Taste of Randolph: my second favorite weekend of the year. Humidity and rain be damned; dedicated fest-goers like me know how to have a good time.
Friday night at the fest, my friend K. and I double-fisted our way through a set by the band Fountains of Wayne; the lines were so long at the beer tents we had to overstock. It was one crowded, muggy mess out there, but once the band played “Stacy’s Mom,” I was better able to tolerate the constant swarm of gnats hovering above our heads. (Note to self: Don’t wear perfume to street fests.) The talent (a.k.a. cute boys) were out in full force-Taste of Randolph usually draws a slightly older crowd than other street fairs-but we managed to bump into people we knew at almost every other step, which left little time for making new acquaintances.
Speaking of meet markets, after the fest, K. and I headed to Lumen with a group of guys we’d run into. Not only was Lumen within easy walking distance, but it let us avoid the clutter surrounding Vivo and its newest sibling, the restaurant V.I.C.E. (840 W. Randolph St.). Lumen provided an air-conditioned retreat from the heat and wasn’t too crowded when we got there. A few more drinks, a stop at The Underground with a couple of The Boys, and I called it a night-relatively early for me, since I was home by 2 a.m.
Saturday I skipped the fest all together-less due to the intermittent rain showers and more due to a shower of a different kind: a couple’s shower. S. and A. are getting married in San Diego in a couple of weeks, so five of us bridesmaids threw a coed party Saturday night at Plan B for about 50 friends. It was a nice preview of what’s to come at the wedding-or what the singles table will look like, at least.
Sunday it was back to the fest. We found a bench right in front of the dunk tank at Fulton Lounge‘s booth. Donations went to Cooley’s Anemia), and the tank drew a hefty crowd, thanks to a heckling emcee who wasn’t afraid to provoke the onlookers, from tattooed tanning-bed muscleheads (one of whom he kept calling “Hercules”) to a girl decked out in head-to-toe yellow (a.k.a. “Pineapple”). This was people-watching at its finest. My favorite shout-out went to the Johnny Depp lookalike, dressed in all black with a bandana wrapped around his head. “Hey, Pirates of the Caribbean,” yelled the emcee, “you want to toss some balls?”
After a rain delay, we joined other members of Team Lush and caught the last band of the weekend: Lowen and Navarro, who played familiar tunes by the BoDeans (“Good Things”) and Van Morrison (“Into the Mystic”). There, we spied a kid, wrapped in a tie-dyed blanket, sleeping on the curb while her mom twirled to the music. She must’ve slept for a solid two hours, unaffected by the elements around her. It was like a scene out of Woodstock, which is why I love summer in Chicago-and why I’ll always choose seasonal festival-going over bar-hopping in a city that sees nice weather roughly three months a year.