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Sundays on State returns for second year

Sundays on State returns to the Loop for 2nd year
Sundays on State returns to the Loop for 2nd year 02:53

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Sundays on State is back for its second year -- this time with an expanded footprint, stretching from Lake Street to Monroe along State Street. Organizers have big goals for the summer street festival. 

Sundays on State are of course about people coming out and enjoying themselves, but organizers say there's a deeper purpose: not just to bring an economic boost to Loop businesses hit hard by the pandemic but also change the way people perceive downtown.

"A lot of times people are seeing isolated events on the news, and that's all that they're seeing of their downtown since they're not here as much as they used to be," said Kiana DiStasi, chief marketing and communications officer of Chicago Loop Alliance.

The pandemic thrust the Loop into an identity crisis. But this -- art, music, dance, food and fun -- is the downtown the Chicago Loop Alliance wants you to see.

"Last year for Sundays on State, we had eight of these events. We attracted over half a million attendees through the event footprint and there was not a single incident of violent crime at Sundays on State events in 2021," said DiStasi. 

Back for its second year, the street festival brings together more than 200 of what the Loop Alliance calls 'activations' -- restaurants, performances, workout and dance classes and small businesses. The majority are minority and women owned.

"Being a small business owner, there's a lot of challenges to promoting your product as is," said Taniesha Depluzer. 

=Depluzer brought her candle, soap and spray business, Indelible Bliss, to Sundays on State last year. She said keeping up with the customers was baptism by fire -- in a good way.

"Let's just say the first day, the first Sunday we came, the sale was so impactful, we were like, 'OK! We gotta be around next week too,'" she said. 

First timer Dorien Humphrey is hoping for a similar boost to her burgeoning boutique business. Humphrey said she'll soon open a storefront near 88th and Stony Island, but this gets her in front of customers she might otherwise miss.

"I'm a new business owner so I think this would also be the best way to get exposure, meet people, network and get new customers," she said. 

Data from the Chicago Loop Alliance shows the 2021 Sundays on State weren't just a boon for the small businesses actually part of the festival, but the big businesses along State Street, too. Those businesses saw a 20% increase in sales and traffic during the events. As the organization sees it, that's something for everyone to love.

"We're really hoping to have more of these positive events where people can enjoy and fall in love with their downtown again," DiStasi said. 

In terms of security, DiStasi said they do have a plan in place to keep people safe but don't expect any issues. 

Sundays on State will return for three more Sundays this summer: Aug. 7, Aug. 21 and Sept. 4. 

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