More than 25,000 people are expected at Skokie’s Oakton Park on May 18-19, to celebrate the 29th Annual Skokie Festival of Cultures, where they will savor exotic tastes, listen to the traditional sounds of ethnic music, and experience the many cultures, languages and traditions that make up the Skokie community.
Skokie’s unique cultural journey will begin when visitors receive their free “Passport to the World,” the official guide to all festival happenings. The passport, themed “Musicians Around the World,” will include a schedule of more than 60 ethnic performances, and a festival map, which will help attendees make their way through the park full of attractions.
“Visitors to the festival will experience dozens of cultural booths,” said the festival planning committee’s chairman Jon Marquardt, “with attendees also enjoying two days of ethnic folk music and dance, a wide range of food, unique arts and crafts, a merchandise marketplace, and children’s activities, including free miniature train rides.”
The festivities will kick off inside the park’s Oakton Center with a one hour international short film festival at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, the night before the festival. The free festival will also offer something for the younger set, with a children’s area, featuring hands-on exhibits and a place for children to learn and create.
The 38 cultural booths represented at the festival will range from Finnish to Filipino, Laotian to Luxembourgian, and Turkish to Thai.
Oakton Park is located at 4701 Oakton St., in Skokie. The festival will begin at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, ending at 7 p.m. The opening ceremonies will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. on the World Showcase stage.
The 29th Annual Skokie Park District is sponsored by Geico, NorthShore University HealthSystem, State Farm, Nicor Gas, Renewal by Andersen, Bright Horizons Early Education & Preschool, Byline Bank, Chiro One Wellness Centers, Eye Level, Power Home Remodeling, First Bank Chicago-Highland Park, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Skokie Valley. The event is presented by the Skokie Park District, the Village of Skokie, and the Skokie Public Library.
For more information about the festival, call the Skokie Park District at (847) 674-1500 or visit the official Skokie Festival of Cultures website at www.SkokieCultureFest.org.
Oakton Park, 4701 Oakton St., Skokie
Full entertainment schedule to be announced at skokieculturefest.org.
Friday, May 17
International Short Films, Oakton Community Center, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 – Festival Day 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Opening Ceremonies, 1 to 2 p.m.
Free Train Rides, 2-6 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 – Festival Day 2, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Free Train Rides, 2-6 p.m.