First 'Sundays on State' summer festival kicks off

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sundays on State Street debuts despite the rain.

From Lake Street to Madison, State Street turned into what can only be described as half street fest, half block party. Even if it did get off to a somewhat soggy start.

"It feels so good. You look at the crowd out here and even with the weather and it's still like this," said David Coffin.

WATCH: Mark Rivera shows off juggling skills
EMBED More News Videos

Working in a busy newsroom, Mark Rivera juggles a lot, but this morning during a live interview, he demonstrated that he can actually juggle.



Sundays on State will run for eight weeks with a couple of breaks, including one for Lollapalooza weekend.

The free block party features art, culture, active recreation, food and drink, shopping and local attractions.

"We wanted to do something big and exciting that would bring everyone back downtown to celebrate," said Jessica Cape with the Chicago Loop Alliance. "The loop, specifically, went through a lot because the businesses here rely on the office population and they were not coming down."

The goal is get people back to the Loop, which over the last 15 months saw business come to a complete standstill as people worked from home. Even now, only about a third of office workers are back in the area that relies heavily on them for survival.

"Pedestrian activity is approaching 60% of normal, so that's good news, but again not back to normal so we're really hoping Sunday's on state can inspire people to come downtown," Cape said

SEE ALSO: Things to do in Chicago: Festivals, events happening around city

Zach Schlieder has not been on State Street since his office closed up at the start of the pandemic.

"I was working down here and now I am working from home still so it's cool to get back here and see what is happening," Schlieder said.

He is among the many happy to see more action in the Loop this weekend and hopeful it is part of a comeback.

"I do not go to the Loop unless I have to but I think seeing more people around here makes it kinda better for that," he added.

For the vendors it's an opportunity to showcase their work and to support the city.

Oksana Ambroze-Tryctha will be showing off her hemp-made linens for every one of the eight weeks Sundays on State will be running. Sylvia Moore said that showcasing her vintage jewelry is about more than just business. It's personal.

"I wanted to help bring back the luster of State Street," said Moore. "I ride the bus every day down State Street and I even miss going to a lot of the locations. I'm just happy to be down here."

Among the dozens of performers is CircEsteem, a Chicago youth circus.

EMBED More News Videos

CircEsteem, a Chicago youth circus, among dozens of Sundays on State Street performers.



Berwyn mom Krystal Muñoz said she has not been downtown since before the pandemic began.

This is our first time and I have a COVID baby. He was born in 2020. So this is his first time in the city," said Muñoz

Sundays on State runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 18, July 25 and Aug. 8, 22 and 29.

EMBED More News Videos

State Street, that great street, will look a lot different come Sunday.



Those who register to attend Sundays on State at LoopChicago.com/Sundays will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $1,000 Loop staycation package.

Performance Schedule - Lake-Randolph
11 a.m. Cabinet of Curiosity
Noon Sweet Kay Bluegrass

1 p.m. Laughing Heart
2 p.m. DJ Seasonal Frequency
3 p.m. Freelance Wrestling performance
5 p.m. Paint the City Xperience
6 p.m. Freelance Wrestling performance
7 p.m. Millar Brass Band

Performance Schedule - Washington-Madison (on stage)
11 a.m. Bikram Yoga Chicago class

12:30 p.m. The Joffrey Ballet Academy and Community Engagement Extension students
2 p.m. The South Side Jazz Coalition
3:30 p.m. The Chicago Chorus Girl Project
4 p.m. Porchlight Music Theatre
5:30 p.m. Trinity Academy of Irish Dance
7 p.m. Soulphonetics (DJs)

For more information on the festivities, visit loopchicago.com/events/sundays-on-state.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.