One of the largest outdoor street festivals in the Midwest, Market Days began in 1982 and returned in 2021 for the 39th time. The Lake View area outdoor celebration ran Aug. 6-8 after being cancelled the previous year due to the COVID pandemic.
A $15 donation was recommended at the entrance gates to benefit the Northhalsted Business Alliance and also pay for the vast array of talent that performed on the five stages.
The half-mile-long party traditionally spans from Belmont to Addison avenues, down North Halsted Street. Crowding was a concern for many after a possibly highly contagious variant may have entered the state from travelers. Several of the bars in the area required vaccination cards, along with identification, to enter. Organizers of the festival monitored the guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closely to ensure the event was as safe as possible.
More than 250 vendors lined the sidewalks on each side of Halsted Street with booths from various businesses. Bravo celebrities from Family Karma sold their underwear line UDP, Underwear Dance Party, amid the numerous clothing vendors on the strip.
The talent on the three-day lineup began Aug. 6 with the Latina platinum-selling artist Lisa Lisa and concluded with RuPaul Drag Race All Star season-three winner Trixie Mattel. Some rain bookended the weekend, but did not seem to dampen the spirits of the LGBTQ+ jamboree.
On Aug. 7, Jody Watley sang "Looking for a New Love" as an eager fan tried to rush the stage, but was swiftly stopped by security. It was "Still a Thrill" for many to see Jody Watley, including mayor Lori Lightfoot, who took to the stage after Watley's set to say she was a fan of the singer's music. Lightfoot said, "Let's have fun, and love each other this summer!"
CeCe Peniston wore her Versace purse onstage (explaining that she was worried someone might steal it), had technical trouble and called people out in the crowd for not being more enthusiastic. Is it "Finally" time to take a break from performing live?
Singer Greyson Chance attracted many younger fans to the Bud Light Seltzer Stage on Brompton Avenue on Aug. 7. After his set, he took a tumble down the stairs after feeling light-headed. Medics quickly arrived to assist him in a case of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Aug. 8 festivities began with the multitalented Todrick Hall going all out with flamboyant costume changes and impressive dance moves. He made powerful statements about relationships and being out in mainstream media, giving props to Lil Nas X and RuPaul. He ended his performance by bringing two fans up on the stage with him. Ryan Goszkowicz proposed to partner Brad Zinda in front of a supportive audience, who cheered when Zinda said, "I do."
The FIERCE Project performed publicly together for the first time later that evening to raise awareness of violence against Black and Latin trans women. The trio was composed of Ultra Nate, Angelica Ross and Mila Jam, who conducted individual sets separately before joining together for the new anthem "Fierce."
Openly gay country artists Ty Herndon and Steve Grand both played at the Nissan Partners of Progress Stage on Roscoe Street over the weekend. Many other popular local singers and bands also worked that same stage, such as JC Brooks, Rod Tuffcurls and Catfight with different degrees of popularity.
Hopefully, the general state of the world is in a good place for Market Days to commemorate 40 years of prosperity in 2022. Only time will tell. Visit NorthHalsted.com for updates in the future.