"It's our 37th year," said Lapidos, founder of The Fest for Beatles Fans. In the beginning, the Chicago fest celebrating the Fab Four was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago and it moved to Hyatt Regency O'Hare in 1986. Lapidos' first fest was held in 1974 in New York City.
The Fest for Beatles Fans will be held today through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. It features a huge Beatles marketplace filled with a variety of memorabilia and new items, books, and more. Also on tap are celebrity appearances, speakers, exhibits, film showings and other events.
Lapidos said his original idea for celebrating the Beatles 10th anniversary of their arrival in America came to him while he was eating ice cream in 1973. Wanting to get approval for the fest, which would celebrate the legendary foursome and feature special musical guests, speakers, and more, he later met with John Lennon to tell him about his idea.
He said Lennon said "I'm all for it. I'm a Beatles fan, too."
This year The Fest for Beatles Fans, Lapidos said, will include various special events and appearances by notables, some who are making their first visit to the event.
On this weekend's roster will be British duo Chad and Jeremy, who'll perform a concert on Saturday and Billy J. Kramer, who'll perform a show on Sunday. The artists will also perform with tribute band Liverpool tonight.
Attendance at Chicago's fest, Lapidos said, is expected to be nearly 5,000 people.
"They come here because they love the Beatles," he said. There'll be nonstop activity during the event. "There are always so many activities going on all over the hotel," Lapidos said.
In addition to Chad and Jeremy and Billy J. Kramer, other guests on board to celebrate Liverpool's finest are Joey Molland of Badfinger, Freda Kelly, who was the Beatles' secretary; author Larry Kane, Mark Hudson, Greg Kihn and photographer Jorie Gracen, author of the book "Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There."
FYI: The Fest for Beatles Fans will be held today through Sunday at Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont. Hours are 5 to midnight tonight; noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday. Prices are $40 for today; $57 for Saturday and Sunday. Half price for children 16 and younger and no charge for children 5 and younger. Visit thefest.com.