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The Family-Friendly Day Features New Vendors, Art Activities, Music and More

The New 411

THE 411

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce that shopping and street fair will go up a notch at “The Big Deal” on Sunday, August 4, at the historic Maxwell Street market presented by Humana (800 S. Desplaines St.). From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. the free festivities include the dedication of a mural created by students at Yollocalli Arts Reach, live art making with the National Museum of Mexican Art and live music performances along with 125 vendors specializing in handmade crafts, resale clothing, produce and more.

“The Maxwell Street Market, Chicago’s longest running open air market, has been a ‘big deal’ for over a century. As a marketplace, Maxwell Street is where generations of immigrants have created businesses. As a gathering place, it’s where musicians created the Maxwell Street Blues sound. And as a food emporium, it’s where the Maxwell Street Polish was first sold and now thousands of handmade tortillas are pressed each Sunday,” said Mark Kelly, DCASE Commissioner. “We are proud to nurture this Chicago tradition with more vendors, more food and more programming.”

During “The Big Deal” Chicago Fair Trade will have a fair trade pop-up bazaar featuring handmade, one-of-a-kind and eco-friendly items made by women’s cooperatives; hand-blocked printed summer dresses from Mata Traders, yoga accessories from Kathmandu Yogi, kitchen and tableware from Sobremesa by Greenheart, and eco-friendly Bolivian jewelry. Other featured vendors include Sweet Beginnings with locally harvested honey and custom bath products, Sandra’s Bags with handmade leather purses displaying the Chicago flag, and hand-beaded artisan jewelry from Crafted.

The August 4 “Big Deal” will feature old and new food favorites, including Kimski/Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar with a modern take on the Maxwell Street Polish, and the Marz Community Brewing Co. will launch a limited release “Maxwell Street Lager” beer.

In addition to shopping and eating, there will be family-friendly programming throughout the day:

At 11:30 a.m., Yollocalli Arts Reach will dedicate a new mural created by teens and lead artist Liz Reyes, a renowned female graffiti artist and teacher from Chicago. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally, and she was selected as the lead artist for the 2018 Day of the Dead celebration on the Pink Line Chicago through AARP.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) will also lead hands-on, family-friendly art workshops inspired by the history and products of the Market, alongside live painting by Yollocalli Arts Reach program participants. This is part of a series of biweekly art activities organized by DCASE and the NMMA at Maxwell Street Market through the fall.

Chicago-based artists Yvette Mayorga and William Estrada are creating a portrait series of Maxwell Street Market vendors, some of whom have over 40 years of history with the market. The artists invite everyone to take photos in front of the unique backdrop for the portraits, a collage of items treasured and sold in the market. Come back on September 15 for a live portraits session. This commission is part of MAS+ ART at Maxwell, a creative placemaking initiative led by Paola Aguirre Serrano of Borderless Studio LLC.

Temporary interactive exhibitions will also be presented by Jane Addams Hull House Museum with images and artifacts from its collection and by the Maxwell Street Market Foundation with a display of photos, signs and other ephemera.

The Big Deal will get even livelier with music on two stages.

Plaza Stage

9–10:15 a.m.         DJ John Simmons

10:30–11:30 a.m.  Low-Reen and the Maxwell Street Blues Band

11:30 a.m.–Noon   Mural Dedication with Artists and City Officials

12:30–1:30 p.m.    Los Gallos

2–3 p.m.                Ron Haynes Game Changers

Culture Coach Stage

9:45–10:45 a.m.    Little Miss Ann

10:45–11:30 a.m.  Trqpiteca Club DJ Cqqchifruit

Noon–1 p.m.          Trqpiteca Club DJ La Spacer

1:30–2:30 p.m.      Banda Show Revelación

Much of this event and other summer activities at the Maxwell Street Market are made possible through generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts through an Our Town Grant to support community engagement and neighborhood development.

For over a century, the historic Maxwell Street Market has been offering an eclectic mix of foods and finds—including fresh produce, furniture, clothing, tools, garden plants, collectibles and rare items. The market is also renowned for the best authentic Mexican- and Latin-style street food in Chicago, including tamales, banana leaf-wrapped tamales, tacos, quesadillas with fresh handmade corn tortillas, elotes and corn cakes. The market is open Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit or on facebook @MaxwellStreetMarket.

Produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago City Markets are presented by Humana and sponsored by COUNTRY Financial®, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Tribune.

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