The Multicultural Education Department of Oak Park Elementary School District 97 extends sincere thanks to Dan Haley and Wednesday Journal, the Oak Park Area Arts Council, and the D97 PTOs for their generous support of the 33rd Annual Ethnic Festival, which took place at Julian Middle School on Saturday, May 4. It was a wonderful event and a wonderful day!
The parade kicked off at 10 a.m. with a flourish of music from the OutLoud DrumLine (Steckman Studios), the Brooks and Julian Middle School Marching Bands, and the Oak Park and River Forest High School Marching Huskies. The music and pageantry were spectacular! There were floats (provided by the Multicultural Education Department, and Hatch and Irving schools) and representatives from each of the 10 public schools as well as many local agencies: Village of Oak Park trustees and clerk, Oak Park Public Library, Supt. Al Roberts, former school board president and current village Trustee Peter Barber, members of the D97 and District 200 school boards, representatives from Intercultural Montessori and First Baptist preschools, The Children's School Girl Scouts, Foy School of Traditional Irish Dancing, and Families of Asian American Students, among others.
We were also so happy to see the community come out to cheer the parade on.
Inside Julian Middle School, the World Language Advisory Committee and Department provided a plethora of family-friendly cultural activities, including art projects, storytellers from many cultures, and world games. Kupagani Multicultural Camp and the Oak Park Tae Kwon Do Club offered interactive activities in Julian's gym. The Hatch Steel Drum Band entertained audiences outside on the Julian Plaza while Foy Traditional Irish Dancers, Kuumba Kids from Longfellow, OutLoud DrumLine and African Drummers, Julian International Dancers, the Lincoln Spanish Immersions dancers, Nunufatima Dance Company, Mann School Chorus, Beye School Gospel Choir, Dancing Daughters from China, and the Busa Family Drummers and Dancers provided entertainment in the auditorium and gym.
Food was provided by #1 Chop Suey, New Pot Thai Restaurant, Stella's Market Catering, Tacos Bernado, Robinson's #1 Ribs and others. Local vendors sold beautiful cultural articles in the International Marketplace.
This was the 33rd time Oak Park has had this celebration of diversity in our community. We had a great time and invite everyone in the village to reserve the first Saturday in May 2014 to join us for this great community event next year. Admission is free.
My sincerest thanks to all who participated to make this event such a great success!
Administrator, D97 Multicultural Education Department