News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Roy Ayers

Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival Attracts More Vendors, Sponsors in its Third Year

This weekend 100 vendors will set up booths along East 53rd Street as part of the third annual Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival, up from 60 vendors at the first festival in 2010.

The increase in vendor participation is a sign of the festival’s growing popularity and the fact that it has become a signature event in the Hyde Park community, according to Wendy Williams, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, a key festival sponsor.

Nearly 60,000 people turned out for the festival last year and sponsors expect 2012 attendance to exceed that.

“People attending this year’s festival will have the opportunity to browse the wares and offerings of about 85 art and specialty vendors and 16 food vendors,” Williams said. “More than a dozen of these will be local Hyde Park businesses and several also have a store-front presence along 53rd Street, so there will be an extra opportunity to support local businesses.”

Festival sponsorship also is up this year, with more than 20 corporate, community and individual sponsors lending support. The Hyde Park Vitality Committee, which launched the first festival, continues to be the main sponsor. The committee includes the SECC, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and UChicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, among others.

The two-day festival, which will take place this coming Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1, features live musical performances, shopping and other entertainment. Headlining this year’s event are two 1970s music icons—the Average White Band and Roy Ayers. The main festival will be held on 53rd Street between Harper and Kimbark Avenues, with activities for children in Nichols Park. Festival hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days, with face painting, kids’ yoga and other children’s activities from noon to 4 p.m.

Admission is open to the public, and a $5 donation is requested.

Download a festival map, with vendor and sponsor listings below. For more information, visit

Roy Ayers performs at the 2011 Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival.

Thousands Party at Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival

More than 40,000 people came out to support the second annual Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival featuring Chicago favorite Roy Ayers and the '70s hip band WAR. Despite warm and humid temperatures, area residents and friends flocked to 53rd Street to hang out, enjoy the various music guests and wide variety of vendors.

This year, the fest was held over two days and received a groundswell of support from the community. Morning Anchor Dawn Hasbrouck of Fox News Chicago, a native South Sider, addressed the crowd Sunday afternoon and said the festivals have “helped to re-energize Hyde Park as a serious destination for foodies and entertainment.” She added “the festivals have also been a jumping point to bring people back to the South Side.”