PPM's Top Five August Fests

August is here, and some may say the hottest time of year in Chicago, both in weather and in things to do and see throughout the city. It also has some of the most spectacular public shows you and the entire family can set out to see and enjoy. Fests galore, concerts that pop, and shows that capture the imagination are what Chicago summers are all about. So, whether you’re a resident up in Lakeview, hanging out in Lincoln Park, enjoying the Gold Coast, or partying it up in River North, there is sure to be some part of August you won’t want to miss.

With all this talk about August, what can we expect to see? Well, we broke it down to PPM’s top 5 things to do this August in Chicago. But first we do have some recommendations. Of course, you can choose as you please, though we do think a few simple steps will ensure a more enjoyable day. Tip one, wear and bring extra sun lotion. August can be brutal, and so can the sun, so make sure you're protected. Also bring cash. Most festivals don’t have access to a credit card machine and therefore you won’t be able to eat or make purchases. Finally, time. Give yourself time to travel to each spot. Get there early for specific attractions, as seating can be crazy. But remember to enjoy your experience, have fun, and drink responsibly. Let’s get to it!

Ginza Holiday

(August 7 – 9) Four master craftsman from Tokyo will arrive in Old Town to demonstrate their generations-old skills creating crafts at this Japanese cultural festival. Cultural exhibits will be displayed, and taiko drumming, classical dances, and martial arts demonstrations will be performed. Traditional Japanese food and beer will also be available. Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Meamonee St. | Fri 5:30 – 9p.m., Sat 11:30a.m. – 9p.m./ Sun 11:30a.m. – 6p.m. | $7, $6 students and seniors, free kids under 12 with paid adult; Sat $12 adults after 7 p.m. for the Yoko Noge concert; $15 three-day pass; donation benefits the Midwest Buddhist Temple |

Wrigleyville Summerfest

(August 8 – 9) Enjoy a triple play of great food, music, and family fun throughout the confines of Wrigleyville. For minor leaguers, there’s a Kids’ Zone, complete with a moon bounce. Seminary Ave. & School St. | Sat noon – 10p.m., Sun 11a.m. – 9p.m. | $5; donation benefits local charities |

Northalsted Market Days

(August 8 – 9) With more than 300,000 revelers, Northalsted Market Days is the Midwest’s largest two-day outdoor street festival, and is extremely popular with the LGBT community. Spanning eight city blocks, its many draws include four music stages, people-watching, food, and a broad mix of 300-plus vendors. Performers include En Vogue and Aron Carter. Halsted St., between Belmont Ave. & Addison St. | 11a.m – 10p.m. | $10; donation benefits the Northalsted Business Alliance |

Chicago Air and Water Show

(August 15 – 16) The U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels return to the lakefront for one of the largest free events of its kind. The longstanding summer tradition includes a wide variety of civilian acts, with daredevil pilots performing their aerial stunts in the skies above Lake Michigan. New this year is the Breitling Jet Team from France on their first U.S. tour. North Avenue Beach, Lake Shore Dr. & North Ave. | 10a.m. – 3p.m. |

Taste of Greektown

(August 22 – 23) Hellenic pride takes center stage when this popular culinary and cultural fest in Chicago’s West Loop returns for its 26th Year. Entertainment includes Greek bands and games for kids and families. Halsted & Van Buren Sts. | Noon – |



Chicago Tunes

Summer is hear people, and with it comes some pretty unique things you can only find and do here in Chicago. For this blog we are going to dive into some pretty cool Chicago summer tunes. Tunes can be enjoyed all summer long, so you have more than a few chances to catch some of these unique Chicago staples. No matter what your taste in music is, we guarantee one of these will catch your fancy and a rock out session will surely follow.

Here's a few quick tips before we dive into our list of summer tunes. First up, many of these events can get crowded and/or fill up for an evening. So if you’re excited for one of the following, make sure to get there a little early to reserve the best possible spot to enjoy some tunes. Also many of these are free, but that doesn’t mean that they don't ask for donations, which we highly recommend you do to help keep these going year after year. Finally, enjoy yourself. That’s right, get into the moment. Let the music take over and enjoy the fact that you're surrounded by one the greatest cities in the word! So let’s get into it, shall we. Here is PPM’s top 5 tune events you don’t want to miss this summer!

Downtown Sound

(Mondays & Thursdays, June 1 – July 23) Featuring new artists and groundbreaking rock veterans, this year’s series performers include The Mighty Diamonds (June 15), Poi Dog Pondering (June 29), King Sunny Ade (July 6), Matthew Sweet (July 13), and Bloodshot Records Night (July 20). Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion | 6:30p.m. |

Ravinia Festival

(June 13 – September 12) Ravinia’s 2015 season features more than 120 events, including one of the year’s hottest tickets: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga together. The annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to James Conlon in his final season as its music director, and features Ramsey Lewis in his CSO debut. Headliners include: Aretha Franklin, Rob Thomas, ZZ Top, Harry Connick, Jr., Izhak Perlamn and Emanuel Ax, and Seth MacFarlane. Metra trains stop right at Ravinia’s front gate for most shows. Lake Cook & Green Bay Rds., Highland Park | Dates and ticket prices vary; kids and students with valid IDs admitted free on the lawn for all classical concerts (excluding movie nights) |

Grant Park Music Festival

(Generally, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays, June 17 – August 22; plus other select dates) For more than eight decades, the nation’s only free summer-long outdoor classical music series has gathered a roster of acclaimed guest artists, as well as young musical talent, for 10 weeks of programming. Highlights include the Grant Park Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus in a world premiere commission of Symphony No. 3: Dream Songs, by American composer Kenji Bunch. Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion (the Bruckner Symphony No. 6 concerts on July 31 and August 1 will take place indoors at the Harris Theater) | Wed & Fri 6:30p.m., Sat 7:30p.m (some times vary) |

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

(Wednesdays, June 17 – September 9) Enjoy spectacular skyline views, cocktails, and live music from jazz to funk? Then visit 32,000 animals representing more than 1,500 species in Shedd’s exhibits. Jazzin’ is great for the whole family or for a date night. When the sun goes down, the sky lights up with fireworks from Navy Pier. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. | 5- 10p.m. |$20, $18 in advance online, free for Shedd members |

Chicago Summerdance

(Fridays – Sundays, June 26 – September 13, weather permitting) Now the nation’s largest annual outdoor dancing series, Chicago SummerDance will return in 2015 for its 19th year of bringing unbridled joy to people of all ages and skill levels on a 4,900-square-foot, open-air dance floor. The series offers free one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors, followed by two hours of live music and dancing. Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan Ave. | Fri – Sat 6 – 7p.m. dance lessons, 7:30 – 9:30p.m. live music and dancing; Sun 4 – 5p.m. dance lessons, 5 – 7p.m. live music and dancing |