How cold has this April been?
Well, as of Thursday morning, the city of Chicago still had the heat lamps available on the city’s “L” train platforms – nearly a month after they’re supposed to be shut off each year on March 31.
So, yes, it’s been a rough spring. Or winter. Or both.
But with May now on the horizon, the weather has to warm up soon. I think. Either way, Chicago has plenty of hot events on tap for the coming month, and here are some ways you can take advantage of it.
Hopefully, with no actual heat lamps required.
Polish Constitution Day Parade
There are few places on the planet where you’ll find more Polish people than in Chicago, and this year the city will celebrate the Polish Constitution of 1791 on May 5 with a parade in honor of the first democratic constitution in Europe and the second in the world, behind only the United States.
The free parade begins at 11:30 a.m. at Columbus and Balbo drives, heading south on Columbus to Monroe.
For more information, visit may3parade.org.
Chicago Beer Classic
If you’ve attended a Chicago Bears game, there’s a good chance that you’ve had a beer at Soldier Field. But on May 5, you can have a beer on Soldier Field.
Staged on the stadium’s hallowed turf, the Chicago Beer Classic offers two sessions (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.) featuring a stellar lineup of brewers both national and local, including Bourbonnais’ own Brickstone.
For tickets and more information, visit chicagobeerclassic.com.
Cinco de Mayo Parade
Chicago’s Cinco de Mayo Parade falls on Seis de Mayo this year, and the festivities will add up for those honoring the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
The free parade will kick off at noon along Cermak Road and Damen Avenue on Chicago’s Southwest Side, running south to Marshall Boulevard, where at 2 p.m. a festival will commence featuring Mexican food, live music and much more.
For more information, visit cityofchicago.org.
Billed as “The World’s Only Mindful Triathlon,” Wanderlust 108 combines a 5K run/walk, 75 minutes of yoga with DJ music, and 30 minutes of guided meditation, taking place from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 12 amidst the serenity of Butler Field in Grant Park.
For more information, visit wanderlust.com.
Food Truck Social at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Grilled cheese. Doughnuts. Pirogi's. Tacos. And much more --
all while surrounded by exotic animals in the heart of the big city.
Sound like fun? Then get yourself to Lincoln Park Zoo for the all-ages Food Truck Social, held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. For the entrance fee of $10, guests will be able to explore the zoo after hours while purchasing food and drinks from dozens of the city’s food trucks, in addition to enjoying other activities and DJ music.
For more information, visit lpzoo.org.
May 31-June 3
Not to be confused with Chicago Mayfest street fest earlier in the month Maifest Chicago is a free four-day, German-themed event held at the intersection of Lincoln and Leland avenues in Lincoln Square, the heart of the city’s German community.
The festival is the traditional German celebration of the arrival of spring – think of it as an Oktoberfest in May (and, this year, June) – with live music, maypole dancing and, on Friday night, a traditional keg tapping and crowing of the May Queen. Although, it seems like that should be the Mai Queen.
For more information, visit mayfestchicago.com.
DAVE WISCHNOWSKY can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/wischlist, on Twitter at twitter.com/wischlist or his blog, wischlist.com.