Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20: The wordies at Downtown Oak Park call it OakToberfest. We call it actual fun in a fall street party, the 16th annual for merchants on and around the new Marion Street.
Expect six bands: Joe Hurley & Rogue’s March, Justin Townes Earle, Waco Brothers, Chevere de Chicago, Professor John, and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas (Nathan plays accordion). Surf to www.downtownoakpark.net for performance times. That’s also where you’ll find the food vendors’ menu.
We’ve already checked out the foodie angle. Here are our picks: cheesecake on a stick (Marion Street Cheese Market), fried ravioli (Mancini’s), funnel cake (Puree’s Pizza and Pasta/Ben & Jerry’s), crab wontons (Luo’s Peking House), quesadillas (The Golden Lamb) and, yes-they’re back!-chicken makni and mango shakes at Khyber Pass. The much-missed Indian restaurant resurfaced two weeks ago in the space just vacated by Moveable Gourmet. Naeem Iqbal says they’ll be serving from a small operation at 118 N. Marion till the renovation of their space on Lake Street is done.
Actual fun activities for kids aplenty, too. From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday on Marion Street, there will be zucchini races, a root beer garden, karaoke, and games from Wonder Works. The seventh graders in Girl Scout Troop #4603 from Ascension will be volunteering to help young festival-goers.
Admission is free. Parking will be available in the Lake/Marion and the Lake/Forest garages. On Friday, the festival runs from 4 to 10 p.m., and on Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m. For other details, call 383-4145.
Friday, Sept. 19 – Sunday, Sept. 21: Also on Friday and Saturday-and continuing into Sunday-is the 13th annual Art on Harrison art walk along Harrison Street among the galleries and shops of Oak Park’s Arts District. Taking in the exhibits alone would make for a weekend well spent.
But this fun group of merchants has planned such other activities as a chair-painting contest (Buzz Café), a fashion show for maternity and nursing ensembles (Majamas), coaching on dog and human etiquette (Harrison and Lombard stage) and a tribute to Beatle George Harrison-that’s right: Harrison on Harrison (Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium).
Among the live music acts will be Mark Brewer at Val’s halla and Compass Rose at Trattoria 225.
For kids, the House of Heat is hosting studies in worm theory with the Field Museum’s Soil Action Mobile. And Oak Park’s own children’s museum, Wonder Works, will have craft tables.
The festival runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The art walk takes place along Harrison Street from Austin to Elmwood. www.shopoakpark.com/opad/