ANDERSONVILLE — Renegade Craft Fair could be coming to Andersonville this June.
Renegade, which produces wildly popular craft fairs held in Wicker Park and Bridgeport, wants to put on a fair that would take place on Clark Street north of Bryn Mawr Avenue on June 27 and 28, officials for the company said Wednesday. The Andersonville event would replace a Pilsen fair the company has organized in recent years.
“It makes sense to go to the North Side and spread out a little bit,” Madelon Juliano, artistic director for Renegade, said at a community meeting on the proposal Wednesday.
The craft fair would take over Clark Street from Bryn Mawr to Edgewater Avenue, with 176 booths housing as many as 300 vendors. As many as 15,000 people could attend the weekend event, organizers said.
Renegade would host its festival a bit north of Andersonville’s main commercial corridor to avoid back-to-back events south of Bryn Mawr. Midsommarfest, which shuts down Clark Street south of Bryn Mawr, will take place two weeks prior to Renegade, said Laura Austin, community and events manager for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce.
Plus, the craft fair could be a boost to the businesses just north of the main stretch of Clark Street, Austin said.
“The north end hasn’t had a fest before,” she said. “It’s needed, and we think it will be great.”
Renegade works with a curated group of craft vendors from Chicago and beyond, but it does look to collaborate with neighborhood businesses on its fairs, Juliano said. Local restaurants have routinely been featured in its street fairs, and nearby small businesses can apply for permits to vend on their sidewalks. Area nonprofits can also use booths at the fair, free of charge.
“That helps bolster the community aspect, and it bolsters the fair, too,” Juliano said.
Some north-end Andersonville residents and businesses agree the fair could be beneficial. Lee Corrina Cano, owner of The Coffee Studio at 5628 N. Clark St., said the craft fair could be a boon for the area’s small businesses.
“It couldn’t be a better fit,” she said at the community meeting. “We can’t wait for people to discover the great things that have been going on up here.”
Alds. Harry Osterman (48th) and Andre Vasquez (40th) held a public meeting Wednesday for neighbors to hear about the plans. Renegade plans to seek a special permit for the event beginning early next year, and since the fest will take place in two wards both aldermen will need to approve it.
Renegade produced its first ever craft show in Wicker Park in 2003, with the fair celebrating its 17th year in Wicker Park in September. Renegade also hosts a yearly winter craft fair at the Bridgeport Arts Center, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.
Since 2003, Renegade has since expanded to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Austin, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Boston, Detroit and Miami.
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