Greasy Street Fare and Cool Art at Chicago’s Do Division Festival

This past Saturday, I headed out to Do Division Festival in Wicker Park with my friend Marc and had a wonderful experience. The weather couldn’t have been drawn up any nicer: mid-70s, sunny, and a slight breeze–up and down the street, there was a collective “It’s a great day to be alive!” vibe. Having made it past the gloomy, depressing winter, we’re acutely aware that these days are scarce and special and the enthusiasm in the air is infectious. You have that extra bounce in your step, make immediate friends with strangers, and indulge in greasy food and beer. I’ve been all over the world but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than outside on one of these Midwestern days.

For the festival, Division Street was closed for about four blocks and tents lined the middle of the street with music stages on both ends. The outer tents showcased art, clothes, and other odds and ends from local producers and vendors. While it’s great to window shop, it would have been infinitely cooler with more disposable income–if I ever found myself lucky enough to be in that position I definitely would have come home with some pretty awesome new things to hang on the wall and wear.

Here’s the best stuff I saw on display:

King Lizzy is a Chicago-based non-profit that helps inspire education and entrepreneurialism for both kids and adults. Here are some of the AMAZING custom shoes that were on display, amongst a lot of other really cool clothes. Their storefront is located at 2540 West Division Street. These shoes go for $2-300 but no one else will ever have the same kicks and the money goes to a great cause. If I ever can afford a pair, I’m going to make sure that it comes on a dark base so the shoes don’t get RUINED the first time I wear them.

LUCIUSart Prints – These awesome prints mounted on wood go for just $39. Web site: here

I buried the lede a little bit–of course, the most important thing about street festivals is the FOOD! Do Division had a solid, if small food selection. I was determined to find and HOUSE an Italian Beef sandwich but didn’t have the opportunity. It all ended up OK, though. Here’s what I was able to find:

Cevapcici – Even though this looks sort of like dog poop, it tasted great. The meat is 1/2 beef, 1/4 lamb, and 1/4 pork. Topped with red pepper eggplant sauce.

Pulled Pork Sandwich from Smoke Daddy – This was the best thing I ate all day. Is there another pulled pork sandwich in Chicago that even comes close to being this good? This puts Smoque’s pulled pork to shame.

Here are the kabobs on the grill at Shokolad:

And here’s what they become. I got pretty lucky to get to try these. I was finishing up my pulled pork sandwich, ready to take it easy on the eating front for about an hour or so when Tony and Erica–a really nice and happy couple–sat down. I asked to take a picture of Tony’s kabobs because they looked fabulous, he agreed, and basically gave me 1/3 of his plate. Would this ever happen in New York City or Boston?

I didn’t order or eat any of these fabulous-looking funnel cakes but I DID ask a complete stranger if I could take a picture of hers for my blog. The things I do for my readers.

Because beer at these festivals costs $6, I snuck in a small flask of Captain Morgan’s and mixed it with half-full Diet Cokes in the port-o-potty. I’m classy like that but I absolutely can’t stand being gouged.

There was one bar, whose name now escapes me, that had $3 PBRs. It was worth it just to see the fascinating pouring method that I now wish I took video of:

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