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CHICAGO — The 39th annual ‘Market Days’ festival has returned to the Northalsted neighborhood in Lakeview, drawing thousands of people every day over the course of the weekend.

For Indiana native Maurice Smith, Chicago is a fitting and beloved new hometown, with plenty of excitement over getting a unique festival experience.

“Growing up I always heard about Belmont and Market Days, always wanted to be part of it and see what’s going on in the city,” Smith said.

Smith is also celebrating his 28th birthday, but he was only a kid when Bilal Maqsood began selling sunglasses here.

“We’ve been doing it for 15 years, we’ve been here every year,” Bilal said.

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That of course is with the absence of 2020, with last year’s festival having been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a good business here, we do great here. This is an event we wait for the whole year so that’s why we always come back here,” Bilal said.

Maurice is also eager to get a look at what’s up for grabs along this half-mile stretch of fun.

“I’m interested in seeing a lot of things, I see a lot on the program and I’m interested in being out here and seeing what I can see,” Smith said.