Windy City Smokeout Cooks Over the Weekend

Fri. July 21, 2017 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The annual Windy City Smokeout BBQ & Country Music Fest packed the 560 W. Grand Avenue space once again. This year seemed bigger than ever with Friday July 14 a true test in patience.

After work for many of the attendees a huge line ran down across the bridge and for several blocks. Ticket buyers were waiting in line for their will call wrist bands for the festival for quite some time.

Once inside the lines grew long as time passed to try the BBQ. Even the photo ops to stand in front of a tin can backdrop had people waiting around.

Cash was not king in this place as only credit cards were accepted by the vendors. A cashless wristband option was offered that many used.

There were fun sections to play bags and drink up like the Shiner Bock area and Three Dots and a Dash held a lively rumfest. Jack Daniels had a photo booth and tour in a secluded corner of the festival.

The country music was headlined by Jake Owen, Kip Moore, and Lee Brice over the course of three days. There was also a smaller stage to the north of the festival. It was nice to be in the middle where it was not too loud and just enjoy the BBQ.

There were some excellent pitmasters serving up that tasty food. Pappy's Smokehouse was a stand out along with Hogapalooza. Unfortunately many were not located in Chicago. They can be mail ordered but that's not as appetizing as the fresh ribs that were served here.

There were several food options that were non barbeque this year also such as Aloha Poke, Wow Bao, and Mac Shack. No one should go hungry at this festival but they might be thirsty. La Colombe ran out of coffee on Sunday and there should be water bottle filling stations offered similar to many other music festivals. The country sunshine cooks and liquor dehydrates so water fountains are a matter of safety.

Timing was everything over the weekend. The early birds had a much more enjoyable time and could really partake in what the experience was meant to be, a time to eat, play, and jam out.

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