WICKER PARK — There's something about braving the rain for free stuff that attracts people to Wicker Park. Add frozen yogurt to the list.
At the height of the city's froyo madness — where new business licenses for frozen yogurt chains have tripled — a new player, Red Mango at 1513 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, attracted a crowd of 150 people for its grand opening Saturday.
At the front of the line around 11 a.m. as doors opened were campers of all ages and ethnicities that had spent the night (and morning) stationed in front of the shop to ensure they'd be among the first 50 in line and receive a year's worth of free yogurt.
Karen Avgush, 25, a South Loop resident, was number 10 in line.
"It was fun, we played board games like Risk and Taboo and met new people," Avgush said.
Jasmine Carrazco, 20, a Wicker Park resident and UIC student, camped, or as she said, "napped" in chairs in front of Red Mango.
Carrazco, who was third in line, and her friend, Elizabeth Bautista, 19, got to Red Mango around 10 p.m. Friday; their dedication was documented on Red Mango's Facebook Page.
Bautista was enjoying a dark chocolate sorbetto with nutty potion topping, mixed berries and sprinkles of coconut.
Bautisa, who lives "about 30 minutes from Wicker Park" but works at a fudge shop in Old Town, said she plans to come to Wicker Park every week to redeem her free yogurt.
Carrazco was celebrating a hard night's work with mango froyo topped with passion fruit and raspberries.
"It was worth it," Carrazco said.
Winners were given a small pocket-sized booklet tilted "Year of Yogurt" containing a coupon for a free small yogurt (up to a $5 value) for each week of the year beginning June 15. If the booklet is shared, sold, or used by another person, the prize is forfeited, according to a rules sheet.
Part of fast expanding froyo franchise specializing in probiotic fortified yogurt, vegan sorbets and smoothies, Red Mango opened its Wicker Park location in May.
General Manager Chet Katrodia, who was busy registering winners and passing out free T-Shirts, said he was surprised by the strong turnout.
"The rain didn't stop anyone," Katrodia said.