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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Res Headlines This Weekend’s Connect South Shore Festival With Local Artists, Food, Rollerskating

Res, whose song "For Who You Are" is a steppin' classic, will perform Sunday evening. Live entertainment, a rollerskating rink, local vendors, yoga and more will round out the weekend.

Attendees dance at the 2021 Connect South Shore festival in the former Shore Bank parking lot, 7037 S. Jeffery Blvd. The event returns with live entertainment and local vendors this Saturday and Sunday.
Christopher Dylan Andrew
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SOUTH SHORE — South Shore’s free, annual arts festival returns this weekend, bringing together local musicians, creatives and the singer-songwriter Res near 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard.

The fourth annual Connect South Shore festival is 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in the former Shore Bank parking lot, 7001-7037 S. Jeffery Blvd. The festival features live entertainment, local vendors and artists, morning yoga sessions and a rollerskating rink.

Res, a Philadelphian whose song “For Who You Are” is a popular jam for Chicago’s steppers, headlines the weekend of live music with a performance 5 p.m. Sunday. DJ Sam Chatman, originator of the term “steppin’,” will play a set 2 p.m. Sunday.

Local musicians Illville Vanguard, Sam Thousand, DJ Duane Powell, Midnight Sun and DJ Sean Alvarez will also perform throughout the weekend. For a full schedule of performances, visit the festival’s website.

Vanguard and Powell will perform at Connect South Shore through the city’s Chicago Band Roster grant.

“It’s a wonderful program, especially in the wake of a pandemic,” said LaShawn Brown, program manager for event co-organizer Special Service Area No. 42. “It’s a creative way to support local artists who we love, and to make sure someone can afford them and bring them out to enjoy them.”

Two dozen vendors — from the Haire’s Gulf Shrimp and Momma Burgers food trucks to small shops such as Miss Teenie’s Handmades, Shawn Moore’s Creatives and Co., Organicmood Earthen Accessories and Tendaji Body Oils — will sell their wares during the festival.

“These are always about inspiration, about giving people something to celebrate in their own neighborhood,” said event curator Eric Williams, who owns the Bronzeville Winery and the Silver Room in Hyde Park. “We’ll have folks and vendors out there that can make some money, and we’ll just have some fun. We need that.”

Williams started the event in Hyde Park in 2017 as Hyde Park Connect, a project to fill empty storefronts in the neighborhood with local vendors and artists.

After moving a couple miles south and becoming Connect South Shore in 2018, the first three festivals were similarly held in vacant shops, Williams said.

Connect South Shore was not held in 2020, then moved into the Jeffery Boulevard lot last year to allow more space amid the pandemic, Brown said.

Many of the vendors at Connect South Shore are based out of the owners’ homes and don’t have their own storefronts, Brown said.

Events like the festival and pop-ups planned around the neighborhood during the holiday season can help the vendors build a customer base large enough to sustain a physical shop, Brown said.

That could, in turn, help fill the vacancies along the neighborhood’s main streets, she said.

“We wanted to build an opportunity for [vendors] to interface with the community … even if it’s to pop up for a couple days and have their brand and their products exposed,” Brown said.

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