CHATHAM — Organizers of the first-ever Kwanzaa on the 9, a family-friendly event highlight African-American culture and Chatham businesses on 79th Street, want to kick-off the holiday season with a new tradition.
The free event, which aims honor the African-American and Pan-African holiday traditionally celebrated Dec. 26- Jan. 1, is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at 532 E. 79th St. The fun will feature Kwanzaa-themed window displays in shops, African dance and drumming, Christmas trees for sale, a Lego park hosted by Bricks for Kidz, caroling from local churches, storytelling and more.
Free pictures with Santa will be offered from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. nearby at 4 Ever Young Daycare, 441 E. 79th St.
Nedra Sims Fears, executive director of Greater Chatham Initiative, said Kwanzaa on 9 was inspired by her lifelong admiration of the elaborate Christmas displays in shop windows on State Street in the Loop. She said she wanted to recreate the idea for her own South Side community and put an African-American spin on it.
“We met with community residents two years ago and they told us they want fun activities in the neighborhood that they could participate in,” she said.
As part of Kwanzaa on the 9, Kwanzaa-themed art will be displayed in shop windows at these addresses along 79th Street: 431 E. 79th St., 437 E. 79th St., 439 E.79th St. and 532 E. 79th St., according to the event flier. The window displays will stay up through Jan. 2, organizers said.
Artists Damon Lamar Reed and Dorian Sylvain, chosen when the Greater Chatham Initiative issued a request for proposals earlier this year, produced the artwork.
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