The Big City Blog: Maggie Daley Park ice skating, Sketch Comedy Festival and the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show
Maggie Daley Park’s ice skating ribbon
In the sprawl of the newly constructed, 20-acre Maggie Daley Park, visitors and locals now have the opportunity to ice skate on the winding skate ribbon. Unlike most ice rinks, the ribbon takes people on a twisting trek twice the length of a lap at a standard ice rink. The snaking turns on the track provide skaters with a slew of angles to view the wonderful Chicago skyline; a highlight among many at the new attraction.
Once the snow and ice melt from winter, the ribbon will be open to roller skating, exhibits, special events and more.
Admission is free, and skates can be rented. The line to rent may be long, so bringing your own pair may save you a considerable amount of time.
For more information, visit: www.ChicagoParkDistrict.com
— Scott Hartge
Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival a quirky, community experience
Chicago’s annual Sketch Comedy Festival commenced Jan. 8 with four of its 188 performances at Stage773. The venue’s energy throughout the evening reflected the quirky and lighthearted spirit that is characteristic of Chicago’s comedy scene. The eclectic crowd of festivalgoers outwardly shared little in common but cocktails in hand and a need to make one another laugh; this in itself set the welcoming tone for the nation’s largest sketch comedy festival.
The energy was maintained by one of the fest’s initial shows: Awkward Silence. The audience was comprised of friends, fellow performers and local comedy fans, adding to the festival’s community experience. The jokes followed suit through their punchy one-liners and uniquely relatable themes, such as technology dependence, relationships and needy coworkers.
Attendees were slow to depart following the performances, and the venue lobby appeared to transform into a crowded reunion of old friends. Day one of SketchFest was playful, peculiar and, of course, funny, but the it was the idea of being let in on the sketch community’s inside jokes that made the experience truly stand out.
The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival runs through Jan. 18 at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont). www.ChicagoSketchFest.com
— Maddy Bourque
The Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Jan. 17-18
The Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, now in its 11th year, will be showcasing tasty foods and family-friendly demonstrations from cultures around the world on Jan. 17 and 18. Its goal is to acquaint you with potential destination spots for that dream vacation.
Obviously, a very important part of planning a trip is whether you will enjoy the cuisine of your destination. Luckily, the show has that covered with their Taste of Travel stage. Chicago-area chefs will prepare meals (crepes, pan-seared sea scallops, flatbread pizzas, etc.) from around the globe with a contemporary, personalized spin.
If you aren’t too swept up in the food, you can enjoy various cultural dance routines and musical pieces at the Global Beat stage. The cultural and artistic importance of each act will also be explained to help fully immerse you in the performances. And kids can experience a camel ride, pet Alaskan husky sled dogs and become friends with animals from Sea World. Travel experts will also be giving priceless tips about exploring the globe.
The Chicago Travel & Adventure is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. For more info, visit www.Travelshows.com/Chicago
— Scott Hartge