Local

Hot weekend in store as festivals kick off

Friday, June 08, 2012

As temperatures in Chicago soar, the city is preparing to keep residents safe while they enjoy the hot weather.

The mercury will hover around 90 -- or higher -- over the weekend.

"Lots of sunshine to go along with that," said ABC7 Metereologist Tracy Butler. "Very dry weather conditions coming our way throughout the weekend."

The hot weather comes as a number of big festivals take place this weekend. Blues Fest -- celebrating its 29th year -- in Grant Park tops the list. If you're looking for a smaller street fest this weekend, try the Old Town Art Fair or Ribfest at Irving and Lincoln.

All free festivals in Chicago take year-round planning from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preparing for weather is always unpredictable, but the city constantly monitors weather updates and coordinates with other departments to make sure the festivals are safe.

While no heat advisories are expected, city officials are reminding residents of the cooling options that are available.

"We have CTA cooling buses on standby," said John Trick, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "The park districts put out extra water fountains throughout the park and our misting units. We have the fire department and misting units."

Residents can also call 3-1-1 to request a ride to a cooling shelter. The city also reminds residents to check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled. Doctors advise everyone to drink plenty of water.

With plenty of cold beverages on hand, Blues Fest visitors are shielding themselves from the hot sun with sunscreen and umbrellas.

"This is fantastic weather," said Damon Joyner of Alabama. "If we were home right now, it would be 100."

The city will have a PA system throughout the festival to constantly remind people to stay hydrated. Sunday is expected to be the hottest day. It's also the day with the hottest lineup at Blues Fest with a tribute to KoKo Taylor and all women performers. It will be capped off with a performance by Mavis Staples.

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