Shoppers inspect a blanket from Baba Blankets at the 2019 African Fest. This year, the festival is going virtual. Credit: Provided

WASHINGTON PARK — The African Festival of the Arts is returning for Labor Day weekend after years of not being held due to the pandemic.

The 33rd African Festival of the Arts is noon-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Monday at Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave. This year’s theme is “Back to Culture, Back to Tradition.”

Tickets are available online or at the event. Advance general admission tickets are $30, general admission tickets on site are $40, an advance weekend pass is $75 and a weekend pass at the event is $120. There are discounts for older people and children.

The last festival was held virtually in 2020.

The festival will have interactive and immersive activities for families, bringing art, music, food, spirituality and aspects of African culture to the South Side, organizers said.

In a replicated African village, neighbors can see stilt walkers, learn computer coding, enjoy arts and crafts with the Betty Shabazz Academy and participate in other activities, organizers said. There will be a drum circle, opportunities to learn about natural healing methods and yoga, meditation and Zumba classes, organizers said.

Attendees can meet Black authors and poets, watch films from local and international filmmakers and learn how to cook foods from Black cultures, organizers said. Artists will sell textiles, stone sculptures, wood carvings, wearable art, leather crafts and handmade jewelry, organizers said.

There will also be performances and sets from international DJ’s showcasing kinds of Black music.

Chicago singer Terisa Griffin will sing R&B songs Friday, Nigerian artists P. Square and REMA will perform Saturday, gospel singer Erica Campbell is singing with the Chicago Mass Choir and The Victory Travelers on Sunday and R&B girl group SWV will perform with a to-be-announced South African artist on Monday.

More information can be found online

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