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African Festival of the Arts Chicago Celebrates 25 years!

By News | Last updated: Aug 13, 2014 - 12:55:41 PM

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CHICAGO ( - The African Festival of the Arts of the Arts Chicago celebrates its 25th anniversary as the world class, end of Summer destination for family fun. It is the largest neighborhood festival in Chicago boasting more than 300,000 attendees. The Festival takes place throughout Labor Day Weekend, August 29 - September 1 in Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL, 60637.


Each year, the AFA grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park come alive as a simulated African village, replete with special interest pavilions featuring African drumming, colorful and rich fabrics, handcrafted fi ne arts, interactive demonstrations, health and wellness workshops, spectacular jewelry, children’s programming, author and book readings, and captivating entertainment. The theme for the 25th AFA anniversary is “Cultural Connections,” as this is an opportunity to celebrate, promulgate, and educate the general public about the shared and rich cultures of people of African Ancestry.

“It is with pride that we celebrate 25 years of exposing, and in some instances introducing African culture to those who never recognized its connection to their lives,” says Patrick S. Woodtor, founder and Executive Director of Africa International House, Inc. hosts of African Festival of the Arts. “Our fl agship event serves as an opportunity to remind those of us in the Americas that our culture derived from strong Black traditions and continues to colonize the world today through fashion, music, and innovative style. Moreover, it is because of our connection to the cultures and traditions of the Motherland, that we can look back with dignity at the contributions we have made all over the world. And it is why we can look with hope that future generations will propagate and enhance the connection.”

Mr. Woodtor, along with his late wife Dee Parmer Woodtor, founded AFA after escaping Liberia during the horrendous civil war of the 1980s. To survive and make a living in Chicago, Mr. Woodtor sold the family’s heirlooms and other valuable artifacts. The demand for this “art” made way for a kiosk in a local retail store; and then evolved into a shop, “Window to Africa,” which was located in the former Harper’s Court. It is there that AFA was born as a yearly showcase/customer appreciation sale. Today it is one of the most anticipated end of summer destinations in the Midwest.

This year the AFA Dee Parmer Woodtor Main Stage features a diverse mix of entertainment from local artists to international sensations to Grammy Award-winning performers. The stage opens 10 a.m. Friday, August 29th with a tribute to local Chicago Hip-Hop artists and closes Monday, September 1 (Labor Day) with the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards. For more information visit,