Mayfest kicks off Lincoln Park street fest season


Festival season has arrived in Chicago, and this weekend Mayfest kicked off the summer music street festival season in Lincoln Park.

The weather may not have been ideal, but the rain held off long enough for Chicagoans to enjoy live performances, food, local vendors and activities for all ages.

Mayfest celebrated its 25th anniversary this weekend as it began as a parking lot block party in Lakeview the past years. Mayfest relocated to Lincoln Park on Armitage in Sheffield this year, where many folks in Lincoln Park attended their first Mayfest.

Kendall Davenport, who had recently relocated to Lincoln Park from Texas, noticed a lot of advertising for the event and brought her family for the first time.

“My family and I are trying to experience [as] much as possible here in Chicago,” Davenport said. “I’ve gotten to try a lot of different foods, and the food has been great, as has everyone here.”

Many others, including Davenport, were attending Mayfest for the first time. Anna Wildeman from Wicker Park, who had read about the approaching street festivals in Chicago, wanted to check out Mayfest as well.

“I wanted to see live music; I had heard about 16 Candles but missed it; still, I am excited to hear whoever is performing and spend some time with my friend here; nothing beats festival season in Chicago,” Wildeman said.

Chicagoans were able to experience what Mayfest has to offer, but many local vendors were also attending their first Mayfest and were hoping for a successful weekend.

Jose Silva from Silva Espadas was hoping to promote their business as it was their first year attending Mayfest.

“Bags, shirts, sweatshirts, you name it, we sell it. With the help of close friends and family, all our items are custom-made,” Silva said. “We hand-draw most of our designs and handcraft all our other products with the help of each other.”

“We came here to sell and promote our business, which was built by four brothers from immigrant parents,” Silva continued. “We are proud of what we do, and we are looking forward to what this weekend has in store.”

Benjamin Hartman, who has driven back and forth from Kokomo, Indiana each day for Mayfest, was ecstatic to be there.

“This is a huge event for me; there are a lot of other vendors here, and it feels awesome to be here,” Hartman said. “All of my items here are handcrafted in Turkey, I assist my brother with his company. These items are handmade by female refugees in Turkey, and besides making sales this weekend I hope to raise awareness about violence against women and refugees.”

This marks the start of summer for Chicagoans, as many individuals experienced Mayfest for the first time, each for different reasons but all supporting the local neighborhood through celebration.

“It’s festival season and I’m here for it,” Davenport said.