Dream Tree Shakers
1:00 PM     Trowbridge Guitar Studio
2:00 PM     Toys Et Cetera Kids Talent Show (sign up at Toys Et Cetera!)
3:00 PM     Dream Big Performing Arts
3:30 PM     Design Dance
4:00 PM     The Old Town School of Folk Music presents: Dream Tree Shakers

AND, that's not all!
The Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration will also be offering FREE admission during Midsommarfest weekend (Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am-4:00pm), as well as children's activities in front of the museum during the day.

So, round up the kiddos, rev up the strollers, and ready the backpacks and sunscreen for 2 days of family fun at Midsommarfest!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Things to love about Midsommarfst 2012: Friday night

Just when you thought Midsommarfest couldn't get any bigger - we decided to open the festival a day early by having an Opening Night Celebration from 5-10pm on Friday, June 8! It will feature a special performance by 16 Candles (7:00pm), as well as some of your favorite food and arts & crafts vendors from the upcoming weekend - and, of course, cold beer and sangria. The celebration will be held on Clark Street from Balmoral to Catalpa.
We are asking a $5 suggested donation for the event, with proceeds going to the Andersonville Development Corporation.

While Midsommarfest has always supported the work the Chamber does for the Andersonville business district, for the first time we will partner with the Andersonville Development Corporation (ADC) to raise funds to support their ongoing sustainable community and economic development initiatives. This includes continuing to provide technical assistance, consumer surveying and outreach, business advocacy, retail attraction and retention and eco-Andersonville programming for the benefit of all Andersonville businesses and residents.  

Recently, ADC launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5600 to put in the first ‘parklet’* in Chicago on Clark Street in Andersonville.  The response was incredible and as of two days before the campaign’s end they had raised $6398. You should be seeing the results of their efforts along Clark Street by July! Also, check out Green Week, eco-Andersonville's week-long celebration of neighborhood sustainability, happening July 9-15.

So, start your Midsommarfest weekend early by coming out to have fun and support the exciting things happening in Andersonville!

*A parklet is a small urban park created by replacing on-street parking spaces with a patio, planters, trees, public seating & bicycle parking. Parklets provide a public place for people to escape the hectic pace and clutter of city sidewalks and streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the city around them.