The Northalsted Market Days street festival returned to the Halsted Street area for its 40th anniversary on Aug. 6 -7. Running from Belmont Avenue to Addison Street, a $15 suggested donation greeted attendees as they entered security and bag-check lines were at optional entrances. New in 2022 was a special VIP express entry wristband that allowed faster entrances and exitsfor a $40 donation.
Open rain or shine each year, this outdoor area in Chicago had a sweltering and sunny Saturday with soaring high temperatures; sporadic rain took place Sunday. Attendance was down this year compared to previous years for the legendary festival, possibly because some had COVID- and monkeypox-related concerns.
Entertainment, including singers and DJs, were spread across five stages. American Idol and Queen of the Universe contestant Ada Vox had an early time slot on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m.
The Aces followed Vox with a rocking catalog of work at the Bud Light Seltzer North Stage. Three of the four-member band from Provo, Utah have come out of the closet.
Michaela Jae Rodriguez, known for FX's Pose and Apple TV+ series Loot, canceled her appearance and was quickly replaced by The Aces, who just performed in June at Chicago Pride Fest.
Indie band Fleece, who were interviewed by Windy City Times last year, continued the trend of another openly LGBTQ+ bands with atmospheric pop music. The event's first day ended on that popular stage with another queer-led band and creative collective called Sammy Rae & The Friends.
There were pop-up performances along the Halsted Street strip such as the Chicago Spirit Brigade, who performed in the 7-Eleven parking lot in front of the Nissan Partners of Progress Stage to cheer for a growing crowd.
ViiV Healthcare Hydrate Stage held a Draglicious Revue both days. Performers included former Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Award winner Aurora Sexton lip-synching to trans pop princess Kim Petras' "Coconuts."
Fresh off the recent Music Theater Works gig of La Cage Aux Folles, RuPaul Drag Racer Ginger Minj sang a variety of tracks from past albums, plus showtunes. Gay performer Matteo Lane served jokes and a new comedy song called "Chicago" while non-binary Australian musician G-Flip drummed up new listeners at the Curve Traditional Stage during the same set time.
Dance music maker Anastacia returned to her Chicago roots to close the festivities on Sunday evening. She reminisced on the microphone before singing "I'm Outta Love" and then met fans after she finished.
Sponsors for 2022 included Nissan, Geico and Marriott International, among many others. More than 200 vendors were featured on both sides of a half-mile-long street with food and beverages sold along the way.
The character of the neighborhood continues to shine through no matter the number of challenging hurdles and obstacles that face the surrounding community. After the rain sometimes there are rainbows to signify a brighter day for the future of the LGBTQ+ population in the world today.
Visit northalsted.com for future updates on next year's LGBTQ+ outdoor celebration.