Dates : August 11-11, 2018
Location: North Halsted Street - Chicago
On August 11th and 12th, more than 150,000 gays, lesbians and friends of the GLBT community will converge on North Halsted Street to celebrate the 36th annual Northalsted Market Days. This event is the largest GLBT street fest in the country.
The event takes place on North Halsted, a major Chicago thoroughfare and the historic epicenter of the city's vibrant gay/lesbian community. Market Days spans six city blocks and has 17 entrance gates. It features five music stages where more than 50 musical acts will perform. Many of them are top-name, national headliners.
The event began thirty six years ago as a sidewalk sale in which local merchants put merchandise on the sidewalks and sold for deep discounts. Although the event has morphed into a huge operation, with major entertainment, food, and drink components- it has always retained it's shopping/marketplace roots. Chicagoans from all walks of life come to shop the nearly 400 exhibitor booths . These vendors, from all across the country, apply months in advance for the privilege of showcasing their wares to this huge, upscale crowd with a high disposable income. Vendors are selected for the quality and uniqueness of their wares thus ensuring a unique and fun shopping experience for all.
So iconic is this event within the GLBT community that many attendees, including foreigners, plan their summer vacations around it. 'Market Days' has a pronounced economic impact on both the community and the City of Chicago. Area hotels and restaurants are booked to capacity a year in advance, and bar and restaurant sales begin a significant increase as much as a month in advance of the event.
Media coverage of the event is extensive. Most local TV news gives it coverage, and five or more major radio stations promote the event and have live presence on-site.