Family Fun Festival at Millennium Park

June 8, 2009 Three Family Fun special presentations will round out the family-friendly programming for families-including a tribute performance to the poet, author, illustrator, songwriter and performer, Shel Silverstein on July 13; an interactive China Spectacle on July 19 and a family concert by Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine on August 31.

"Now in its fifth season, Millennium Park has become a favorite destination for families from near and far," said Lois Weisberg, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. "Visitors with children can come to enjoy the art and architecture of the Park, then stay to take part in all of the free hands-on activities and performances that the Family Fun Festival has to offer."

Daily activities in the Family Fun tent include

  • • Wiggleworms at 10 a.m., when instructors from the Old Town School of Folk Music lead activities for very young children, such as singing, finger games, circle dances and play with rhythmic instruments.
  • • The reading circle at 11 a.m.
  • • Concerts by local and regional entertainers from 1 and 1:45 p.m. The Kaotic Drumline ( kicks off the entertainment series on Wednesday, June 10.
  • • All day in the Family Fun tent's Activity Zone: hands-on craft projects and garden, science and environmental activities led by some of the region's popular museums and cultural institutions.
  • One of the highlights of summer will be SHELebration: A Tribute to Shel Silverstein, the Family Fun Festival special presentation on July 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Frequent Silverstein musical collaborators and friends, including musicians Bobby Bare, Sr., Bobby Bare Jr., Pat Dailey, Chicagoans Jon Langford and Sally Timms, plus an all-star band from the worlds of indie-rock and country, and surprise guest poetry readers will bring this great artist's work to life.

    The Family Fun Festival will celebrate Chinese Cultural Week in Chicago with its interactive China Spectacle on July 19 at 2:30 p.m. Visitors will meet at Cloud Gate and make their way through the Park, following the ancient Chinese love story of Qi Xi-The Story of Niulang and Zhinu, the Cowherd and the Weaver Fairy. Complete with a lion dragon, opera singers, drummers, martial artists and a lantern parade, the China Spectacle is adapted by Nina Chen and the Chinese Fine Arts Society especially for Millennium Park.

    Summer wraps up on August 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with the final Family Fun Festival special presentation when Robbert Bobbert (the alter ego of Robert Schneider from 'The Apples in Stereo') brings his raucously infectious musical mayhem to Millennium Park for an end-of-summer concert, entertaining kids and parents alike with his Beach Boys-inspired indie-rock songbook. The Bunny Clogs will kick off the evening with their own brand of funky dance rock for kids.

    Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park.

    Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture, and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Among Millennium Park's prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor's hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture. Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has welcomed more than 16 million people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago.

    For more information about the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park, visit or call 312.742.1168.


    June 10 - 14
    Lurie Garden and Chicago Wilderness
    Plant a seed or touch a turtle shell, and explore the wonders of nature with hands-on activities using native plants, bugs, birds, and critters all week long.

    June 15 -21
    Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
    Discover your own green thumb when you dig for vegetables and plant pretend flowers, then design a living necklace using soils and seeds.

    June 22 - 28
    Chicago Architecture Foundation
    Celebrate Chicago's past, present, and future with hands-on building and architectural activities in honor of the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham's great Plan of Chicago.

    June 29 - July 5
    Museum of Contemporary Art and Purple Asparagus
    Learn about herbs and healthy eating choices with craft-based activities that provide food for thought, as well as fun!

    July 6 - 12
    The Art Institute of Chicago and Museums of Springfield, Illinois
    Juggle, be a stilt walker or paint your face like a clown. Over the weekend, take part in the Great Performers of Illinois Festival, meet Abraham Lincoln and celebrate all things Illinois!

    July 13 - 19
    Chicago Office of Tourism
    Join in the birthday fun with a host of activities that salute the many different neighborhoods that make Chicago special.

    July 20 - 26
    Chinese-American Museum of Chicago
    Discover the playful side of Chinese culture with arts and crafts, board games and games of chance--all part of the Chinese Cultural Week in Chicago.

    July 27 - Aug 2
    Chicago Children's Museum
    Enjoy health-awareness activities, take part in an art project and swing to the beat with After School Matters.

    August 3 - 9
    Chicago Children's Museum
    Rock out to great music in the tent all week long when you create a beautiful musical instrument out of recycled materials.

    August 10 - 16
    Museum of Contemporary Art
    Spend the week at the Family Fun Tropical Island, full of seashell crafts and luau dancing. Then, make your own lei as a souvenir for the trip back home.

    August 17 - 23
    Chicago Park District
    Dance to the beat and learn some new moves at a week-long dance party, led by some of Chicago's coolest dance troupes.

    August 24 - September 4
    Museum of Science and Industry
    Take a scientific and fun look at how you can improve your own health in ways that make sense to you.


    Watch video

    Kaotic Drumline encourages youth to follow a different beat- by getting off the streets.

    The high-energy group hails from Chicago's South Side near 71st and Laflin. Their mission is to get music into the community.

    "We've done a lot of promotions," said Jamie Poindexter, Drumline founder, "through rain, sleet, snow. And we covered a lot ground in our voices being recognized as well as our sound."

    "I like being a part of Kaotic, being around Kaotic (and) everyone that's part of it is like (having) older brothers and sisters," said Carolen White, drumline member

    "Oh man, the feeling is hard to explain. You get the crowds cheering and there for you. It's like being a superstar," said Temeka Walton, drumline member.

    Poindexter organized the drum line in 2000 to give kids in his West Englewood neighborhood an activity that would keep them away from negative pursuits.

    "They're young kids and they're very enthusiastic and they know what they're doing. They practice, they put all they got into it," said Earl Woodson, neighborhood resident.

    "It's a beautiful feeling, strapping up and it's another thing getting the kids involved. Doing something I love to save other lives, that's what it's all about," said Jason Seymour, drum line member.

    "It can't really be expressed in words because there's a lot of emotion.

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