Chicago festivals, activities in full swing on summer solstice

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Everyone was looking for an excuse to spend the first day of summer outside, and there are plenty of activities and festivals to enjoy as summer in the city is in full swing.

There's no place like Chicago during the summertime, and there's something to for everyone to enjoy.

"The weather, for one, the lake, the beach, the people, the food," said Marcell Hughes.

"I think it's a great opportunity to spend time with the family," Stetson Burden said.

Wednesday was the official kickoff of the season known, which coincides with the summer solstice. The solstice marks the day people who live in the northern hemisphere get the most daylight.

"The word actually means the sun is standing still. It's the highest point the sun reaches and that is the first day of summer," said Larry Ciupik, Adler Planetarium.

Navy Pier celebrating with the first eruption of a new temporary foam public art installation. It will erupt twice a day through September.

The Riverwalk is also a popular hangout spot during the warmer temps whether you're there to eat, or walk, or kayak.

"The Chicago River runs right through downtown. There are not many cities in the U.S. that have rivers running right through downtown," said Asher Gershenzon, Urban Kayaks.

One of the major events of the season is the Taste of Chicago, which is coming up in July. The city served up an appetizer for this year's Taste during lunchtime Wednesday at Daley Plaza.

The annual festival, which is held in Grant Park, attracts more than 1 million people.

"We got the best of Chicago's favorite culinary scene. So we have food trucks at Taste of Chicago. We have five day vendors and we have our pop up vendors, which are there for one or two days, so you have to come a couple times to catch them all," said Mary Slowik, manager of Taste of Chicago.

In August the Chicago Air & Water Show takes off with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

"It's an annual tradition here in Chicago. People flock to the beach, to the lakefront. You ca see them all over the city, just the roar of the jets. It's very exciting," said Mary May, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Another jam-packed summer season is underway in Chicago, which always seems to go by in a flash.

"Finally, our summer has arrived. Even though we had a mild winter, winters can be tough in Chicago. But here it is, it's beautiful," said Beth A'Amico.
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