Participants Pick Up New Skills At ‘Learnapalooza’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is well-known for its summer street festivals, usually filled with food and music. Over the past couple of years, a new kind of festival has taken shape.

It’s called “Learnapalooza.” For one day, volunteers offer to teach a skill to whoever wants to listen – for free. Participants can learn beekeeping, how to make bacon, play backgammon and a host of other skills.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports

Northbrook native Ben Paul is the co-founder of Communiteach, which hosted this year’s festival on June 25 in the Wicker Park neighborhood. He says Communiteach and Learnapalooza encourage people to get off their computers and meet face to face.

“We appreciate Web sites that facilitate people meeting in real life, like Meet Up and Couch Surfing,” he saod. “We want to be part of that trend, of organizing real-life social interaction to get people away from their computers.”

Right now, Communiteach is available in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Paul says he eventually hopes to reach other large cities.

  • David

    WoW! a story that is a full month after the fact. When is the next on, and how does one get in on it?

    • Ben Paul

      Thanks, David! The next one will be Summer 2012, exact date TBD. We may have a smaller Learnapalooza elsewhere in the city between now and then. Join the mailing list at to be notified of announcements and calls for teachers.

  • Ben Paul

    Correction to the reporter’s voice-over: did not host this year’s festival alone. Learnapalooza is run by a group of dedicated volunteers in partnership with CommuniTeach.

  • KC

    This year’s Learnapalooza was even better than least year’s. I loved learning how to make gnocchi, and the tasting was fun, too! I look forward to more events.

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