An Afternoon at World Music Festival | Navy Pier

It’s one of those classic fall days, still warm enough, but perfect weather for a light sweater and scarf, especially with that slight breeze coming off of Lake Michigan. I’ve got a cold one in front of me and am shimmying along to the hot rhythms of a little samba. Could this day get any better?

Let me back up a little here. So my mom’s in town for the weekend. Being the considerate daughter I am, I asked her what she’d like to do during her visit and she said, “Whatever you think is best, honey. It’s your city after all.” For some reason, that really put the pressure on me. I mean, it’s not like I have a super picky mom or anything, but I rarely get to see her anymore, especially just for a one-on-one visit, and I wanted our ladies’ weekend to be extra special.

I brainstormed for a while one night until it hit me: Navy Pier! There’s only about a million unique things to do there, both inside and outside. Plus, when I went online to Navy Pier’s website, I noticed there was a World Music Festival going on at the Landshark Beer Garden and it was free. Mom loves music and free things—I was pretty sure she’d be impressed.

We started out our Saturday on the Pier with lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Mom’s treat. She even insisted I order dessert, my very own slice of Key Lime Pie, which made me so excited I could have sworn I was five again. And, because one dessert is never enough, we split a double scoop of Cookies & Cream from the Haagen-Dasz shop – heaven in a dish.

Next, it was off for a leisurely ride on Navy Pier’s infamous Ferris wheel. We got a lot of great pictures of the skyline (and failed attempts of the both of us) from the very top.

We ended the afternoon by strolling through some of the shops—Mom got an awesome purse at Handbag Couture and I picked her up a T-shirt from the Navy Pier Signature Store—and then it was off to the Landshark Beer Garden for an evening of world music. We caught the very end of Sénéké’s set, this eclectic group of West African performers who really got the crowd going with their smooth harmonies and driving drum beats.

And that brings me to the present moment. Unidos do Quilombo, a Brazilian percussion ensemble, is really tearing it up; even Mom’s up on her feet and dancing. I thought we might head out before it got dark, but it looks like Mom wants to stay. No complaints here! Slavic Soul Party!, a funky Balkan Gypsy dance band, is still to take the stage and I think I hear Harry Caray’s Tavern calling my name for dinner!

The World Music Festival runs Friday, September 21 through Thursday, September 27. Visit here for information on all of the great performances in store!

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