A dry erase globe at Wicker Park Fest was a big attraction. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago

WICKER PARK —  Tens of thousands of fun seekers and music lovers of all ages flocked to Wicker Park’s Milwaukee Avenue over the weekend for an extended-to-three days Wicker Park Fest.

The vibe was calmer than previous years, according to several people who spoke with Block Club Chicago. 

Throughout all three days of the fest, Chicago Police officers on foot and on bike were seen augmenting private security guards hired by fest production company Criterion Productions. 

Police officers interacting with the crowds at Wicker Park Fest this past weekend. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago

There were three arrests during the fest, according to Officer Michelle Tannehill, a Chicago Police spokeswoman.

Isaias Reyes, 20, of the 1100 block of North Washtenaw Avenue, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery, after he was caught at 9:45 p.m. Saturday defacing a building with graffiti and swinging a hammer on a man who tried to stop him. Bands were playing at the time just to the north and south of where the wall was defaced, in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.

On Monday, a worker at a local shop who said he witnessed the incident and asked not to be named, said Reyes was part of a larger crew of graffiti taggers who defaced several windows and walls along the block —  and they managed to do it during the fest despite plenty of security guards and police walking around.

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago

“That should not have been able to happen during the fest. That’s a big failure,” the worker said, while another co-worker and witness added.”People scattered and ran away as soon as they saw the man wave the hammer around.”

Kevin Clancy, 31, of the 4500 block of South Lowe, was arrested after security guards witnessed him punch a man in a cardboard costume, police said. That happened around 8:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee. Clancy was charged with one misdemeanor count of battery, Tannehill said.

The victim, who was walking around with a robot-like box over his head at the time that he’d been punched in the back of his head, declined to comment Sunday night but later posted about the incident on Facebook. “Fortunately for me, there were four security guards behind me who saw the whole thing,” he posted.

One underage person was ticketed for drinking on the public way during the fest, Tannehill said. 

Also during the fest, a 62-year-old woman said she broke her wrist when she tripped on a large pothole in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The tumble happened at 5:43 p.m. Saturday. The woman was able to walk to a nearby urgent care clinic on Damen Avenue and her wrist was put in a temporary cast, police said.

After Fest Bar Fight: 1 Arrested, 2 Hospitalized   

Shortly after the fest ended, at around 10:15 p.m. Sunday, police said they were flagged down by fest security to quell a disturbance at a bar in the 1500 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.

Ethan Veits-Vanlear, 23, of the 6400 Block of North Francisco Avenue, allegedly walked out of a beer garden without paying, and when confronted by an employee at the bar, he became “combative” and hit the 36-year-old worker in the forehead, police said. 

According to Tannehill, the bar worker was taken to St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital and treated for minor injuries and Veits-Vanlear was taken into custody and charged with one misdemeanor count of battery and two misdemeanor counts of resisting/obstructing a police officer. 

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday after the fest, a large crowd gathered around a man who was carted off in an ambulance.

Early Monday, Officer Laura Amezaga, a Chicago Police spokeswoman, said the incident was “a well being call involving a highly intoxicated man with a large lump on his head.”

Art And Music Inspired Many 

Throughout the weekend, fest fans were observed posing for group photos and selfies under a glowing new public art installation, “Worker Cottage Parklet,” by Lynn Basa. Located at the Milwaukee and Wood intersection by Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods, Basa’s piece pays homage to the city’s disappearing worker cottages.

Throughout the weekend, fest fans were observed posing under the new public art installation, “Worker Cottage Parklet,” by Lynn Basa.
Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Two fest goers get ready to snap a selfie. 

Chance the Rapper was spotted on Saturday afternoon as artist Evr_Art worked on a portrait of the rapper/philanthropist/publisher. Chance posed next to the piece.

Muralist Everett, who goes by the name Ever Art, works on a Chance the Rapper portrait as Chance poses next to it for fans. Credit: Courtesy of Daniel Morrow

Saturday night headline artist Sir the Baptist posted an Instagram video from the fest.

“Yo this is definitely a night to remember. The energy was non stop, the music was timeless and universal, the spirit was present, and it was fun as sh– all at the same time! If this was chuch, I can’t wait til next weeks service! Need more of this in my life!” one fan commented on Sir the Baptist’s video.


Chief Wiggum, a pig who has his own Instagram account, delighted fans on Sunday, as owner Kenneth William Mayle walked around the fest.

“I think the end he enjoyed the most… or the beginning. I’m not sure but he did [enjoy the fest],” Mayle said in an Instagram message.

Kennth Mayle and his pet pig, Chief Wiggum, at Wicker Park Fest on Sunday. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago

Business Reaction 

Casey Rooney, a sales clerk at paper goods and “creative nomad” shop Topdrawer, which opened this past fall, said it was the store’s first Wicker Park Fest and she had been expecting it to be more hectic. 

“It had a great energy. It was really tame and terrific to see so many people, everybody coming out and enjoying Wicker Park,” Rooney said.

Roderick DeJesus, cafe manager of Rapha, a cycling clubhouse store and cafe at 1514 N. Milwaukee, said it was Rapha’s second Wicker Park Fest and this year went better than last summer’s fest.

“We had a lot more foot traffic in our store this year. More people were enticed to come in. The only kind of annoying thing was the aggressiveness of the ticket guy at the gates to get in, but it was a suggested donation,” DeJesus said. 

Many bars and restaurants along the corridor were packed during the fest and seemed to be enjoying solid business. Noticeably closed on Sunday was En Hakkore 2.0., a restaurant at 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Hakkore draws the inspiration for its name from a biblical spring that revived an Israelite judge during a fatiguing journey and husband-and-wife owners Peter and Faith Park’s Christian faith has always kept their two restaurants closed on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon, Faith Park said the closed on Sunday rule for both En Hakkore restaurants is the policy no matter what, despite the size of a crowd or potential business.

Fest Photos and Social Media Highlights 

A retail booth at Wicker Park Fest. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Wicker Park Fest attracted steady crowds all weekend.

Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
A painting underway of Chance the Rapper during Wicker Park Fest. Credit: Courtesy of Kerri Pang
Dancing in the streets. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
The 15th annual Wicker Park Fest took place this past weekend. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Nicole Plecas, wearing her feelings at Wicker Park Fest. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
David Satore, who usually sits on a chair on top of his car near the corner opted to sit on a mailbox to people watch at the fest. Credit: Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
Free ping pong was offered at the south end of the fest. Credit: Anne Poluchowicz

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