Organizers progress with Hemingway block party plans
Organizers of the Hemingway District block party are working to arrange food vendors and musical acts for the July event that will take place along Oak Park Avenue.
The block party is planned for the third weekend in July, in recognition of Ernest Hemingway’s birthday on July 21. Jim August, owner of The Irish Shop and president of the Hemingway District Business Association, said the village gave its approval for the event in early May, and August said they’ve been working to finalize plans since then.
“It was a lot to organize,” he said. “I think it’ll be a nice event and it’ll grow.”
The sidewalk sale portion of the event will run from July 16 to July 19.
From 4 to 10 p.m. July 17, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 18, food vendors and bands will fill Oak Park Avenue, August said.
August said they’re trying to get four to six Hemingway District restaurants — like Cucina Paradiso, Eyrie, Maya Del Sol, Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar or others — to participate, since there are plenty of food options in the immediate vicinity.
“First and foremost, we’re looking within our district,” said Megan Greer, restaurant manager at Eyrie and Hemingway District Business Association secretary.
Friday evening and Saturday, Oak Park Avenue will be closed from Lake Street to North Boulevard, August said. A stage will be located near the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street, and a beer and wine tent will be set up at the opposite end, near North Boulevard.
August said organizers hope to work with School of Rock Oak Park to provide some entertainment, as well as other Chicago area musicians. He hopes for about three bands Friday night and five bands Saturday.
The Hemingway 8K “Running of the Bulls” will be held the morning of July 18, and the block party will begin after that has ended, Greer said. A kids “Running of the Bulls” event will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Scoville Park.
August added that the block party won’t be as kid-focused as past Midnight or May Madness event were.
“It won’t be like May Madness, with the big slide,” he said. “We are definitely a kid-friendly area, but this is not going to be a kid festival.”
Because Oak Park is next year’s site for an international Hemingway meeting the same weekend that could draw hundreds of people, August and Greer said they expect 2016’s block party to be bigger and better.
“We’re kind of doing a dry run here,” August said.
He added that a couple more incoming restaurants along south Oak Park Avenue, like Hamburger Mary’s — still planning to open this July — and Citrine Café, will add to the vibrancy of the district, so the event will extend south next year to encompass that block.
“This will kind of get us ready to at least have the basic planning down to have a bigger event next year,” Greer said.
Original Publisher: Chicago Tribune
Publication Date: June 01, 2015