State Street was buzzing Sunday with hundreds enjoying a block party in the Loop between Lake Stree and Madison Street.
"It's super fun[and] super nice, nice to see all the culture out in the streets," said Chissay Espana.
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Dozens of vendors offered food, art and entertainment to locals and visitors, like Espana who made her first trip to Chicago from Los Angeles.
"It's nice to see something different but even better, it's nice to see people out with their families after a whole year of being stuck indoors," Espana said.
That's the whole point of the celebration, put on by the Chicago Loop Alliance, is to hopefully bring people back to a business-centric district that has felt like a ghost town throughout the pandemic.
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The area shops and restaurants took a hit without the traditional work-day surge.
Even with dreary weather last week, organizers said they came close to the goal of 25% more people on State Street last Sunday compared to the same day in 2019.
As for this week, the Chicago Loop Alliance expects to dance right up to that goal.
Ahmer Sultan and Demy Shahata are among those enjoying the party after moving to Chicago in the middle of the pandemic.
"Ever since everything's been opening, it's beginning to look a little more like Chicago that I see in pictures and videos," Shahata said.
With people coming from throughout the city, they're getting a taste of more than just the Loop.
"Whenever I'm coming here before, we would think they're all tourists shopping, but now I'm seeing people who seem like this is their home," Sultan added. "Everyone's laughing and having a good time and being open."
Sundays on State runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 25 and Aug. 8, 22 and 29.
For more information on the festivities, visit loopchicago.com/events/sundays-on-state.