Chicago’s largest July 4th weekend celebration, the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL) is moving from Washington Park on the South side to historic Union Park in the West loop. For nearly 20 years the IFOL was located in Washington Park in Chicago’s Hyde Park community where it drew thousands of Chicagoans and national and international visitors to the annual four day celebration of African and Caribbean culture.
“We are making the move due to popular demand,” said Martin’s International Culture president Ephraim Martin, producers of the event.” “It also offers an accessible location, especially for tourists, excellent public transportation, parking and convenience for the vendors and exhibitors.”
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He added, “Union Park will be the venue for the 21st hosting of the International Festival of Life, a festival that attracts visitors, vendors, media and others from various parts of the country and overseas to celebrate the music, food, arts & crafts and culture of people from various parts of the globe.” In its new location at 1501 West Randolph Street, the festival will run from Thursday through Sunday, July 4th thru July 7, 2013 from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily.
More than 70 Reggae, World Music, R&B, Gospel, Latin, Rock, blues, Jazz and other international, national and local acts will entertain on three stages in Union Park. Two hundred vendors/exhibitors will display, sell, sample, brand and promote a wide array of products, from arts & crafts, textiles and jewelry to electronics, books and services, among others. The food court will consist of more than twenty food vendors with an international flair.
From the celebrated Jamaican Jerk Chicken, lamb and fish to African, American, Italian, Asian, Mexican and other cuisines. There will also be fun and games for kids of all ages.
Festival of Life Health Awareness (FOLHA) Pavilion
A highlight of the 2013 festival will be the addition of the Festival of Life Health Awareness (FOLHA) pavilion. A full-scale pavilion dedicated to health education and awareness, it will focus on health screenings, presentations on health, performances and literature focused on health. Chicagoans and visitors who are affected with any form of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hypertension, Diabetes or other diseases are invited to join in a massive gathering to lend their voices to the need for better health along with celebrity and other health experts speaking on various health issues.
Admission to one of the biggest and most popular summer festivals of its kind in the nation will be extremely reasonable. Advance tickets are only $15 each and VIP tickets $50. Tickets for kids 6-11 are $5 and free to kids under six.
Over the last 20 years, the International Festival of Life (IFOL) has grown from a small community family festival of music, foods, arts & crafts and bringing people of all nationalities together, to an internationally recognized institution that reaches over 5 million people annually. Begun in 1993, it initially attracted 6,000 people. Today it attracts thousands of fans to the annual July 4th weekend celebration. Since the change of dates for the Taste of Chicago in 2011 – originally the largest 4th of July Celebration in Chicago – the Festival of Life has become the largest July 4th Celebration. It is expected to surpass previous attendance records.