On Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, the city of Highwood will proudly host the third annual Redhead Days Chicago Affiliate. As the first (and only so far) United States Affiliate of the world renowned Redhead Days festival originating in Breda, Holland, the Chicago area event will be presented again by Highwood's own Alex's Washington Gardens and Ginger's of Highwood along with Redhead Piano Bar. Festival grounds will be located at Everts Park, 130 Highwood Ave.
Seeking to unite the global Redhead community through their three core values of bonding, pride and recognition, Highwood's second annual Redhead Days brought over 4,000 people, including 1,100 registered redheads, of all ages from around the country. Visitors came from as far away as Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Washington. D.C., as well as neighboring Midwest states of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Redhead Days Chicago Affiliate 2017Highwood's third annual Redhead Days will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 10; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at Everts Park, 130 Highwood Ave., Highwood.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Music by School of Rock Highwood
11:30 a.m. Hula hoop contest
12:30 p.m. Reddest dog contest
1-2 p.m. Erin La Rosa author presentation
2-4 p.m. Carrot cake throwdown
4-7 p.m. Music by John Zamojcin presented by The Redhead Piano Bar
4:30 p.m. Most redheads in a family contest
5:30 p.m. Longest red hair contest
6:30 p.m. Longest red beard
7-9 p.m. Headline music act Identity Identity Crisis presented by LKA Vapes
9 to close: After hours at Ginger's of Highwood
11 a.m. to noon: Music from School of Rock Highwood
11:30 a.m. Hula hoop contest
Noon to 3 p.m. Music from Jeannie Tanner, singer-songwriter, presented by The Redhead Piano Bar
12:30 p.m. Redhead that traveled furthest distance contest
1 p.m. Erin La Rosa author presentation
2 p.m. Ronald McDonald on-site
2:30 p.m. Reddest hair contest
3-5 p.m. Music by School of Rock Highwood
3 p.m. Gathering photo of redheads on-site
4 p.m. Famous redhead look a like contest
Children of all ages and dogs are welcome.
Redhead Days Chicago Affiliate 2017 will feature two days of live music, local food vendors, beer, wine and other red-themed cocktails and soft drinks, a Carrot Cake Throwdown, petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses and other activities for all ages.
The event kicks off (unofficially) at 5 p.m. Friday, June 9, with a pre-party at Redhead Piano Bar, 16 W. Ontario St., Chicago, featuring the world's largest Redhead toast to kick off the weekend's festivities.
On-site hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday (with an after-party going through the night at Ginger's in Highwood with live music, drink and food specials) and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. All redheads will be asked to register on-site to be a part of the count for most redheads gathered in one place. Admission is free; official event T-shirts and other goodies will be available for purchase.
One of the highlights of Redhead Days is the opportunity to be a part of an aerial group photo of the country's largest gathering of redheads, with last year's photo capturing over 750. To really make the red locks stand out, everyone is encouraged to wear the same color shirt. The 2017 official color is green, as decided upon by main festival organizers in Breda.
At 1 p.m. both days, Erin La Rosa, Buzzfeed's Deputy Editorial Director and @SideofGinger on Twitter, will be reading excerpts of her "Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair: The Big Redhead Book" and posing for pictures with attendees. The event will also feature redheaded arcade games, henna, face painting, tarot card/psychic readings, wax hands, petting zoo and pony rides, and contests like longest red hair and famous redhead look-alikes.
Jim Stoecker, event organizer and owner of Highwood's Alex's Washington Gardens and Ginger's of Highwood, first came upon Redhead Days in 2012 while biking across Europe, chancing upon the seventh annual Redhead Days in Breda, and dreamed of bringing it to Highwood.
"I'm thrilled to be presenting the third year of Redhead Days Chicago Affiliate," Stoecker said. "The support is overwhelming and really highlights the kinship within our community of reds and beyond."