Chicago is home to dozens of annual ethnic festivals, especially in the summer. Keep in mind that during 2020 and possibly 2021, many of these festivals will be canceled or moved online due to the Covid-19 crisis. The below descriptions are based on the events as they occurred before Covid-19 arose.
Ethnic Festival in Chicago
The World Music Festival Chicago
The World Music Festival Chicago is sponsored by the Chicago city government. In 2019, the World Music Festival Chicago attracted more than 650,000 guests and more than 750 musical artists from over 80 countries. The 2020 version will be held online.
The Chicago Thai Food Festival
Thailand is famous for its delicious food, and in recent years, its popularity has been growing faster in the United States than the popularity of just about any other ethnic cuisine. This event is sponsored by the Thai-American Restaurant Association of Illinois (TARA). Come and join us, even if you don’t like spicy food — despite its reputation, not all Thai food is spicy.
The Chicago Thai Food Festival typically includes a dozen or more food vendors from Chicago Thai restaurants, as well as Thai cultural activities and performances.
Lincoln Park Greek Fest
The Lincoln Park Greek Fest takes place on the grounds of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Offerings include delicious Greek food as well as traditional Greek music and dance. This event is co-sponsored by the St. George Greek Orthodox Church and the Lincoln Park Greek Community.
Irish-American Heritage Festival
The Irish-American Heritage Festival is sponsored primarily by the Irish American Heritage Center (although other sponsors contribute as well), and the festival is held on the grounds of this institution. The festival features both local and international Irish and Irish-American music, dance, and other activities.
In addition to music and dance, the Irish-American Heritage Festival offers Irish and American food and drinks, cultural exhibits, children’s activities, and dozens of vendors offering Irish clothing and jewelry as well as other items. Activities include a bags tournament and cultural exhibits in the Art Gallery, Library, and Museum of the Irish-American Heritage Center.
Bastille Day Chicago
Bastille Day Chicago is a French festival featuring a variety of activities related to French culture. Its focus is not limited to France but is extended to all French-speaking cultures. It features activities such as face painting, cupcake decoration, a bubble show, and other activities for young people.
Bastille Day Chicago also offers opportunities to play pétanque, a centuries-old French sport. Volunteers will be provided to demonstrate how to play the game and organize games among participants. Bastille Day Chicago also features concerts by international musical artists (Mwelwa Musambacine and the Irving Sisters are examples of past performers).
Chinatown Summer Fair
The Chinatown Summer Fair normally attracts over 40,000 people from Greater Chicago and beyond, making it one of the largest and most influential ethnic festivals in Chicago. The Chinatown Summer Fair celebrates the culture of China and elsewhere in the Far East. It exhibits the culture of the Far East including its food, art, and music. The festival takes place on Wentworth Avenue from Cermak Avenue to 24th Place.
Taste of Korea Festival
The Taste of Korea Festival is a free, two-day festival held each year in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois. The festival is a celebration of Korean culture that includes Korean food and alcoholic beverages (for guests 21 and over), as well as traditional Korean dance and cultural performances.
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