AUBURN GRESHAM —Expectations for the 13th Annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival may be the biggest yet this year for what once started out as a simple block party but is now hoping to draw thousands.
Hosted by the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, the weekend-long festival is slated to run at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and then from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday along the 79th Street corridor, from Racine Avenue to Loomis Avenue.
Organizers are anticipating a crowd of more than 25,000 will make their way to the South Side.
Headliners this year on Saturday will include the South Shore Drill Team, the Jesse White Tumblers and the St. Sabina Peace Jam. Sunday will be headlined by House legend DJ Boolumaster and R&B artist CeCe Peniston. Performances are scheduled rain or shine.
Carlos Nelson, executive director of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, said the original purpose of the celebration was to bring the community together for a block party-type celebration. Today, he said the festival creates an opportunity to promote the positive aspects of the Auburn Gresham community including local businesses and provide information about resources.
“Clearly, after that first year, what was clear was that residents wanted to come together and do something impactful and show that we were building community pride,” Nelson said. “It’s really about giving people an idea as to what goes on in the Auburn Gresham community beyond what the media says is going on.”
Informational vendors will offer details on how to become a homeowner, improving credit, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, GED programs and more. Kids will have the opportunity to ride ponies, play games, check out a petting zoo and more. Free meals will be made available for seniors while supplies last.
For more information about the 79th Street Renaissance Festival contact event coordinator C Johnson and Associates at (773) 723-3557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.