Diversions: Festival Season in full swing plus Memorials to visit in Chicago

It’s been a long winter for Chicagoans, and finally the season of weekend festivals is upon us.  There are only 18 weekends in Chicago Official Summer – the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  And Chicagoans want to make the most of every single one of them. 

Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade

The annual Chicago Memorial Day Parade honors veterans, active duty military personnel, and those who have given their lives in service of their country. It draws about 10,000 spectators every year and is considered one of the largest parades of its kind in the country.


Lakeview’s Woogms Parade

Woogms Parade Following the huge turnout and success of its last parade, the Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society (WOOGMS) continues the celebration with its 40th annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 1. Chicago’s oldest do-it-yourself parade group steps off from the corner of Pine Grove Ave. and Wellington St. at 11 a.m. All are invited to join this favorite neighborhood event that attracts patriotic participants of all ages. Enthusiastic marchers will uphold the WOOGMS motto: Everybody marches, nobody (just) watches.



IML and Bear Pride Weekend

Mr Leather You might think that this event caters to a rather – ahem – specific clientele.  But this year’s IML (International Mr. Leather) event will draw a few thousand visitors from 80 countries worldwide.  The event actually fills the entire Hyatt Regency downtown!  A full weekend of events includes a leather market, circuit parties and bar crawls on the north-side.

In conjunction with IMRL, this weekend also hosts Bear Pride 16 at the Crown Plaza-Metro hotel at 733 W. Madison, with a full weekend of events starting Friday evening.

From Time Out Chicago:

The only thing sweeter than honey is this 16th annual tribute to the furry and fabulous. BP16 offers a full weekend of grub-‘n’-growls, BEAR-B-Ques, dance parties and more. Many events are by registration only, so bust on down to the Crowne Plaza to get in on the action

See www.bearpride.org for a full schedule.


Chicago’s Memorials

Let’s not forget to pay our respects this weekend.  Some of Chicago’s best Memorials are also its best kept secrets.  Check these out and take a picnic.  You’ll be glad you did.


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Graceland Cemetery in Lakeview

Stop by and pay your respects to some of the founding fathers of the City of Chicago, great patrons of the arts, and other notable Chicagoans.

Many of the cemetery’s tombs are of great architectural or artistic interest, including the Getty Tomb, the Martin Ryerson mausoleum (both designed by architect Louis Sullivan, who is also buried here), and the Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum. The industrialist George Pullman was buried at night, in a lead-lined coffin within an elaborately reinforced steel-and-concrete vault, to prevent his body from being exhumed and desecrated by labor activists.

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Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Plaza

This memorial to fallen heroes from the Viet Nam War can be found along the north bank of the Chicago River between State Street and Wabash.

The memorial features the names of more than 2,900 Illinois servicemen killed or missing in action in the Vietnam War; an engraved timeline of significant battles, operations and world events during the Vietnam War years; a waterwall and fountain; and informational plaques.

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Stock Yards Firefighter Memorial

Located on the South Side at the entrance to the old Stock Yards at Exchange & Peoria is where you’ll find the Stock Yards Firefighter Memorial.

On December 22, 1910 a fire occurred at the Chicago Stock Yards which killed 21 Chicago Firefighters. A memorial was held on Monday, December 22, 2008 to commemorate these fallen Firefighters. Chicago Fire Department personnel, Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner José Santiago, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan and Alderman James Balcer saluted the members of the Chicago Fire Department, and laid a wreath at the site in memory of all who have died in the line of duty.