#SouthSidePride: The 2019 Chicago Brew Fest



The Hyde Park brew fest happens every year in the heart of downtown Hyde Park Chicago.   Part beer fest, street best and food fest, the festival includes food, beers, ciders and some of the best hip-hop and house music by incredible DJs.  The 2 day festival was free to attend and was a perfect event to kick off your summer.  (www.hbrewfest.com) I was honored to cover the brew fest this year as the official blogger and attended both days.  As MC and radio personality, Leon Rodgers said, “This is the Chicago they don’t want you to see”.  It was a sea of people partying in peace on the Southside of Chicago. Where were the news cameras to capture all of this peace and positivity?  This is one of the reasons my website exists. This is the Chicago I know and love so much. This is one of the many reasons why #SummerTimeChi is like no other.  When the community comes out in peace and positivity, we send a message to the world that we are so much better than what they show in mainstream media. This is my #SouthSidePride.


Saturday, I started my day by visiting the vendors at the Brew Fest.  One of the best things about the brew fest is the number of unique items you can purchase.  Clothing, Beauty and Hair products, men’s grooming products, jewelry, incredible art, cigars and home décor items were just a few things offered at the brew fest.  I met some incredible small business owners and grabbed a few things for myself! Joe Kollege, DJ Tasha, That’s Broadway, Jay Illa, Dave Jeff, DJ Mustafa Rocks, DJ Mars, Mad Skills and DJ Clark Kent were on Saturday’s musical lineup.  The rain unfortunately canceled some of the musical performances but before the rain appeared, the people were grooving in the streets. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a beer drinker but decided to give some a try at the beer tasting garden. It was the perfect opportunity to try different types of beers and ciders.  I grabbed my tickets and souvenir glass and headed inside to a world I was unfamiliar with.  Each vendor was extremely helpful and informative in helping me try different beers and ciders.   I’m still not much of a beer drinker but I definitely loved some of the ciders!!!  My beer drinking friends who were with me loved the mix of different beers and the flavors.  I really enjoyed my Japanese beer and a cider that tasted like a Pina colada! If you were a beer or cider lover, the beer tasting garden was a cornucopia of tasty choices.

Then….the heavens opened!!!

There were a few brief moments of rain and then the sun came out but then the heavens opened!  Attendees ran for cover under tents and into the many Hyde Park restaurants and attempted to “Wait out the storm” it became clear the storm wasn’t ending. Hail, Wind and Rain ripped through the brew fest and brought our day to a close.  If you follow me on Facebook, I captured the entire hilarious moment when we ran for cover! The spirit of the day was unmoved, in spite of the inclement weather, the vibe and energy of the brew fest was amazing. I eagerly looked forward to day 2!


I headed out to the brew fest especially looking forward to Sunday’s musical lineup!  I was intent on enjoying every set from beginning to end!  Fathom opened the brew fest with incredible energy, her joy was absolutely infectious and she set the mood and the tone for the entire day.  J. Grilla followed up with one of the best sets of the day combining a mix of house and 90s hip hop and R& B that had the crowd dancing in the streets.   Jesse De La Pena followed with an eclectic set rooted in Latin rhythms and Afro beats.   This star studded lineup continued with DJ Nick Non-Stop and Chosen Few DJ, Alan King who both had the crowd screaming in musical agreement with outstanding individual sets. By this time, the brew fest was jammed packed with partygoers dancing in the streets!  Biz Markie took the crowd down memory lane with classic hip hop tracks that had all of us reminiscing about those days when 90s hip hop was the soundtrack to our lives.  For the Finale, Chosen Few DJ and Grammy Nominated Producer, Terry Hunter, closed out the night with incredible performances by Terisa Griffin, Chantay Savage, Byron Stingly, Mark Hubbard & the Voices and Estelle!!! The music was an incredible soundtrack to an extraordinary day of fun and fellowship among friends.  It was an amazing way to close out a perfect day. 

The weather was perfect, the sun was shining and cool breezes filled the air.  Patrons enjoyed food from local restaurants and a sampling of beers and ciders from various Midwest breweries.  Local vendors lined the streets with various art, jewelry, and apparel. The hosts for the weekend, Dave Jeff and Leon Rodgers were the perfect mix of humor and lighthearted fun. They kept the crowed engaged and entertained throughout the weekend and did an incredible job.   

The Takeaway

I was in awe of how incredibly beautiful and unique everyone was.  Everyone looked good! The men were fly and the ladies were gorgeous.  We have such an incredible sense of style and it was evident in the clothing and hairstyles that covered the heart of Hyde Park on a Sunday Afternoon.  It was such a strong contrast to the images you see in mainstream media.  Happy, fun-loving people greeting old friends and making new ones; taking photos and creating memories was what I saw.  I saw and felt pure joy as I walked through downtown Hyde Park looking at my people enjoying our city as a community.  United in our love of culture, music, great beer and cocktails, the community and all of its beauty was on full display for everyone to see.   As crowded as it was, the energy was positive and beautiful.  It was a peace and love filled day with people of all ages, races enjoying food, drinks and music. 

Congratulations to the entire staff of the Hyde Park Brew Fest for creating an event for the community that showcases the best of who we really are.  It’s a must attend event in #SummerTimeChi. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be your official blogger for the 2019 Hyde Park Brew Fest. 

-Black Widow


Black Widow

D.Sanders, a Chicago native, is a devoted mother, blogger and writer who is passionate about her family, friends, women's rights, living authentically and telling her story.   She is also a spoken word recording artist under the name, Black Widow. She has been writing and blogging for over 15 years providing commentary and expressing thought on life, love and relationships. Her artistry can be heard on two house music singles, “Rough”, and “Gruv Me” released by Grammy Nominated Producer and CEO of T’s Box Records & T’s Crates, Terry Hunter under the production of Mike Dunn and Dee Jay Alicia. . Both singles reached #1 on Traxsource’s Afrohouse and charted top ten overall as well reaching the top ten in their year of release.  She splits her time blogging about the Chicago Dance Music Scene on www.blkwidowmusic.com and on her book’s website, www.thesumofmanythings.com.  She is excited about her debut book, The Sum of Many Things, scheduled for release in June 2017.   She wears many hats but refuses to be placed in a box.  She believes that women are "The Sum of Many Things".  Embracing all of her roles as a woman, she firmly believes in breaking free of preconceived notions of womanhood.   She believes it is her mission to define her own life experience, femininity and sexuality and not have it defined by society.  She openly shares her story with hopes that women understand their worth, power and place in this world.