Tomato Battle

With neighborhood block parties and large-scale festivals occurring on a daily basis this summer, some of Chicago's seasonal revelry gets overlooked. If you're fiending for a crash course in tequila, a stadium-wide food fight or a race to literally brighten your day, Chicago has you covered. Check out our picks for can't-miss (and especially unique) summer festivals.

Unique Spirits of Mexico (June 26, Zocalo Restaurant & Tequila Bar)

No liquor cabinet is complete without an agave-based bottle, and Unique Spirits of Mexico will help you discover your south of the border spirit of choice. This festival focuses on tequila, sotol, mezcal, wine and liquers produced in Mexico. You can expect educational seminars from top distillers, tastings and, of course, plenty of lime chasers. Tickets are still available for this weekend's event at Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar, act now.

Chicago Tomato Battle (July 6, Soldier Field)

Thousands of produce pelters will gather in Soldier Field for an event that promises dancing, beer and an enormous food fight. Some 300,000 pounds of roma tomatoes (all previously marked for disposal) will be flung until the stadium looks like a small lake of ketchup. Afterwards, combatants can expect live entertainment and a steady beer flow until 7PM. An extra change of clothes is strongly suggested.  

Color Me Rad 5K (July 20, Soldier Field)

If you're looking for a race to brighten your day, consider one that bombs you with color. The Color Me Rad 5K pelts its racers with shades of blue, pink, yellow and green throughout the run. By the end, the finish line looks like the floor at a Grateful Dead concert, only sweatier. The dye is non-toxic corn starch, so don't worry about developing black tie dyed lung when the race is through.

Westside Music Festival (August 23-25, Douglas Park)

While marquee events like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest hog most of Chicago's music related jubilee this summer, Westside Music Festival promises one of the season's most underrated lineups. Raheem DeVaughn and Avery Sunshine top the bill for the August 24 concert, which is sandwiched between an invitation-only reception on August 23 and a back-to-school family day in Douglas Park on August 25.

Happy festing.

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