CHICAGO (SCS) — Sundays on State is back for its second year – this time with an expanded footprint, stretching from Lake Street to Monroe along State Street. The organizers have big goals for the summer street festival.
State Sundays are, of course, about people going out and having fun, but organizers say there’s a deeper purpose: not just to provide an economic boost to Loop businesses hard hit by the pandemic. , but also to change the way people perceive the city center.
“A lot of times people see isolated events on the news, and that’s all they see from their downtown area, because they’re not there as much as they used to be,” said Kiana DiStasi, director of marketing and communications. Chicago Loop Alliance Communications.
The pandemic has thrown the Loop into an identity crisis. But this – art, music, dance, food and fun – is the downtown Chicago Loop Alliance wants you to see.
“Last year for Sundays on the State, we hosted eight of these events. We attracted over half a million attendees through the event footprint and there are no had only one incident of violent crime during Statewide Events Sundays in 2021,” DiStasi said.
Back for its second year, the street festival brings together more than 200 of what the Loop Alliance calls “activations” — restaurants, performances, workout and dance classes, and small businesses. The majority belong to minorities and women.
“As a small business owner, there are a lot of challenges promoting your product as is,” said Taniesha Depluzer.
=Depluzer brought his candle, soap and spray company, Indelible Bliss, to Sundays on State last year. She said following customers was a baptism of fire — in a good way.
“Let’s just say the first day, the first Sunday we came in, the sale was so impactful, we were like, ‘OK! We have to be there next week too,'” she said.
First time Dorien Humphrey is hoping for a similar boost for his booming boutique business. Humphrey said she’ll be opening a storefront near 88th and Stony Island soon, but that puts her in front of customers she might otherwise miss.
“I’m a new business owner, so I think this would also be the best way to get exposure, meet people, network, and get new clients,” she said.
Data from the Chicago Loop Alliance shows that State Sundays 2021 was not just a boon for small businesses that were actually part of the festival, but also for big businesses on State Street. These companies saw their sales and traffic increase by 20% during the events. According to the organization, it’s something everyone loves.
“We really hope to have more of these positive events where people can enjoy and fall in love with their downtown again,” DiStasi said.
In terms of safety, DiStasi said he has a plan in place to keep people safe, but does not expect any issues.
Sundays on State will return for three more Sundays this summer: August 7, August 21 and September 4.