NORTHALSTED — Market Days, the annual LGBTQ+ street festival that draws thousands of people to Northalsted, returns this weekend for its 41st year.
The festival takes place 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday along North Halsted Street from Belmont Avenue to Addison Street. As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend the two day fest.
A $20 donation is suggested for entry, supporting the Northalsted Business Alliance, the local business chamber that organizes the fest and other activities throughout the year.
Read through Block Club’s guide on how to be prepared and have the most fun at this year’s festival.
Lineup And Schedule
This year’s Market Days lineup features a star-studded cast of hometown heroes like drag superstar Shea Couleé and rapper Cupcakke, as well as musical acts Pussy Riot, Betty Who and DRAMA.
Returning to the Market Days stage is Crystal Waters, who gave an electric performance at last year’s festival. Other performers include Boyfriend, KC Ortiz and Sofi Vonn.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” fans can catch a set by Kylie Sonique Love, winner of “All Stars.”
Other performers include:
- Miss Toto, drag mother to the Haus of Gaynz
- C*nty Meme (featuring Zolita)
- Sixteen Candles
- Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press
- DJ Do Not Disturb
- Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute
The full lineup can be found on the Market Days website.
The half-mile stretch of Halsted Street housing the fest will feature live music, drag performances and more across five stages, as well as more than 250 vendors.
The festival has seven entry gates along Halsted Street:
- Belmont and Halsted (Main south gate)
- Addison and Halsted (Main north gate)
- Cornelia and Halsted (East gate only)
- Roscoe and Halsted (East and West gates)
- Aldine and Halsted (West gate only)
- Melrose and Halsted (East gate only)
Gates along the side streets typically have shorter lines, organizers said. The festival also offers VIP passes for $50 that offer express entry at the main gates.
North Halsted Street will close from the 3200 block to the 3600 block at 11 p.m. Friday so crews can begin staging the festival. Parking will be restricted at this time, along with access to surface parking lots and garages on Halsted Street.
Additionally, parking restrictions will be placed on various side streets in stages starting Friday. All cars in the below areas will be towed.
Parking bans begin 10 a.m. Friday at:
- 732-820 W. Cornelia St.
- 800-840 W. Newport Ave.
- 800-832 W. Aldine Ave.
More parking bans will start 11 p.m. Friday at:
- 721-769 W. Brompton Ave.
- 720-820 W. Buckingham Place.
- 725-825 W. Roscoe St.
- 720-758 W. Melrose St.
Visitors to Northalsted are recommended to take public transportation to and from Market Days to avoid heavy car traffic.
The festival can be accessed from the nearby Addison and Belmont Red Line stations. The Belmont Station also serves as a transfer point for Brown and Purple line trains. Northalsted is also connected to multiple bus lines.
Banned Items And Security
All bags will be inspected prior to entry, but large bags and backpacks are prohibited, organizers said. Other banned items include coolers, outside alcohol, weapons and pepper spray.
Clear, sealed water bottles are allowed, organizers said.
Market Days can often be a destination for pickpockets, so visitors are encouraged to take precautions:
- Don’t place your phone or wallet in your rear pocket or in loose clothing.
- Don’t use shoulder bags or backpacks that hang behind you.
- Use a front-facing fanny pack, crossbody bag or sling bag.
- Use your hands to cover your pockets when in crowded areas.
The info tent, first aid and lost-and-found will be at the festival command center near the intersection of Halsted Street and Newport Avenue.
To reach the lost-and-found after the festival, contact Chicago Special Events Management at 773-868-3010.
This weekend is expected to be mostly sunny with highs of 85 degrees Saturday and 79 degrees Sunday. Visitors are encouraged to dress in light clothing and stay hydrated.
Market Days is open rain or shine, but severe weather conditions could delay or cancel performances, organizers said.
MPOX and COVID Vaccines
The Center on Halsted, located just north of the festival at 3656 N. Halsted St., is offering free MPOX and COVID vaccines Saturday and Sunday for people visiting the festival. Register here.
Howard Brown Health also offers MPOX and COVID testing, vaccination and treatment. People can reach its hotline at 872-269-3600 to make a vaccine appointment or speak to the contact tracing team about possible exposure.
More information on MPOX, also known as monkeypox, can be found on the Chicago Department of Public Health website.
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