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Old Town Art Fair Joins Other Events Coming Back This Summer After Being Shuttered By The Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Summer 2021 is going to be ripe with color and music.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a culture comeback as part of the city's newest reopening phase.

CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported from Old Town Wednesday on what this means for the artists.

For the first time in more than a year, performers returned to the stage at the Goodman Theatre, and soon, audiences will as well.

The Grant Park Music Fest, Taste of Chicago, and City Markets are just some events given the green light to reopen.

And also coming back is the Old Town Art Fair.

The junction of Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Park West, and Wisconsin Street is typically where the Old Town Art Fair is held. Last year, the streets were empty and the event moved online. But this year, the festival is back on and there's a lot of excitement.

No more empty stages, and no more empty festival streets.

"It's time for the arts. It's also time to live again. It's time for us to sing and have our music and have our art," said Dorothy DeCarlo, President of the Old Town Triangle Association.

For the ladies who run the Old Town Art Fair, the move by the city to greenlight festivals and performing art is a breath of fresh air.

"We worried about the artists because that's their income," DeCarlo said.

"It was not the same last summer during this weekend, we all just felt a little down," said Anne Giffels, Old Town Art Fair Chair.

The Old Town Art Fair would bring hundreds of artists together for a few days every year for 70 years - until last year.

"Artists that go to art fairs, they lost their source of revenue. We had an online art fair to do the best we could do to help them," Giffels said. "It's just not the same."

Now, one of the hardest hit industries is making its culture comeback.

Some of the confirmed returning include Taste of Chicago and Pride in the Park at the end of June, the Southport Art Fair in July, the Chinatown Summer Fair around the same time and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival at the end of September.

And of course, once again, the Old Town Art Fair.

"It's a win win and I'm really excited if you can tell," DeCarlo said.

That excitement, painted on her face, captured in a photo taken during the city's news conference on Wednesday.

"Chicago is coming back. We're still following safety protocols, but we're back. To have it back is really exciting," Giffels said.

There will be a capped capacity which means you'll have to pre-register to go to some of these festivals, like this one June 12th and June 13th in Old Town.



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