Celebrations and Ceremonies

Megan Macogni (on left) reacts as the Jinga structure made by Adam Cobert and Jared Ripoli comes tumbling down during the Hyde Park Brews, Brats and Brass Oktoberfest in the Hyde Park Bank parking lot Saturday afternoon, Sept. 16. – Marc Monaghan

By Joseph Phillips
Staff Writer

2017 Hyde Park Brew Fest draws huge crowd in June

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Kimbark Beverage Shoppe kicked off the summer by sponsoring the 2017 Hyde Park Brew Fest in June.

“We’re expecting a great day and great weather,” said Jonathan T. Swain, president of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe during the kickoff of the 4th Annual Hyde Park Brew Fest. “Like our tag line says, craft beer, good music, and great people.”

The event took place on the corner of Harper Avenue and Harper Court near 53rd Street. The fest featured samplings from over 80 different beer vendors and wines and mixed drinks, including food from local restaurants such as Ja’Grill and Pork Chop.

In addition to the beer, wine and restaurant vendors, several live performances by nationally and internationally known DJ’s such as; Mad Skillz, J-ILLA, BOI-Jeanius and Allen King, sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy while spinning into the late hours of the night.

The free event attracted over 10,000 attendees, according to Wallace Goode, executive director of the Hyde Park Chambers of Commerce.

Changes in leadership for the 4th on 53rd Parade committee

After celebrating its 25th year anniversary in 2016, the 4th on 53rd Parade committee voted for a change in leadership after longtime Hyde Park resident Stephanie Franklin decided to step down as chairwoman of the planning committee in March.

During the committee’s planning meeting in March, the group also voted to pay the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce a consulting fee to help “produce” its 2017 4th on 53rd parade event.

Franklin said, in a past issue of the Herald, the event consisted of three components, “the Parade, the Picnic in the Park, and the George Franklin Memorial Sunday Concert Series, which was named in the memory of Franklin’s late husband. and until this year, the event has been produced by the 4th on 53rd Committee of the Nichols Park Advisory Council.”

The chamber would charge the committee a consultant fee of $1,500 dollars, for the hours they contributed to help organize the three-pronged event.

“It is a great event and we don’t want to see it lose momentum,” said Goode about the parade during an interview a day after the meeting. “With Stephanie’s announcement, it only made sense that we would step up.”

Although the Chamber worked with the committee in the past, Goode said the chamber role in 2017 was to help facilitate the event while the parade remains under the control under the Nichols Park Advisory Council.

Gary Ossewaarde, Secretary of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, was this year’s grand marshal of the 26th Annual “4th on 53rd Parade.” Ossewaarde led the Hyde Park community in the parade in a huge 4th of July celebration down 53rd Street.

According to a past issue of the Herald, over 6,000 people attend the Independence Day parade each year, including notable figures such as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former President (then Senator) Barack Obama and other elected officials.

Silver Room owner obtains fellowship to Harvard

After hosting a successful “14th Annual Silver Room Sound System Block Party,” Eric Williams, owner of the Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St., has now taking his talents to Massachusetts and is attending Harvard University Graduate School of Design on a fellowship since August.

The 2018 Loeb Fellowship offered to Williams consists of a year of independent study and will require him to live six months on Harvard’s campus from August to May.

During his fellowship, Williams will focus on strategies for replicating the Silver Room model nationally and methods for measuring the social and economic impact of arts entrepreneurship.

Brews, Brats, and Brass festival returns for second year

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Eat Drink and Be Events company hosted its “2nd Annual Brews, Brats, and Brass,” fesitval on Friday, Sept. 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“It’s a Hyde Park end of the summer/beginning of fall festival that incorporates elements of a traditional Oktoberfest, which includes beer, hearty food, and great music,” said Jonathan Swain, president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, prior to the event.

The festival took place in the parking lot behind the Hyde Park Bank Building, 1535 E. 53rd St., and featured live music, Pumpkin Beers with great Cider, Brats, BBQ and Brass bands, brass inspired mixes and sweet fall harvest treats.
The Hyde Park Bank, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, Samuel Adams Beer, Eat Drink and Be Events and the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event.

Annual Halloween Purge disrupts community activities on 53rd Street in October

Despite organized activities set up by Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th), Sophia King (4th) and members of the Hyde Park-Kenwood community to quell destructive activities that took place last Halloween, nearly 400 teens showed up on 53rd Street again this year on Tuesday night, Oct. 31, for what they call a Halloween Purge.

Brawls, egg throwing, confiscation of BB guns and several arrests were made during the night, according to eyewitnesses.

A post on Facebook about the Halloween Purge in Hyde Park was made around 10 a.m., Tuesday morning, Oct. 31, according to several sources.

According to the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the first incident took place on the 1500 block of East 53rd Street when two males, ages 17 were arrested for Aggravated Battery to a peace officer after being asked by University of Chicago Police officers to leave the scene.

Chicago Police said the offenders unprovoked began to hit the officers with closed fists and were placed into custody immediately.

After the incident, the officers were transported to St. Bernard Hospital in good condition.

The second incident took place on the 5100 block of South Kimbark Avenue after an offender struck a male victim in the head with a BB gun.

Another offender then pointed a BB gun at the victim and took several of his personal belongings, as they both fled in a dark blue Chevy Impala, according to Chicago Police.

Later that evening, University of Chicago Police observed the vehicle and a pursuit ensued, leading to the offenders hopping out of the car and being both apprehended and placed into custody on the 4800 block of South Evans Avenue.

One black and one silver BB gun was recovered along with the victim’s belongings. Both males ages 17 and 15 were charged with Armed Robbery.

Although the constructive activities that were planned by community leaders did not stop chaos from happening on 53rd Street, compared to last year there were not as many arrests or reports of property damage.

According to the Chicago Police Department, the 2016 “Halloween Purge” resulted in 10 juvenile arrests, including three for disorderly conduct, four for reckless conduct and other arrests for trespassing, theft and aggravated battery to a police officer.

Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosted Annual Dinner Celebration in November

In honor of its 97th year anniversary, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2017 Annual Dinner Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Congregation Rodfei Zedek, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd.

The event was open to the public and marked the chamber’s 97th year of holding the annual dinner and gala of supporting local businesses in the area.