Thursday, June 11, 2009

Swedes and Blues


The summer I turned 12, I had the opportunity to stay with a Swedish Family for the summer, and dance at a real Midsommarfest, around a real Swedish Maypole, in Sweden. I swam in chilly lakes and saw the sun stay up nearly all night. It was an amazing experience that I've never forgotten. This weekend I can give my kids a little taste of Sweden, a lot closer to home, at the 44th annual Andersonville Midsommarfest.

Though the bands are predominantly American rock and the booths sell the usual Guatemalan clothes and 3 for $20.00 designer knock-off sunglasses, it's still worth a look. We'll make it a point to get there in time for traditional maypole dancing at 11:45 at the stage at Clark and Foster. There is always a kids area with crafts and activities, and The Swedish Museum tent breaks out art projects for the littles as well.

Then we're off to play in Grant Park, "Chicago's Front Lawn", at The 26th Chicago Blues Fest. There are sure to be tributes to Koko Taylor, who recently died at the age of 80, and will be greatly missed this year. Bettye LaVette, Saturday's headliner, is a particular favorite of ours. Sagezilla loves to drive her big brother crazy singing "They've got my joy. I want it back." 8:20-9:30 pm - Bettye LaVette

If you're not big on crowds, Blues Fest is never as full as Taste of Chicago. Toward the back of the lawn there is still plenty of space for kids to run and play Frisbee or catch. There's almost always a juggler in the crowd and plenty of great tunes to dance to. Bring folding chairs, a picnic, and an umbrella or play tent for shade, and make a day of it in Sweet Home Chicago.

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