Chicago Ghana Fest Fun for the Whole Family. I love genealogy I’ve been fascinated by it for several years. I was able to trace my family tree back to 1800. This is amazing for an American family of African descent. I also did a DNA test and found out my region of origin is Western Africa. Ghana is on my must visit places hopefully when my son is older.
My parents have attended the Chicago Ghana Fest before. I decided to join them this time. It was very last minute, so I didn’t have time to prepare. I packed my small backpack, stroller, and some water and took a trip to the South Side of Chicago in search of Jollof Rice.
The Chicago Ghana Fest is billed the largest showcase of African culture, music, food, and fashion in the Midwest of United States since 1988. It is a two-day, annual festival held on the last weekend of July and is sponsored by the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago and 14 other organizations representing Ghanaians in the Chicago area. It attracts an average of about 5,000 participants each year to Chicago’s Washington Park.
- Parking is a nightmare. There is only one small lot by the Washington Park Pool and that fills up quick. We took the chance and parked in a reserved spot figuring we should be ok for the weekend. The rest of the parking is on the street and it is packed. Have your best parallel parking skills on hand and prepare for a long walk. I brought my stroller but had difficulty because there was some walking on a street with cars that really didn’t slow down and on the grass.
- Chicago Ghana Fest is all about the food. So many options. The food is spicy perfect for me but not so much for my toddler. I got him plantain and plain white rice. Meanwhile I ate all the Jollof Rice and Red Red (African stewed black-eyed peas). The servings are generous so plan on brining home some leftovers. Some places accept credit cards, but cash was a sure bet.
What to Bring
- Bring bag lawn chairs and a blanket. There really weren’t a lot of options for seating to eat. Find a shady place and stake your spot. We forgot to bring chairs and luckily there was one in the car along with a blanket. Bring water in a small backpack. Feel free to wear your African print and African inspired clothing. The colors and the styles were so impressive.
- There are a lot of vendors selling African arts and crafts, hair and beauty products, and fashion. I bought my son a little djembe (African drum). Be prepared to bargain if you have cash.
- This got a little confusing. It was advertised as $10 however we were charged $15. Tickets can also be bought in advance on Eventbrite for the same price plus a fee.
- There is a live band and DJ playing music throughout the day. Along with various cultural performers and dancers. My favorite part was the parade of Chiefs and Queen Mothers. The dignitaries from the country gather in a large open area in all their regalia sitting under various tents. The different tents then parade from tent to tent with people dancing behind them.
Chicago is so rich in multi-cultural experiences. This is one not to be missed. Perfect fun for the whole family and a chance to immerse your family in all the music, celebrations, and flavors of Ghana.
5600 Russell Dr.
Chicago, Il 60139
10am – 10pm