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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Lincoln Square’s DANK Haus Hosting Maifest Fundraiser To Help Support Nonprofit

As the city reopens, DANK Haus is trying to make up for dozens of public programs, weddings and school fundraisers canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Maifest in Lincoln Square
Flickr/Rudolf Fink
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Organizers of Lincoln Square’s biggest street festival have not officially said what’s happening with the event this year. But one of its biggest promoters is striking out to do its own fundraiser next month.

DANK Haus will host a Maifest-themed fundraiser at its headquarters, 4740 N. Western Ave., on June 5. Individual tickets start at $185 which includes entrance to the event, music by The Paloma Band, traditional fest food catered by Himmels, Beer & Wine (included with the ticket purchase) and a silent auction.

People who have membership in Friends of DANK Haus can get a 10 percent discount on their tickets. 

Maifest is normally held in late May or early June. The annual street festival takes over the heart of Lincoln Square every summer and benefits several German and German American organizations, including DANK Haus, the American Aid Society, the Donauschwaben Youth Group and German American Policy.

The festival typically draws about 35,000 people. DANK sells beer and food at Maifest and on average would raise about $75,000 from those sales, according to Monica Jirak, DANK’s executive director. That money goes towards maintaining Dank’s six-story, 93-year-old building and the nonprofit’s programing. 

But there’s been no official announcement about whether Maifest will be staged later in the year or pivoted into a virtual event, as organizers did last year during the height of the pandemic. Jirak said the group is hoping to collect $18,000 through their own fundraiser.

“For this year, we’re hosting an in-person event in our ballroom which can accommodate, pre-pandemic, 500 people. When we were first planning this we were hoping to sell at least 50 tickets per the restrictions at the time,” Jirak said. “But we’re in that special event category now so we’re hoping to sell at least 100 tickets to people who are vaccinated.”

Chicago officials are easing restrictions for fully vaccinated people and large music festivals such as Riot Fest and Lollapalooza have announced their lineups. 

But smaller neighborhood street festivals are still figuring out how to pivot back to outdoor and indoor events after being in a holding pattern all winter and for most of spring. As the city and state keep rolling out new guidelines these smaller summer festivals are scrambling to keep up. Some, like Do Division in West Town and Silver Room Party in Hyde Park already have called off their 2021 plans.

“We’re being cautiously optimistic as things open up and being cognizant of the changing restrictions and people’s comfort level with these kinds of events,” Jirak said. “But we want to make this great fundraiser for DANK.”

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