Northalsted Market Days 2008

27th annual Northhalsted Market Days!

August 9-10

Chicago, IL — Non-stop music, an eclectic mix of 400+ vendors, people-watching without peer, and diversity galore are all guaranteed to be in the mix at the 27th annual Northalsted Market Days, the largest two-day outdoor street festival in the Midwest. Dates are Saturday and Sunday, August 9-10, on Halsted Street between Belmont and Addison.

Among those scheduled to perform are: original "Dreamgirl" Jennifer Holliday…quirky Milwaukee rockers Dropmore Scarlet… high-octane Los Angeles rock theater band Powder… '80s/'90s dance faves Expose… Los Angeles singer-songwriter Ferras… Pink Floyd tribute band Think Floyd… acclaimed singer/songwriter Eric Himan… Chicago's own Dot Dot Dot… all-girl rockers Catfight… and a bevy of Jazz Oasis stage acts offering respite from the street energy.

Sponsored by the Northalsted Area Merchants Association, Market Days will feature 30-plus entertainment acts on four stages and a wildly diverse offering of food, arts/crafts and other vendors lining four blocks of North Halsted.

Hours are 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. each day. Suggested gate donation is $5.

2008 Northalsted Market Days, August 9-10
Stage Schedule as of July 9

Saturday, August 9
Noon Yvonne Doll & The Locals
2:00 p.m. Chicago Spirit Brigade
3:00 and 4:15 p.m. Kimi Hayes Band
6:00 p.m. Dot Dot Dot
8:00 p.m. Powder
Sunday, August 10
Noon and 1:30 p.m. Pulsation Band
3:00 p.m. ROTC (Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps)
4:00 and 5:30 p.m. Dropmore Scarlet
7:30 p.m. Catfight

Saturday, August 9
Noon Alicia Wiley
2:00 p.m. Carey Ott
4:00 p.m. Hey Champ
6:00 p.m. Ellen Miller
8:00 p.m. Expose
Sunday, August 10
Noon Tamara Bedricky
2:00 p.m. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
3:00 p.m. Heavy Manners
4:45 p.m. ROTC (Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps)
5:30 p.m. Ferras
8:00 p.m. Think Floyd

Saturday, August 9
Noon Spyder Monkey
1:30 p.m. The Trash Martinis
3:30 p.m. Dylan Rice
6:00 p.m. Devin & The Straights
8:30 p.m. Eric Himan
Sunday, August 10
Noon Chicago Gay Men's Chorus
1:30 p.m. Dime Store String Band
2:35 p.m. Chicago Spirit Brigade
3:00 p.m. Everelle
5:00 p.m. 16 Candles
7:00 p.m. Linda Clifford
9:00 p.m. Jennifer Holliday

JAZZ OASIS (At Buckingham)
Saturday, August 9
Noon Lakeside Pride Jazz
2:30 p.m. Soulio
5:30 p.m. Gayle & Nick Bisesi
Sunday, August 9
Noon Clark Street Band
2:30 p.m. BMR4
5:00 p.m. Matt Pinozzotto Guitar Trio

North Halsted Market Days is an annual two-day festival in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is the Midwest's largest street festival with annual attendance exceeding 300,000 people over the two day event, takes place in the Boystown section of Lakeview along North Halsted Street from Belmont Avenue to Addison Avenue and is a half-mile long. The festival consists of 3 music stages, 2 local band stages and a dance floor. The festival showcases food and merchandise tents. There are also Halsted business establishment tents, as well as those of radio stations, public service organizations & companies (SAAB in 2008). Many give away small souvenir items.

The overall flavor of the event is decidedly gay, but is open to all. The street remains closed from Saturday at 7am to Monday at 1am. Most of the businesses along Halsted Street are open during the day and stay open late each night when the festival ends for the day. Most notably the 20+ bars and restaurants see a significant increase in patronage.

2006 was the 25th Anniversary for North Halsted Market Days, and helping celebrate were such notables as Billie Myers, Brazilian Girls, Powder, East Village Opera Company and Michael McDermott. In the past Market Days has seen performances by Margaret Cho, Jill Sobule, Leslie Jordan, Berlin, and many more.

2008 performers include 80's pop group Exposé & Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday.

Market Days 2008

Move over, Pride. Northalsted Market Days is the best gay weekend of the year.

There’s a huge difference between June’s Pride Weekend and Market Days (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10). Pride is a lot like Thanksgiving with your relatives—an event where a whole bunch of people with one thing in common, in this case the struggle for equality (and in your family’s case, blood), gather together for one obligatory afternoon and everybody leaves drunk. It’s not that we don’t love Pride: It offers both a reflection of our past and a glimpse into our future while also unabashedly celebrating who we are today. It’s just that, like Turkey Day, we’re glad it happens only once a year.

But Northalsted Market Days (a.k.a. the Halsted Street Fair), blasting off this weekend in Boystown, on Halsted Street between Belmont Avenue and Addison Street, is the real party of Chicago’s queer summer season. Market Days is what we scribble into our calendars months in advance, crossing our fingers that our straight friends choose a different summer weekend to tie the knot.

So what’s all the fuss? Simply put, Market Days is the outdoor street festival in hyperdrive. It’s the apotheosis of everything magnificent about summer in Chicago, including gooey street food, live bands cranking out summer tunes and a whole lot of hotties struttin’ what they’ve got. Consider the numbers: 40 live acts, 400 vendors, almost one million ounces of beer poured and a whopping 200,000 attendees over two days. It’s Halsted Street ratcheted up to the hottest, queerest shade of pink possible. Sure, straights are welcome (read on to see where you fall on our scale of gay Market Days activities), but make no mistake: This is a celebration of queers, beers and unabashed leers, not unlike Boystown itself.

— Jason A. Heidemann