With umbrellas protecting ethnic clothing, the Skokie Festival of Cultures continues – Chicago Tribune

As it rained during the opening ceremony parade on May 21 at the Skokie Cultures Festival, participants bravely held umbrellas over their vibrant costumes as they paraded early Saturday afternoon.

People of all ages dodged the rain as they crossed the lawn at Skokie’s Oakton Park to a stage.

“This year,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, “despite the weather, we wanted to push forward because COVID had stopped us in our tracks for almost two years and everyone just wanted to recover. whole.

“I think it shows we really mean it when we say everyone is welcome in Skokie,” the mayor added.

“It permeates the whole community, our schools, our park district, all the different cultural events at our library,” Van Dusen said. “And that’s sort of one of the highlights of that expression.”

An oversized American flag was the grand finale of the parade, carried onto the stage by people of all ages. The flag was installed at the back of the stage.

“The community comes together to experience and learn about other cultures and traditions through music and dance, food and personal interaction,” said Crystal Haben, Oakton Center Manager for the Skokie Park District and Chair of the Skokie Cultures Festival.

This year’s two-day event featured 25 cultural booths, two stages and a children’s area, as well as a garden with flag poles.

Booth holders included the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Skokie Public Library.

Howard Meyer, President and CEO of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “This is one of the most meaningful programs we run throughout the year to celebrate Skokie’s diversity and bringing together all the different ethnic groups.

“We are one of the most ethnically diverse municipalities in the country with over 100 languages ​​spoken at home,” Meyer said.

“I really think embracing diversity makes Skokie a really wonderful and productive community.”

Paul Kim, reader advisory specialist for the Skokie Public Library, helped staff an outreach table.

“It shows perseverance, people coming to this event today, through the weather, people preparing and having enthusiasm and compassion for each other, enthusiasm in this they do, wanting to represent different ethnicities while holding together as one community,” Kim said.

“It’s something that I think a lot of us may have missed over the last two years thinking that…so it’s very inspiring for us.”

James C. Tibbs