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Come out, enjoy July 21 ‘Taste of WVON’ festival

By Bryan Crawford and Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad | Last updated: Jul 11, 2018 - 10:19:15 AM

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CHICAGO—“The Talk of Chicago,” radio station WVON 1690 AM, is hosting its 8th annual Taste of WVON festival July 21 at Lorraine Dixon Park on the city’s South Side. It’s free and everyone is welcome! This year’s festival offers food, games and entertainment will feature legendary rapper Doug E. Fresh, the Stylistics and more.

Each year’s festival is a chance to bring families together, said WVON coordinator Sonya Tompkins. “It’s a family-oriented, big-fun-filled day. People are going to walk in like ‘wow, is this really taking place?’ ”

Last year’s festival brought over 40,000 people to the Chatham-Avalon community. Featured entertainers included Sheila E., Kindred The Family Soul, The Dramatics, Rose Royce and Morris Day and the Time. It was also an opportunity for fans to get acquainted with the radio station’s sponsors.

“Not only is this for the community, it also helps the corporate sponsors fulfill their job of giving back to the community,” WVON senior marketing manager Desiree Stuart told The Final Call.

“The highlight is that it’s a community event for people to attend and participate. Our CEO wants us to keep this a free opportunity; you come in and actually interface with potential clients.”


Mrs. Stuart was proud to announce WVON’s recent milestones, including expanding shows to Facebook Live. The expansion brought over 80,000 people across their media platform. She believes The Taste of WVON will attract new listeners and make the station even more community- oriented.

“They (listeners) want to shake your hand and tell you about the great job you’re doing,” she continued. “It’s gratifying to know that the people are listening to you and every year, it’s something different.”

Ms. Tompkins followed with high hopes that the upcoming festival will show Black communities in a positive light.

“They’re going to see Black people getting along,” she added cheerfully. “When it’s over and everybody is walking off, they’re full and actually in awe that this is really not fake, that we can party together without there being any incidents, and it was free!”

WVON brings the best out of Black people, she said. A wide array of Black vendors and entrepreneurs offering food and products will be joined by participants of different backgrounds.

“You meet so many people who have so much love for you,” said Ms. Tompkins. “It gives me joy to represent the radio station (and people) who want to have fun, entertainment and joy.”

The Taste of WVON features a Children’s Pavilion with a petting zoo, face painting, and pony rides, food and merchant booths and a live sound stage, said festival organizers.


WVON is Chicago’s only Black talk radio station. The station describes its core listener as 30 and over, and professional. “They are loyal, conscientious consumers who are fully vested and engaged in the social and cultural experience of the African- American community,” organizers added.

Lorraine Dixon Park is located on the southeast corner of 87th Street & Ingleside Avenue (Dauphin Avenue). The festival opens at 10 a.m. until dusk. Ingleside (Dauphin) will be closed to through-traffic the day of the festival. There is no parking between 90th and 87th Street on Dauphin (Ingleside). While there is street parking available, the easiest way to get to Lorraine Dixon Park is by public transportation. Lorraine Dixon Park is steps just from Metra Electric Line’s 87th Street Stop.

Bring lawn chairs to enjoy the live soundstage and cash to enjoy fare from local restaurants. The Taste of WVON merchant vendors will offer clothing, books, body products, jewelry, and art. Stay tuned at or listen to WVON 1690AM via iHeart Radio.