SBD/March 8, 2011/Facilities

Cubs Look To Hold Weekend Festivals Outside Wrigley Around Three Marquee Series

Cubs have yet to apply for permit to host festivals outside Wrigley Field
Cubs Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Wally Hayward yesterday said that the team wants to "stage weekend festivals on Sheffield Avenue during three popular series this summer," according to Hal Dardick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Hayward noted that the idea is to "close Sheffield from Addison Street to Waveland Avenue on the east side of Wrigley Field for most of the day from Friday through Sunday on three weekends in June, July and August when the Cubs face" the Yankees, White Sox and Cardinals, respectively. Hayward said that tickets "would not be needed to get into the area, where family entertainment, food and drink would be offered." Dardick noted baseball-themed entertainment "could include meeting players, a radar booth to measure the speed of pitches thrown by festival-goers or seventh inning stretch participation via an iPod app." Hayward said that the organization is "discussing the idea with local community groups, businesses and city officials and has yet to apply for a permit." He added that the festivals "would be similar to the turning" of Sheffield into "Wildcat Way" for last November's Illinois-Northwestern college football game at Wrigley, an event that "proved very successful for local merchants." However, Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney, whose district is home to Wrigley Field, said that when he "approved the Wildcat Way event last year, it was for a onetime, one-day festival in November, not a three-day festival in the summer." Tunney suggested that the "longer festival in better weather might not go as smoothly" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 3/7). In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes Tunney and Wrigleyville merchants are "reacting coolly" to the festival idea. Tunney: "We did a one-day special event around the football game. But, it was meant to be a one-day event. It wasn't meant to show that we want to do this on a regular basis. And the idea of three days (at a time) is something I don't want to set a precedent for." Hayward said "Wildcat Way" was the "biggest day for local businesses," as the "bars and restaurants around Wrigley had better numbers than opening day." Hayward: "We believe this is good for local businesses" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/8).
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