Your only job this Labor Day weekend is having fun. It won’t be hard. Listen to drumming at African Festival of the Arts, watch acrobatic acts at Midnight Circus in the Parks, shop a ginormous consignment sale or have a blast at Renaissance Faire. Read our picks of the best events in town — then get out there and get to work.
African Festival of the Arts
Take a trip to Africa — no visa required. The South Side comes alive with entertainment and activities that honor the country’s traditions and spirit. Enjoy an African dance lesson, visit the “drum village,” make arts and crafts, and participate in the family tennis carnival. Fri.-Mon., 10:00 am-10:00 pm. Held at 51st St. & Cottage Grove Ave. $10 in advance; $20 at the gate; $30 for a family pass (two adults and four children). All ages. Event details.
Babies, Tots n’ More Consignment Sale
Comb the racks for gently used children’s clothing and gear at prices you won’t think twice about. Goods are available for newborns all the way to teens, and maternity wear is also up for grabs. Fri., 10:00 am-7:00 pm; Sat., 8:30 am-1:00 pm. Lil’ Kickers. Free. All ages. Event details.
Midnight Circus in the Parks
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road this summer, performing in parks in all corners of the city. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds. Sat., 2:00 pm; Sun., 1:00 pm. $5. All ages. Event details.
Taste of Polonia
Kick your feet up at the polka stage, enjoy live music and eat ’til your heart’s content at this festival of all things Polish. There’s a large kids’ area that has activities and ongoing entertainment (clowns, karate demos, dancing and music). Fri., 5:00 pm-11:00 pm; Sat. & Sun., 12:00 pm-11:00 pm; Mon., 12:00 pm-10:00 pm. $7 for adults; free for kids 12 and under. All ages. Event details.
10th Annual Skaters Picnic
Show off your kickflip at a west suburban skate park. Professional skaters from Character Skateboards will perform demos to music from a live DJ. Attendees get a free lunch and can also participate in a doughnut eating contest, pie eating competition and skateboard games. Sun., 11:00 am-2:00 pm. Centennial Park. Free. Ages 6 and up. Event details.
SPIN: The Science of Rotation Exhibit
It’s your last chance to rotate fun into your weekend at the exhibit that teaches kids why and how objects spin. Push a fixed wheel in the Human Centrifuge, an innovative tub that shows how inertia works; race objects of varying sizes and weights along a track to clock their speed; or create your own laser show against a spinning backdrop. Thru Mon. Museum admission is $9.50 for adults and children; free for those under 12 months. All ages. Event details.
Bristol Renaissance Faire
The full-on homage to Elizabethan England — complete with costumed characters, period music, jousting tournaments, acrobatic and comedy acts, rides, games and food — is in its final weekend. The outdoor village is set back from the highway near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Sat., 11:00 am-5:00 pm. Sat.-Mon. $19.95 for adults; $9.50 for children; free for ages 4 and younger. All ages. Event details.
How are you going to spend the long weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.
— Kelly Aiglon
Photo: Courtesy of African Festival of the Arts