Weekend packed with neighborhood fests

August 12, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Taylor Street Festa Italiana, at Ashland Avenue and Taylor Street, has live music, activities and Italian food. Plus, it's close to home for many- and away from the crowds.

"Ain't no killing, no shooting. It's very nice," Samantha Terrell said.

"I would rather come down here and have fun than go down there because then you got so many [people coming] from all over the place. They just want to act crazy," Mac Russell said.

Smaller festivals like The Chicago Built Festival, 1767 N. Milwaukee, which is fair staged in a grocery store parking lot, could become a part of the latest trend as people try to brave the struggling economy by watching their bottom line.

"They already exist like a small community in the city of Chicago of artists. I saw 15 or so and we all know who each other is but this is bringing that into an Aldi parking lot for everyone to see," Meredith Weber, art curator, said.

Of course, the usual summer events still remain popular, like the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

"We're lucky, summer in Chicago there's a lot happening between the Cubs and White Sox, everything else going on. This is a chance for people to celebrate that healthy active lifestyle," John Bingham, Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, said.

The expo kicked off at McCormick Place. The half marathon, previously called the Chicago Distance Classic, is on Sunday. And, this year's route was changed because of damage to Grant Park from the crowds at Lollapalooza.

"Live bands interspersed with cheerleaders and water stations, entertainment experience that makes it a great time, " Dan Cruz, fitness experts, said.

Thousands of runners are already registered for the race.

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