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Bucktown Goat Party? Fundraiser Honors Community Roots, Pays For Arts Fest

 The Bucktown Arts Fest is run by volunteers. Organizers are gearing up for July's Goat Party, which helps fund the late August festival.
Bucktown Art Fest
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CHICAGO — There ain't no party like a Goat Party.

The July 26 party is part of the leadup to the Bucktown Arts Fest, which kicks off in late August and stands apart from other Chicago festivals as an all volunteer-run event. To raise money for the event, organizers host the aforementioned Goat Party, which is named to pay tribute to Bucktown's roots.

"It is thought that Bucktown gets its name from the Polish settlers who used to keep goats here," said Melissa Hellstern, president of the Bucktown Arts Fest board. "So, of course, we have to celebrate the goat!"

Artist Anastasia Mak will do a live paint demonstration, and there will be a live/silent auction and raffle at the event, which will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The Goat Party is the art festival's only fundraiser, Hellstern said, and tickets — $40 before July 12 or $50 after — or items won at auction are considered tax-deductible donations to the fest. Beer, wine, food and entertainment are included in the ticket price.

"We have an incredible community of people who support the fest in so many ways," Hellstern said. "It truly is a neighborhood fest, rambling through the park and residential streets, versus big retail thoroughfares like so many do. It is an intimate experience."

Teddy Harris, 43, of Bucktown, is one of those "incredible" people. He has volunteered at the art fest for "at least 10 or 11 years."

"I personally think it's the best festival in the city, but that's just a bias, total bias," Harris said. "The artists, the bands, the musicians, the mixed media guys — all those guys, the whole culmination — come together and it's just ... it's fun to see. ... This art festival is still about the artwork. It's still about the neighborhood."