We typically hit you with the Weekend Alert on Thursdays, but with July 4 stealing our franchise's shine, we're lacing you with weekend plans two days early. You're welcome. Over the next five days, Chicago's sky will be lit with pyrotechnics, the beach will bounce to the organ-rattling bass of Wavefront Music Festival, and the South Side will echo back with the beats of Chosen Few Picnic. Show out, it's time to make weekend plans.

Fourth of July Fireworks (7/4)

Chicago lights up like a Roman Candle every July, and this Thursday is no different. The Music Box Theatre is hosting a sing-a-long of Grease, one of the truly great summer movies of all-time. After you peak on an especially spirited rendition of "You're the One That I Want," make your way to Navy Pier for the fireworks display. If you're looking to sit on a boat, all major companies offer Fourth of July options. For a list of Chicago's tour boat companies, click here  (and act with urgency because those seats go fast).

This Weekend's Street Festivals (7/5-7/7)


This weekend you'll find us getting buck to Bob Marley covers at the African Caribbean International Festival of Life, consuming an irresponsible amount of pork at Windy City RibFest, and feasting through the Taste of Lakeview one delicious bite of the North Side neighborhood at a time.

Wavefront Music Festival (7/5-7/7)

DJs from throughout the world will be at Montrose Beach to mash-up and remix your body into dance chaos. Seriously, expect a handful of bikini clad club kids to become YouTube sensations after this one. Big names like DJ 3LAU, Fatboy Slim and Diplo will be on hand, but don't sleep on the festival's undercards, which include Audiofly, Rusko and Chicago-based Inphinity.

Chose Few Old School Picnic (7/6)

This festival is like a family reunion, if there were 30,000 people in your bloodline and your team celebrated by wild ‘n out on a giant grass dance floor. Chosen Few Old School Picnic is different from other festivals in that guests set up tents and host impromptu cookouts. It's a sense of community that you'd expect from a festival that actually calls itself a "picnic." The music's on point, too. Chosen Few DJs will spin sets (as they have since 1990), but they'll have help from locals like Ron Trent, Greg Gray, and national touring artist Crystal Waters.

Counting Crows & The Wallflowers (7/7)

There are only two CDs I've ever stolen from my dad (I'd have taken more, but dude has deplorable taste), and they were Counting Crow's The Desert Life and The Wallflowers' Breach. I used to take those joints to junior high and blow out my Sony portable getting turnt by the era's adult contemporary hit makers. Go ahead and judge me. Anyway, these two bands are actually performing together and I'm having vivid flashbacks to 1999 just thinking about it. I'm sure pops will be front row screaming the lyrics of "Hand Me Down" to a clearly bothered Jakob Dylan, and that's worth the trip to Northerly Island on its own merit.

For a detailed and up-to-the-minute calendar of Chicago events, click here.

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