Evanston’s 40th annual Custer’s Last Stand street fair opened today under sunny skies with mild temperatures.

At the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Main Street, a huge crowd gathered around a giant performance stage that filled the street from curb to curb.

Music blasted as people greeted each other and observed the band.

Artists and shopkeepers set up tents that lined the streets that thousands of people roamed.

It was the first time selling her jewelry at Custer for Shontay Patten. “Everyone always talked about the Custer Fair and how great it was for business, so I set up my tent this year for the first time, Patten said. “It’s been pretty busy so far, but it’s still early. later today I bet more people will come around.”

Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Sunday.

Other vendors said the sunny weather brought out one of the largest turnouts they’ve seen at years in the event.

Street performers and face painters added to the festive atmosphere. One fire breather dressed as a jester captured his audience of toddlers with his tricks. Afterwards he made it a point to say to each toddler “you’re the best one” as he collected quarters for his show.

An estimated 70,000 people are expected to attend this year’s fair before the tents come down on Sunday night.

Slightly warmer weather, with a chance of thunderstorms, is forecast for Sunday.

Join the Conversation


  1. Blasted is the word

    Blasting thumping music right into my home (with thermopane windows firmly closed) from morning to night.

    Yeah, never mind the families and residents that cannot leave for the weekend (and those who can, do), but have to suffer this every year.

    I really think there must be a better location than a very dense residential area. I'm sick of my windows and furniture shaking with the throbbing music.

    1. NIMBY is the word

      I really think there must be a better location than a very dense residential area. I'm sick of my windows and furniture shaking with the throbbing music


      I really think there's a better location for you to live if you don't like noise than a very dense residential area (a city). Head out to NIMBYville if two days out of the year has you this upset.

    2. Bring it to Oakton

      We can close the street from Chute Middle School over to Dodge… there is plenty of parking in the area with the school and old Osco parking lot.  Residents would enjoy a brief respite from all of the speeding traffic.  We'll take music any day over inconsiderate drivers who break the speed laws on our street every day endangering the lives of our children and families.

  2. Music too loud

    Even as someone who just attended the event, I thought the music was a bit too loud.

  3. What a horrible thing to say!

    I actually don't mind the fair, the people, the food, or the street being blocked off. The ONLY thing I mind is the loud music RIGHT outside my window. I've lived here 10 years, and I understand the special place this fair has for some people, and I applaud (and freely donate) to the causes it supports, but the area has evolved over the last 40 years from what it was when the fair started, and the placement and volume of stages just needs to be reconsidered to take into account the residents, without whose license to operate the fair is allowed to continue. Before you call anyone a NIMBY, I suggest you walk a mile in their shoes.

  4. Ozzy rocks

    From a guy who loves Rock and Roll, they need to turn down the main stage speakers a notch. Last year was also up too high.

  5. It was really loud

    I live more than a mile away and I could hear the music inside my house, but it wasn't that bothersome at that distance. When I was at the fair, the main stage was not being used, so I don't know how loud it was up close. I can imagine that the volume would be annoying for those who live close.

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