On Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17, noon to 7 p.m., community members are invited to celebrate the 31st annual Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival at Dawes Park, located at Sheridan Rd. and Church St.

The free, two-day event transforms Evanston’s lakefront into a Global Village to celebrate diversity world-wide and features art from a variety of countries, family craft activities, international cuisine, live music, and dance. The Parade of Nations opening ceremony, with a procession of flags from over 200 countries, kicks off the festival at noon on July 16. 

Similar to years past, many of the best ethnic entertainers from the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond will perform. Visitors will enjoy performances from the Music Stage as well as a Field Performance Stage. 

Music Stage performers on Saturday will be The Puppet Place: Wonderful World of Puppets followed by an opportunity to participate in a drum circle with Rhythm Revolution. Later that day, the stage will feature Sultans of String, Hounds of Finn, and Kiran Ahluwalia.

Sunday’s Music Stage performers will be Chicago Folklore EnsembleChicago Afrobeat Project, Gaby Moreno, and Johnny Blas Afro Libre Orchestra.

The Field Performance Stage will feature a Japanese drumming performance, belly dancers, Hawaiian hula dancers, gypsy dancers, Punjabi drumming, a Brazilian batucada parade and more!

In addition to the live performances, children can enjoy art activities such as origami, dream weaving, Shibori banners, felt making, Mehndi (Indian body decoration) and more. Ethnic cuisine will be available for purchase, ranging from tandoori chicken and vegetable samosa to pierogis, plus Ćevapčići, tacos, salmon salad and chocolate-covered frozen bananas! Chilled refreshments include fruit smoothies, Mexican sodas and lemonade.

To view the complete list of performers, artists, food vendors and art activities, please visit cityofevanston.org/ethnic. For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents can simply dial 3-1-1 while in Evanston.

Dawes Park is located just a few blocks east of the Davis Street Metra and CTA stations. It is located between Davis and Church Streets on the lakefront.

Free parking is available in the Northwestern University parking lot three blocks north of the festival grounds. A free City of Evanston festival shuttle bus will travel between the lot and the festival grounds. New this year: Free weekend parking is also available at the Northwestern University Segal Visitors Center parking garage at 1841 Sheridan Rd., which is adjacent to NU’s parking lot.

Festival sponsors are Evanston RoundTable, Chicago Reader, The Homestead, Hearth Restaurant, Renewal by Andersen, and WDCB 90.9 FM, with support from the Cherry Family Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.