21st African Festival of the Arts to host Annual Fest in Washington Park Labor Weekend

One of Chicago’s largest festivals, “The African Festival of the Arts”, presented by Africa International House, takes place September 3-6, 2010, during Labor Day Weekend

One of Chicago’s largest festivals, “The African Festival of the Arts”, presented by Africa International House, takes place September 3-6, 2010, during Labor Day Weekend, and transforms Chicago’s Washington Park, located 51st and Cottage Grove,  into an authentic African village complete with spectacular entertainment, pavilions, food and more.

This year’s festival themed “Creating and Keeping the Culture” is the cheapest ticket to Africa with a number of events including live performances by legendary R&B singer Chaka Khan on Monday, September 6th.

Two performances will take place Saturday, September 4th including West African born Angelique Kidjo, a Grammy-award winning recording artist deemed “Africa’s premier Diva” by Time Magazine and Tito Jackson from the famed Jackson 5. Musical jazz talents Javon Jackson featuring Les McCann will perform Sunday, September 5th.

The African Festival of the Arts is the flagship program of the African International House and is a series of festivals within a festival built around African culture, art, music, history and activities that appeal to all communities.

Each year more than 250,000 attendees explore the festival grounds.  The festival offers a virtual African village featuring pavilions that allow participants to enjoy interactive experiences with artists and artisans sharing their gifts and talents. Guests can also engage in community forums and village meetings to discuss social and cultural issues.

The festival highlights a marketplace comprised of over 300 vendors selling their wares. Shoppers will discover amazing treasures including fine sculpture, beaded furniture, jewelry and gem stones, fashion, health and skin care products, hand woven fabrics and textiles, museum-quality African art, original fine art and more.  

Festival producer and African International House President, Patrick Woodtor says, “the festival offers something for everyone and all communities in Chicago. We have implemented new pavilions and enhanced favorites. Our mission is to educate our audiences about Africa, the cradle of civilization, while celebrating her significance and impact on mankind.”

Chris Gardner author of The Pursuit of Happyness and TV One Founder Cathy Hughes will reign over the 2010 African Festival of the Arts as Grand Baba and Grand Yeye.

The 21st Annual African Festival of the Arts is sponsored by State Farm Insurance, NBC 5, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Target, Illinois Department of Human Services, National Endowment for the Arts, BMOA, American Cancer Society, Chicago Park District, WVON, Walgreens, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago South Loop Hotel, Seneca Hotel, AT&T, Chicago Apartment Finders, ICE Theaters, The Urban Health Initiative, Black Enterprise and Being Single Magazine.

Media Sponsors include: NBC 5, Chicago Defender, Soul 106.3 , V103,  Chicago Defender, The Africa Channel, Citizen Newspaper, Crusader Newspaper and Bronzecomm.com.

Festival tickets are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the gate.  For tickets, call (773) 955- ARTS (2787) or www.africanfestivalchicago.com.  Festival hours are 10:00a.m. to 10:00p.m.

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