Graphic of a young couple enjoying autumn leaves

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Embracing November and Upcoming Holidays!

Graphic of a young couple enjoying autumn leaves

As we embrace the arrival of November plus our next two holidays of the season, this weekend not only offers us some fun and exciting events before all the holiday hoopla begins, but it also gives us the opportunity to get a head start on this year’s holiday shopping!

It’s a perfect weekend for the Hot Chocolate Run this Sunday (7:30 a.m.) held at Grant Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop, especially after our first sign of snow this past Tuesday!  This annual race features a 5K (3.1 miles) and a 15K (9.3 miles) with each participant receiving an exclusive, race-themed full-zip hoodie, and a finisher’s medal that looks like a cup of hot cocoa.  But wait, there’s more!  The post-race party will have runners enjoying music as they receive their finisher’s mug filled with the best hot chocolate along with chocolate fondue and tasty dippable treats.  It’s the fastest-growing race series in the nation, and not to be missed!

For all the beer aficionados out there, the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers, more commonly known as FoBAB, takes place this Saturday (1 p.m.) at the UIC Credit Union One Arena (525 S. Racine Ave.) on the West Side in the Little Italy neighborhood.  This year, over 190 participating breweries from across the country, including local spots, will submit their most exciting wood and barrel-aged beer, cider, mead, and perry for judging by an expert panel awarding gold, silver, and bronze medals as well as “Best in Show” across 12 style categories.  Two tasting sessions give attendees an opportunity to sample these entries from the craft breweries.  Plus, a Lager Lounge provides a reprieve from the higher ABV samples at the festival as well as the new Super Zero Lounge hosted by Revolution Brewing and showcasing their new Super-Zero Sparkling Hop Water.  FoBAB is North America’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition of its kind with Illinois being the crown jewel in the U.S.!

For all the wine connoisseurs out there, the Chicago Zoological Society will be hosting Wines in the Wild this Saturday (6 p.m.-10 p.m.) at Brookfield Zoo (8400 31st St.) in Brookfield.  The evening will offer guests wine or liquor tastings with representatives from wineries and distilleries across the U.S. in the newly renovated Discovery Center at the zoo.  Plus, delicious hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction with unique travel, wine, and Zoo-centric items, and up-close experiences with some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors round out the evening!

I’ve heard that it’s never too early to begin your holiday shopping so, here are two events to get you started:

Chicago’s favorite night market is kicking off the festive season with SAUCED Night Market this Saturday (5 p.m.-10 p.m.) on the second floor of the WNDR Museum (1130 W. Monroe St.) in the West Loop.  Dozens of the Midwest’s finest vendors will be selling handmade goods, vintage clothing, jewelry, prints, and more treasures as well as offering food from local eateries, drinks, and music from DJ Johnny Walker.  In addition, this market is free to attend with RSVP and open to guests of all ages!

Come explore, discover, experience, and celebrate the latest toys and games for this holiday season at the 2023 Holiday Chicago Toy & Game Fair this Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont.  This fair is open to the public and features immersive events, interactive exhibits, giveaways, characters, and activities for all ages!  You’re sure to find some great additions for your collection of toys and games!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago