CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 40th Annual Market Days returned to Northalsted, shutting down blocks between Belmont and Addison for a weekend of festivities.
"For me, I haven't been to the city in a while, honestly. And so to be back doing the festivals again, it's just exciting, fun," Jessica Villanueva said.
Thousands of people are expected to fill the streets to take in live music, a number of giveaways and a variety of food.
COVID-19 isn't casting a shadow on this year's festival, but monkeypox is on the mind of many. The LGBTQ+ community has been heavily impacted by the spread of the disease and that's why the festival is bringing awareness to it.
"So, right now, the community really wants to get vaccinated. Everyone's behind the vaccine effort," said Mark Liberson, the festival's chair.
Monkeypox vaccines are still hard to come by around the city and nation. Some doses will be given at Market Days, something had people people in line there Saturday. They get a number and return later when it's their turn to get vaccinated.
But in the meantime, monkeypox education is critical.
"The majority of the transmissions of monkeypox have been based in intimate activity. So, really, what it comes down to is if you're aware about how it's getting transmitted, you can make decisions about how to avoid getting the disease," Liberson said.
Some local businesses like Drew's on Halsted are already working to get their entire staff vaccinated. Things like that allow them to continue traditions like Market Days as they set up their booth for the 23rd year.
"It's just the community and we all work together and just a lot of long term business owners and a lot of loyal regulars," said Drew Johnson, the owner.
That community atmosphere is now set with the festivities running through Sunday night.