Roundtable photo

The 30th annual Ethnic Arts Festival will begin at noon on July 18 with the dramatic Parade of Nations opening ceremony, with a procession of flags from more than 200 countries. After this international celebration, attendees can enjoy Highlander-Roma music with influences of Balkan, Latin, and Reggae from Megitza.

The free, two-day event transforms Evanston’s lakefront into a Global Village, to celebrate diversity worldwide and features art from a variety of countries, family craft activities, international cuisine, live music, dance, and spoken word performances.

As in years past, many of the best ethnic entertainers from the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond will perform. Groups scheduled to perform on the Music Stage include Fiddle Club of the World (international), Plena Libre (Puerto Rico), Kinobe & the Wamu Spirit (Uganda), and RUNA (Ireland). This year, the music stage will also be shared by storyteller Linda Gorham as she presents folk tales from around the world. Ms. Gorham is known to think outside of the box by giving new twists to old stories using movement, humor and sometimes the audience.

The field performance stage will include Japanese Taiko percussion and choreography from Kaiju Daiko, Pacific Island songs from Lanialoha Lee’s Uke Nation, and Punjabi dhol drummers and bhangra dancers from Chi Town Dholiz and Bollywood Groove Bhangra Dancers.

In addition to the live performances, children can enjoy art activities such as origami, Shibori banners, Aztec Codex Medallion necklaces, tree weaving, and more. Ethnic cuisine will be available for purchase, ranging from Jamaican jerk chicken and vegetable samosa to pierogis, and a variety of gourmet pies. Chilled refreshments include Italian ice and fruit smoothies.

This year the festival will return to its original location at Dawes Park, Church Street at Sheridan Road. The complete entertainment, artist and vendor schedules are available at