Thousands of Chicagoans crowded into Washington Park on Labor Day evening for the final night of the African Festival of the Arts (AFA). The festival goers were not disappointed when Howard Hewett and Rose Royce took to the stage and delivered some show stopping performances. The concerts were a culmination of four days of African-influenced food, music, shopping, dance and entertainment. Nearly 300 vendors and artisans offered their artifacts, textiles, traditional crafts, and museum-quality art for sale to festival goers. The near perfect weekend weather drew impressive crowds, particularly for Monday evening.
The theme of this year’s festival was Ruwadzano, which means ‘togetherness’ in the Shona language. During this year’s event, AIH recognized the impact togetherness has in relationships, in business, and in service to community. This year’s Grand Baba was WGN’s Robert Jordan and the Grand Yeye was Diane Dinkins-Carr. Michelle Relerford of NBC 5 Chicago emceed the recognition alongside WGCI’s Dana Devine and Morocco Omari of the hit series Empire.
This year’s event also featured a tribute to Shelby Moore of Crawford Broadcasting, who was a board member of Africa International House, the non-profit umbrella organization that hosts the African Festival of the Arts.
Dana Devine, of WGCI, who served as emcee for many of the Festival on stage presentations.
Don and Rose Jackson, of Central City Productions, were recognized for their unique partnership of 50 years, that includes both marriage and business.
AFA Founder Patrick Woodtor with Howard Hewett
Dee Alexander entertained the crowd in Sunday night, in an amazing futuristic costume.
Howard Hewett performs on Labor Day at African Festival of the Arts.
Rose Royce packs the lawn on the main stage on Labor Day.