Celebrate The 606 at Its One-Year Anniversary Party Next Month

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The anniversary celebration will feature many processions like this one, which took place on opening day. Photo: John Greenfield

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a year since the Bloomingdale Trail, also known as The 606, debuted last June 6th (6/06). The elevated greenway already seems like a Chicago institution, and it’s a little hard to remember a time Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park didn’t have a ribbon of recreational space running through them.

On Saturday, June 4, the Chicago Park District and the Trust for Public Land, which is managing the ongoing development of the path and access park system, are celebrating its one-year anniversary with The 606 Block Party. The festival will be similar to last year’s opening celebration, which drew an estimated 50,000 attendees to check out the new trail, a street party on Humboldt Boulevard, live music, and parades along the path.

“It was no small task to turn an unused rail line into a green, open space – with a network of parks, art installations and community programming that supports recreation, education, and wellness,” stated Jamie Simone, who took the reins of TPLs regional office after director Beth White recently stepped down to lead a parks group in Houston. “The 606 Block Party is our way of thanking the communities, partners and donors who helped build this beloved Chicago park and make it a success.”

The opening of the Bloomingdale has helped spur a wave of upscale along the trail corridor, and some longtime residents have expressed concerns that rising property values, property taxes, and rents may price them out of the area. However, TPL noted in the news release for the anniversary celebration that, in addition to the trail’s massive popularity as a recreational resource, there have been a number of positive milestones on the trail in the past year year:

  • The installation of Chakaia Booker’s “Brick House 2015” sculpture
  • Star-gazing events with the Adler Planetarium and the Chicago Park District at the observatory at the path’s western trailhead
  • Youth ambassadors from West Town Bikes promoting bike safety on the path
  • Moos Elementary School students participating in an after-school running club
  • Quarterly celebrations and community events with Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail.

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Chakaia Booker’s sea serpent-like “Brick House 2015” sculpture. Photo: John Greenfield

The celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. Once again Humboldt Boulevard will be pedestrianized between Wabansia Avenue and Cortland Avenue, with two music stages, one curated by Vocalo and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, and the other featuring featuring SummerDance-style dance lessons and bands. Acts include: Luis Palermo and the Barsa All-Stars (salsa), The Flat Five (alternative Country), Los Vicios de Papá (Latin ska /reggae), and Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players (children’s music).

Throughout the day, the Chicago Park District’s Kidsmobile will host crafts activities at Julia de Burgos Park and playground games at Walsh Park, while artists from Opera-Matic and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center perform along the trail. Local residents and community organizations are invited to form their own processions along the path leading to the Humboldt Boulevard fest.

At the end of the day, artists will help attendees to make illuminated objects, and there will be an “Illumination Hour” parade on the trail from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. A full list of schedule of the day’s activities is available at www.the606.org.

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