Let the party begin; Oprah’s party, that is

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By Juanita Bratcher

Everybody likes a good party, a good show, a celebration of sorts. And certainly, I’m no exception. However, I’ve always stayed away from big parties or large concerts because I don’t feel comfortable being bottled up between a large body of people. But I do make it my business to watch some of those exciting parties in the comfort of my home via TV.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” in Chicago will kick-off its 24th season September 10th after a two-day taping in the heart of Chicago. The show will bring lots of star power to the city, including Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, Criss Angel and others.

It’s being called a Chicago street party – first come, first served. But while the excitement is there by many, there are some who are complaining about the upcoming party simply because a three-block stretch of Michigan Avenue will be closed for two days to accommodate what is expected to be Oprah’s huge street party. 

Michigan Avenue between Ohio Street and Wacker Drive will be closed from 12:01 a.m., Monday (September 7) through 5 a.m. Wednesday (September 9). The gates will open to the public at noon Tuesday. It will probably be one of the largest street parties in the history of the city, and no doubt the most memorable. And this is in no way a slight of Chicago Fest, a yearly tradition in Chicago.

To the critics of this event: What’s wrong with a good, secured party? What’s wrong with people having some clean fun? What’s wrong with dancing in the streets (if there’s room to do so)? So, let the party begin – Oprah & Friends party, that is.

So what’s the real beef about the party? It will inconvenience motorists. Inconvenience motorists? C’mon, how many times have motorists been inconvenienced because of rerouting, street repairs or other matters? I’ve seen streets that I’ve traveled tied up for days, maybe months, certainly more than two days.

And, no, the city of Chicago is not paying for this big party fanfare. The Oprah Winfrey Show is picking up the tab for their own party.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said such a party would show-case world-wide publicity – internationally – for the city and would be a great opportunity in regards to jobs.

Said Daley: “She’s an icon for the industry. Take New York City, Los Angeles, take all of them for the filming industry. They do this everyday, unfortunately.”

Daley noted that it was worth it, adding that, “This is a great thing we’re doing. I wish we could do this everyday in the city of Chicago.”

I agree with Daley. The event will produce more goodwill than bad (motorist complaints).

To those in opposition of the party shutting down Michigan Avenue for two days: There are so many other routes you can take to get to where you want to go.

To the Partygoers: Party hardy, long and enjoy the moment. I’ll see some of you, via TV, on Oprah Winfrey’s 24th season show.

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