Hello again, fellow roadies! This weekend, route roadies in Chicago are blessed with a full two days’ worth of worthy events (that’s in addition to everything else going on in the immediate area, like the special exhibits at the Art Institute and the usual tours at the top of the Sears Tower, etc.). First up today is the annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, a don’t-miss, no-admission event in Illinois as it is second in size only to the Mother Road Festival in downstate Springfield. Flashy vehicles, food and fun, and did we mention it’s FREE? Yessir! Be there, or be square. Berwyn is the second suburb you encounter outside Chicago when traveling Route 66, one whose civic leaders very consciously promote Route 66 – and Berwyn’s history on the route – all year long. It’s also home to the Berwyn Route 66 Museum, which is one of the co-sponsors of the car show.
Then there’s the first annual CineFest in the Douglas Park area of Chicago, a weekend-long celebration of feature-length movies and TV series filmed in Chicago (many of which have been at least partially produced at fest sponsor Cinestage Chicago). And perhaps the best part of that festival is that the beverages of choice will be brewskis supplied by next-door neighbor Lagunitas-Chicago brewery, Chicago’s largest craft beer producer. Cinestage Chicago occupies the historic former Ryerson Steel campus, which is located between Western Avenue on the easternmost end and Washtenaw Avenue on the west, Route 66/Ogden Avenue on the north and the railroad viaduct that runs on an angle roughly between 17th to 18th Streets and parallel to Ogden. In fact, Lagunitas itself is in a former Ryerson warehouse that the brewery rents from Cinestage under a 99-year lease. So you have history all around you at both of these events this weekend.
In fact, our suggestion is that you attend the car show today and CineFest tomorrow – work them both in, if you can, then dine somewhere on the route afterwards.
My, my, how busy things have gotten in Chicago lately. No sooner are we past Memorial Day than activity just seems to explode. Of course, if you’re coming here for a Route 66 road trip, that’s all to your benefit — there are always more things to do here in metro Chicago than there is time to do them. Isn’t it great to have so many choices? So much good stuff is doable for cheap or free. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s no better place to do a lot of this stuff than right out on Chicago’s lakefront, with the lake behind you, the park beside you, and the cityscape before you. Still, that means a plan may be in order, if you want to maximize your time here.
Yesterday, route roadies were all a-Twittering about the latest from the Skydeck at the Sears Tower: The Ledge (or at least the laminated shielding on the glass floor) cracked and scared the dickens out of some visitors from out west. EEEEEK! Even AOL news cribbed a report from Chicago’s WGN-TV midday news. Well, actually, the pressure-sensitive protective coating on the glass supposedly did what it was intended to do and spider-webbed into cracks to indicate that it needed replacement … then that window box was closed off for maintenance while the other one stayed open. And safe. Uh-huh. Right. Sure. Whatever you say. You go first, okay? No, I insist. Really.
The TILT windows at the John Hancock, tilted. (Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com)