Chicagoans kick off Memorial Day weekend with music, mole, and mirth

CHICAGO (CBS) — An exciting Memorial Day weekend is on tap for the Chicago area – with the Crosstown Classic at Guaranteed Rate Field, a Deftones concert at Northerly Island, the Sueños Music Festival in Grant Park, a Coldplay concert at Soldier Field, and the Mole de Mayo street festival in Pilsen – to name just a few events.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, this is all proof that despite some concerns about crime and safety in Chicago lately, Chicagoans are not about to stop coming out and having fun.

Mole de Mayo got under way Friday on 18th Street between Ashland and Blue Island avenues. The sounds of chefs grilling and the simmering smells were much-welcome sensory experiences.

“I mean, here in Pilsen? You can’t go wrong,” one festivalgoer said as he enjoyed some mole. “You get to come out and just kind of enjoy everything the city has to offer.”

He was one of many people chowing down on delights made with mole – a traditional Mexican sauce and marinade made from chili peppers, spices, nuts, chocolate, and an assortment of seasonings. It can be served over meats and other dishes, and it takes days of work to make.

At Mole de Mayo, mole is being offered by 20 different food vendors in savory, sweet, and spicy versions.

The festival is under way for its first return since 2019. For so many families, it is a tradition – and the mole is prepared with laboring love.

“It takes hours of marinating for it to get thick and not too runny,” one vendor said.

That vendor convinced CBS 2’s Terry to try some mole out. Indeed, Terry thought it was simply delicious.

And what’s better than seeing so many people out?

Terry: “What does it say when you see people still enjoying the street festivals, which we’re known for in the summer?”

Festivalgoer: “It’s always a safe environment in these types of places – and it’s always a good time, and hard not to come out and enjoy the festival.”

Also Friday night, thousands of heavy metal fans packed the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island for a Deftones Concert.

“I think it’s going to be really busy weekend,” a concertgoer said.

With Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer, Chicago will be packed with events. Coldplay returns Saturday and Sunday evening at Soldier Field – and so many are expected that the promoter is offering free Chicago Transit Authority train rides at the Roosevelt Road Red Line stop – all to help prevent traffic jams.

With the recent crime wave and safety concerns downtown, it seems Chicagoans are still proud to show off what we are made of.

“Chicago is a beautiful city, and I wish people had to common sense to respect the city and the people in the city,” one woman said.

And of course, the unofficial start of Memorial Day is the perfect weekend to get out there. CBS 2’s Terry is going to try some mole again, and if you want some too, the Mole de Mayo festival is on through Sunday.

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