As organizers prepare for a busy weekend in Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood with the return of the Market Days Festival, safety remains a major focus as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
âWe are really excited about this weekend,â said Mark Liberson, festival president. “We have put a lot of precautions in place to ensure that we are communicating a safety message to those present.”
The three-day street festival is one of the largest in the country with almost 100,000 people expected. It was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
âWe really want people to safely celebrate our community coming together again,â he said.
Proof of vaccination is not required to enter the festival which stretches from Addison to Belmont on Halsted, but Liberson said people who have not done so can get tested or vaccinated during the festival. Unvaccinated people are encouraged to wear a mask and social distancing.
âAs people walk in, we will be celebrating the pride of vaccination here at the event,â he said. “We will be distributing stickers to people who present their ID cards showing that they have been vaccinated or other proof of vaccination.”
Many bars and restaurants in Northhalsted are already turning to vaccination-only services.
Chicago’s COVID-19 cases on Thursday increased 39% from last week, with an average of around 270 new cases per day. Hospitalizations are also up by 47% and deaths by 44% compared to last week, while the positivity rate stands at 3.6% – all measures which have increased since the end of June.
The festival is set to begin just days after Lollapalooza, the city‘s largest music festival, which drew around 100,000 people to Grant Park every day from July 29 to August 1. Lollapalooza required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter, but some infectious disease experts have warned the festival could exacerbate already rising coronavirus measures.
Market Days organizers hope those in attendance will do the right thing, from masks to vaccinations.
“We hope that the people who come will be vaccinated. We hope that if they are not vaccinated they will be tested before entry, and we hope that people will celebrate themselves and be part of this great community in the city of Chicago. . “
The Northalsted Business Alliance has added an extra day to the street festival this year, with market days scheduled to take place August 6-8 for the first time in 38 years of history.
Major artists such as Trixie Mattel, Todrick Hall and Greyston Chance will perform at the festival.
Other artists on the lineup include Lisa Lisa, Jody Watley, CeCe Peniston and Steve Grand, as well as disc jockeys like Alex Acosta and Nina Flowers.
For the complete program and the day-to-day schedule, click here.
The weekend-long event is expected to take place over 800 meters across five stages and more than 250 vendors offering arts, crafts, food and drink, among others, according to a statement.
The festival charges a recommended registration fee of $ 15, which covers the cost of festival entertainment, local charities, programming and community maintenance, organizers said.