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A Fall Trip to Chicago: A fiery festival and historic inn combined with a little pasta

Published In the Battle Creek Enquirer

We love visiting Chicago any time of year. It is truly one of the great cities, always offering something new and exciting to experience. Next weekend, though, is a truly unique, first time ever event that is worth a visit.

In 1871, according to legend, a cow kicked over a lantern in a barn and started the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for two days in October of that year. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed thousands of buildings, killed an estimated 300 people and caused an estimated $200 million in damages. Following the huge blaze, the city rebuilt quickly, demonstrating a gritty Chicago can-do attitude.

Next Saturday, join locals along the Chicago River for the inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival. This different kind of event is billed as a celebration Chicago’s epic resurgence and strength after the Great Fire of 1871. You might ask, “How does one celebrate such an enormous tragedy?” At 8 p.m., fiery cauldrons will be lowered from the bridges, hundreds of kayakers will pull flaming buoys, and three floating sculptures resembling pre-1871 homes will be set ablaze, each revealing a dramatic interior core. The final extravaganza will be a fireworks show set to music in celebration of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Before the spectacle, starting at 3 p.m., you can stroll along the Riverwalk to sample different food vendors, crafts booths and music. And after the smoke clears, there’s another party aptly called the Afterburn at the Redmoon Theatre. Music, street food, and signature cocktails will entertain participants until the proverbial cows come home at 2 a.m.


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