Early afternoon rain on Sunday didn’t stop a crowd of Chicagoans from gathering to watch young dancers from the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance or lining up for Harold’s Chicken at the first Sundays on State block party of the summer.
The street fair is the first of eight planned through September. State Street was shut down from Lake Street to Madison Street to make room for music and dance performances, pop-up shopping and child-friendly tents with circus and tie dye stations. More than 70 activities were planned for Sunday’s event, which was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Rogers Park-based potter Richard Scruggs was selling handmade wares ranging from shaving bowls to flasks from his business, From Bupkis. “I think it’s great,” he said of the street fair. “I’m glad we’re doing it.”
The new event series is a project of the Chicago Loop Alliance in partnership with the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation, the city of Chicago and State Street Special Service Area #1-2015. The Chicago Tribune is a media sponsor of the event.
Nesheba Kittling found out about Sundays on State on Instagram and came downtown from Flossmoor with her kids.
“Since the street was closed down, they could ride their scooters,” she said, as they explored the story time tent from Brown Babies Books, a bookstore that specializes in children’s books by authors of color.
Around 12:30 p.m., dancers from the Joffrey Academy of Dance took to the main stage at Washington and Madison to perform. They danced in sneakers.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Jana Teruel, a 17-year-old Joffrey student. “It was a really good experience, and I’m glad I was able to have the opportunity to perform here.”
Bobby Celestin and Haley Page, of Chicago, came to the block party with their kids and other family members.
“We decided just to come check it out and support Chicago post-pandemic,” Celestin said.
Celestin said he particularly enjoyed the Black businesses participating in the block party. The family had purchased a couple of shirts from Chicago Culture Gear, he said.
“We’re enjoying being out and being around people too,” Page said. “We’re easing back into that after being locked in for a year.”
Future Sundays on State are scheduled for July 18 and 25; Aug. 8, 22 and 29; and Sept. 5 and 12. Event lineups will shift each Sunday, said Chicago Loop Alliance marketing director Kiana DiStasi. Registration is not required, but attendees who do so at LoopChicago.com/Sundays will be entered in a lottery to win a Loop staycation package.
At the American Writers Museum tent, attendees could try out a 1963 Olympia SM-7 typewriter from late filmmaker John Hughes’ personal collection. Visitors were prompted to share what they would do on a day off in Chicago.
“On my day off, I would probably sleep in,” one visitor had typed. “Because I need that, because I am not as young as Ferris Bueller.”