Sunday in the Park with Masks: Chicagoans Adapt Their Outdoor Activities

wicker park farmers market parks roundup

For nearly 20 years, attendees of the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) in Rogers Park have enjoyed live music, fine arts and crafts, sunshine and fresh air, plus fun. And a little pandemic isn’t going to stop the festivities this year.

Granted, the free weekend event is incorporating some changes to accommodate COVID-19 safety guidelines. For starters, instead of neighbors coming to the fest, the fest will come to them.

As the newly-renamed Glenwood Avenue (Mobile) Arts Fest suggests, four two-hour mobile tours will travel the streets of Rogers Park, surrounding the Glenwood Avenue Arts District at Glenwood and Morse Avenues. Brief stops along the GAAF mobile tour routes will let residents experience art and music at a safe distance along the sidewalks and from the windows of their homes.

Local musicians, including the Urban Rhythm Band and the Joyce Renee Walker Band, will perform live on a mobile stage. Large-scale video screens showcasing the work of participating artists will also be offered in a corresponding virtual festival.

The Glenwood Avenue (Mobile) Arts Fest is slated for Saturday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday, August 16 at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Chicago Bluesmobile will kick off the event on Friday, Aug. 14 from 6-9 p.m. To obtain tour maps, links to artists’ work, and general information, visit glenwoodave.org.

Across town, the Wicker Park Farmers Market continues to offer fresh food and flowers to Windy City citizens. Following CDC guidelines, the 20-year-old market has been reformatted for one-way travel through with contactless sanitizing stations. To ensure proper social distancing, the number of vendors has been reduced and no more than 50 people can be in the market at one time.

The market is open every Sunday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at 1425 N. Damen Ave. through Oct. 25. For details on the Wicker Park Farmers Market, or to access the virtual market, which includes delivery and curbside pick-ups, visit wickerparkfarmersmarket.com.

Due to the pandemic, park resources are strained since fewer seasonal maintenance employees have been hired. That’s why the nonprofit Chicago Parks Foundation is orchestrating “Pitch in for the Parks!” with the Chicago Park District and communities across the city.

The summer-long volunteer initiative will help keep more than 600 of the city’s public parks clean via trash pick-up supplies and volunteer coordination per safety guidelines which align with the Chicago Park District’s response to COVID-19.

“Pitch in for the Parks shifts the stewardship opportunity back to the communities so they can build a stronger sense of pride and ownership of their parks by helping to keep them clean, while modeling giving back to others,” says Willa Iglitzen Lang, executive director of the Chicago Parks Foundation.

Community groups and individual volunteers are encouraged to get involved by visiting chicagoparksfoundation.org/pitch-in. To learn more about the Chicago Parks Foundation, visit chicagoparksfoundation.org.

“When you invest in a park you are investing in the communities who love and use them,” adds  Lang. “And for that we say thank you!”

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Image: Visitors and vendors attend the Wicker Park Farmers Market. Photos courtesy of www.facebook.com/WickerParkFarmersMarket/

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to serve as Arts & Culture Editor on our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.