Sidetrack welcomes large crowds to the 'best Market Days'

Mon. August 21, 2023 8:16 AM by Ross Forman

photo credit // sidetrack

‘It’s a joy to welcome people from around the world for Market Days weekend, show them what a great city and community we have in Chicago,’ says Brad Balof, general manager of Sidetrack

With near-perfect weekend weather and no side factors such as COVID-19 looming over the 2023 Northalsted Market Days, the annual street festival wasn’t just good … “it was the best Market Days we have experienced,” said Brad Balof, general manager of Sidetrack, located in the heart of the Lakeview neighborhood commonly called Boystown.

“It was great, after three years, to have a Market Days that was not plagued with bad weather or (other) concerns. The Northalsted Business Alliance and Special Events Management did an excellent job of creating a smooth set-up, a great talent line-up and additional fun features throughout the street fest.”

Balof said visitors to Chicago for the annual August two-day music-filled event on Wednesday, August 9 – with the actual fest happening on Saturday and Sunday, August 12-13.

“We often had a line that stretched down to The Chicago Diner,” Balof said. “The team at Sidetrack did an amazing job of welcoming visitors to Sidetrack and to Market Days.”

Sidetrack opened early all weekend and had hosted programming every day and night of the weekend, including a Men’s Room Glow Party on Thursday night. Sidetrack’s renowned Sunday Funday Show Tunes started early on Sunday. Plus, Sidetrack had a collection of unique photo-ops out front that saw thousands of visitors over the two days.

“Our crowds (inside) were plentiful over the weekend. People were in good spirits and having a lot of fun,” said Balof, whose personal weekend highlight was meeting RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone and Drag Race superstar Courtney Act.

“I was surprised how smooth everything ran over the weekend. Our outside photo-ops and grand entrance into Sidetrack was a great success. There were lines of people taking pictures all day long.”

Sidetrack dedicated its outside space to photo-ops that celebrated Market Days, Chicago and the LGBTQ+ Community.

Though there are events at Sidetrack continually, the next gay high holiday is Halloween – and Sidetrack always delivers a scary October shine.

“Market Days is a great celebration, in one of the most established and flourishing LGBTQ+ business districts in the country,” Balof said. “It’s a joy to welcome people from around the world for Market Days weekend, show them what a great city and community we have in Chicago. 

“I also want to give a huge shout-out to Sidetrack staff and all the service industry staff who worked over the weekend. They are the ambassadors to our neighborhood and our city. They are the heroes of the weekend and the reason for its success.”

View photos from Market Days 2023