More than a Daley grind
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Get in on a one-time special event from Chicago Detours that will tour artist studios, a factory, warehouse, church and artisanal bakery in the Bridgeport neightborhood. On the 2.5-hour walking tour, you'll explore contemporary art galleries, such as Co-Prosperity Sphere, and also step back in time with a visit to Decorator's Supply, a historic manufacturer of architectural details that started its business with the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Bridgeport History of Creative Production includes tour guide commentary, exclusive entrance into historic buildings, and a savory pie and treat from Pleasant House Bakery at the end of the tour.
10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. Meet at The Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St., Chicago. Tickets are $30 per person; the group is limited to 20 guests. For reservation, visit chicagodetours.com.
There's a new museum in Chicago, and what a doozy it is: The Ed Paschke Art Center includes gallery space, educational space and a re-creation of Ed Paschke's 2004 studio. View the permanent Paschke collection showcasing the distinct, in-your-face style that the artist explored, as well as the work of other Chicago artists. Upcoming events include a Paul Natkin photography exhibition and a Steve Schapiro exhibit: Andy Warhol, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave., Chicago. Free. (312) 533-4911 or edpaschke.org.
Drop the electronics in time for National Relaxation Day (Aug. 15) and chill at the Hotel Monaco Chicago, which is offering a Black Out Digital Detox Package. Ditch the gadgets and devices at the front desk for this unique package that gets you overnight accommodations in the Tranquility Suite; a safe surrender of your electronic devices at check-in where they'll be kept under lock and key until your departure; complimentary tech-free amenities based on your favorite ways to relax; a $30 in-room spa credit; and late check-out, if available.
Package is valid through the end of 2014. Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago. Rates start at $349/night. Book at monaco-chicago.com or call (866) 610-0081 and mention rate code BLKOUT. There's a five-day advance booking window.
Train is a-comin,' oh yeah
All aboard for a Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. Young conductors and their parents take a ride with their favorite tank engine, meet the railway controller, Sir Topham Hatt, have fun in the Imagination Station, enjoy storytelling, hands-on arts and crafts, puppet and magic shows, clowns, balloon animals and live music. Tickets include unlimited rides on all other trains and streetcars and access to all museum exhibits. Food, snacks and beverages are available at several locations around the museum grounds.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Aug. 16-17 & 23-24. Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union, IL. Tickets are $21 each and may be purchased online at irm.org/thomas or by calling (815) 923-4000.
All the bells and penny whistles
Milwaukee Irish Fest will celebrate bagpipes, ballads and more as part of the Scotland Music Showcase at the 2014 festival along Milwaukee's lakefront. Hear Irish traditional, Celtic rock, singer-songwriter, folk and ballad, dance and contemporary world music while sampling a variety of Irish foods -- including baked potatoes, Irish stew, fish 'n' chips, Shepherd's pie, corned beef sandwiches and bangers. Visit the cultural area, Jameson lounge, to see the Celtic canines and participate in family activities.
5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug, 14; 4 to midnight, Friday, Aug. 15; noon to midnight, Saturday. Aug. 16; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17. Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Admission is $17; $12 for seniors; and kids 12 and under are free; Thursday admission for anyone over 12 is $5, and Sunday is free if you donate a nonperishable food item by 11 a.m. (at the South Gate). irishfest.com or (414) 476-3378
Play that funky music
Kenosha's 11th annual HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival fills the lakeshore along Celebration Place. Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp and Paul Jackson Jr. perform as Jazz Funk Soul. Hear the Chicago-style blues of Terry James and the Blue Flames and Nellie "Tiger" Travis -- winner of the Blues Critics 2013 Readers Poll award as best female vocal performance. Other acts include Everette Harp, smooth jazz guitarist Paul Jackson Jr.; singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Terry James; and Chicago's talented trumpeter, Corey Wilkes and his Quartet. Stop by The Cooking Studio, an interactive cooking demonstration, to learn preparation techniques for roasting a Wisconsin Berkshire Pig.
1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. 206 55th St., Kenosha, Wisconsin. Advance tickets are $30, or $35 at the gate. The Texas Roadhouse VIP lounge tickets are $85; visitkenosha.com.