By ALLISON MATYUS
2016 in Hyde Park was full of events both new and old that entertained residents and contributed to neighboring businesses.
The first big event of the year was Brew Fest, which kicked off the summer season on June 5. In past years, the fest that features dozens of craft breweries was held in Nichols Park, but changed location this year to the parking lot on Harper Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street.
It was a big year for the 4th on 53rd Parade, as the annual event celebrated its 25th year in the neighborhood. This year’s Grand Marshall was Toys Et Cetera owner, Nancy Stanek, who was one of the founders of the very first parade.
Some new festivals were added to Hyde Park’s event roster this year, including the Silver Room Block Party on July 16, which had an estimated attendance of 15,000 people. Though in its 13th year, this was the first year Silver Room owner Eric Williams threw the event in Hyde Park since moving to the neighborhood from Wicker Park in 2015.
“It was always meant to be a collective neighborhood involved event and getting as many people to participate as possible,” Williams said in an earlier interview. “Everyone in Hyde Park seems to appreciate what we do and Hyde Park has a rich cultural energy so the Silver Room fits in.”
Another new addition was the Brews, Brats and Brass-A Different Type of Oktoberfest which was celebrated in the Hyde Park Bank parking lot Sept. 16 and 17. The event featured fall craft beers and ciders and catered to an attendance of about 3,000 people.
One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the two-day Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 10th year this year featuring an all-star musical lineup of more than 200 jazz musicians. The festival took place on Sept. 24 and 25.
“Jazz itself could be more vibrant and visible, but it is not dead. The Hyde Park Jazz Festival and the Hyde Park Jazz Society proves that jazz is not dying…. it’s being celebrated,” said musician Victor Goines, who performed at this year’s event.
At a November meeting hosted by the Southeast Chicago Commission, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations, business owners in Hyde Park had the chance to provide feedback on what events were successful to them.
According to information provided by the hosts, the event that brought in the most economical impact was the Silver Room Block Party at an estimated $750,000. The event that had the least economic impact was the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce’s Summer and Fall Dinner Treks, with an estimated impact of $9,750.
Out of the 15 main events that information was collected from since November 2015, the total estimated economic impact on the neighborhood from events and festivals is $1,974,350.
“The main goal is always to bring people into businesses that are in Hyde Park,” said Wallace Goode, executive director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, at the November meeting.