By Lauren Wulf
Labor Day means one more weekend of festivals, BBQs and all that is right with the Chicago weather. From music festivals to backyard barbecues, here’s a weekend itinerary with ideas to get you started!
Chicago Jazz Festival
Dates: August 30-September 2
Location: Chicago Cultural Center, Millenium Park, Grant Park
Known for its artistic creativity, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. It promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through free, quality live music. Since 1979, the festival’s mission is to showcase Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. See the full line-up here.
Thursday- Chicago Cultural Center: 12-3 pm / Millennium Park: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Friday- Millennium Park: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday- Grant Park: 11am – 9:30 pm
• Ella Fitzgerald Tribute
• Roy Haynes Fountain Of Youth Band
• Dianne Reeves
• Allen Toussaint
• Ken Vandermark
North Coast Music Festival
Dates: August 30-September 2
Tickets: $50-$70 Festival Day Passes
Location: Union Park
North Coast Music Festival is a bigger mix of bands that tend to have a small, electronic kick to them, from mash-up gods Girl Talk to heartfelt rapper Atmosphere. See the full line-up here.
• Steve Angello
• Knife Party
• Steve Aoki
• Alesso Paul
Labor Day BBQ Ideas
Hosting or going to a barbecue this weekend? Here are a couple outdoor entertaining and recipe ideas that are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Recipe #1) Chipotle Lime Corn On The Cob
Corn on the cob is a staple at any summer BBQ. Here’s a recipe with a fun twist on the traditional.
6 large ears sweet corn in husks
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
Carefully peel back corn husks to within 1 in. of bottoms; remove silk. Rewrap corn in husks and secure with kitchen string. Place in a stockpot; cover with cold water. Soak for 20 minutes; drain.
Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning often.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chipotle, cilantro, lime juice, lime peel and garlic; spread one heaping tablespoon over each ear of corn. Sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Yield: 6 servings.
Recipe #2) Watermelon Cake
Pay tribute to the fruit of summer! This recipe is as easy as it is adorable.
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1 package (3 ounces) watermelon gelatin
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup canola oil
2-1/2 cups prepared vanilla or cream cheese frosting, divided
Red and green gel food coloring
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, gelatin, water, eggs and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Set aside 2 tablespoons frosting for decorating. Place 1-1/4 cups frosting in a bowl; tint red. Tint remaining frosting green.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup red frosting to within 1/4 in. of edges. Top with second cake. Frost top with remaining red frosting to within 3/4 in. of edges. Frost sides and top edge of cake with green frosting.
Cut a 1/4-in. hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag. Fill the bag with reserved white frosting. Pipe around top edge of cake where green and pink frostings meet. For seeds, insert chocolate chips upside down into cake top. Yield: 12 servings. (credit: Taste Of Home)
Adding a personal flair to your outdoor party or hostess gift is easier and more affordable than it sounds. Anyone can bring store-bought cookies or flowers to a barbecue but adding a personal touch can really make it special. Personalization Mall is great local provider from Chicagoland that makes the process easy and painless. Take a look at some of these fun ideas:
• Personalized cutting board
• A personalized dog bandana
• Mini lawn chairs for kids
• Beer coolers
• Personalized pitcher and cups
Take advantage of their Labor Day sale and get some great items for next summer.
Party Themes & Decor Ideas
• Kids obstacle course party – Use ladders, buckets, jump ropes & more to create a fun activity course for kids during your party
• Picnic- Spread out blankets and arrange your backyard for a big picnic party
• Sundae Bar- Fill cups and bowls with various ice cream toppings for a fun twist on dessert time
• White on White- Themed drinks, table decor, food and desserts in an all white/neutral color scheme
Sunday Fun Day
3-DAY WEEKEND! That means an ultimate Sunday fun day is in order. Here are two happenings around town to help you spend your extra night off.
South Water Kitchen
225 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Kick off your Sunday with a brunch at Kimpton’s South Water Kitchen. Brunch specials include a $2 pancakes and prime rib, lobster omelet!
Open for Brunch only (7 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Labor Day Specials:
· Pancakes – $2
· Sunset Mimosa – $9
· Labor day omelet – $17 (Prime rib, lobster, aged cheddar, truffled potatoes)
112 W. Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60654
“Sunday in the Sky” Labor Day Rooftop Party at EPIC
Date: Sunday, September 2
Time: 4 p.m.
Feeling a fancy night out? This Sunday, Epic will celebrate the American work force with a Labor Day rooftop party. “Sunday in the Sky” will take place from 4 p.m. to midnight, and with the impending day off, relax and enjoy the event’s featured cocktails: Sangria ($20 pitchers), Stoli Blueberry Lemonades ($5) and Coors Light ($4 bottles).
Chef Mark Pollard’s full lounge menu will be available throughout the evening (ahi tuna tartare; raw oysters; steamed mussels; lobster cheese fries; sliders; tacos; salads; short rib patty melt, Epic burgers and more). The menu may be viewed at epicrestaurantchicago.com/menu. There is no fee to attend. Table reservations may be made by calling Epic.
Lauren Wulf, CBS Chicago