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The City of Evanston will kick off a busy special events calendar this Saturday with Holi Fest, and ring out the year with traditional lighting ceremonies under a 2022 Special Events Calendar approved at the March 14 Evanston City Council meeting.

DowntownEvanston.org and the Evanston Association of India are hosting Holi Fest, an Indian celebration that marks the beginning of “spring, renewal and love.”
The event is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at Raymond Park, at the corner of Lake Street and Chicago Avenue.

Participants in the celebration will throw colored powder into the air – and on the participants themselves – and there will be dancing to Bollywood music, the groups’ application said.

Other new events added to the city’s special events schedule are:

  • A Palm Sunday processional scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. April 10, starting at Lake Street Church, 607 Lake St. The church plans for the processional, to be led by a donkey and its handler, to take place in the streets surrounding Raymond Park.
  • Curt’s Cafe 10th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 1. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Curt’s is planning to host a community picnic in the Ladd Arboretum outside the Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. Community members who helped start Curt’s are expected to share stories about the cafe, which provides work and life skills training for young adults in at-risk situations.
  • Childcare Network of Evanston (CNE) plans to host a family-friendly walk along the lakefront from 10 a.m. to noon May 14. The group is holding the event to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood and to raise funds for CNE, which offers a wide range of programs, such as Head Start/Early Head Start, that are designed for children from birth to age 5 and their families, teachers and caregivers.
  • The Kitchen Table Stories Project and Melissa R. Molitor, a local artist, educator and activist, plan to hold the Umbrella Arts Festival from 1 to 6 p.m. May 14 at Fountain Square. The festival is a celebration of the Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander American (ASAPI) community in Evanston as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The event will include artist booths, food and drink kiosks, and music.
  • Molitor and her group Kids Create Change are also planning a Lantern Floating Ceremony from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 30, Memorial Day, on the Arrington Lagoon at the lakefront. The event is inspired by the many different ASAPI cultures that use the lantern as a symbol of celebration and memorialization. Community members will be invited to float a pre-made paper lantern in the lagoon in memory of someone they have lost.
  • Soccer’s capacity to bring people of different backgrounds together will be celebrated at the Evanston Unity Soccer Festival, from 1 to 6 p.m. July 9, on the turf fields outside the Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St. Elliott Hurtig, an Evanston Township High School graduate and English teacher at Deerfield High School, started the event in 2015 to celebrate the multicultural diversity that “makes Evanston residents proud of our city.” The motto for the festival is “The Goals are not The Goal” in the games where soccer’s binding force is celebrated. If the Robert Crown fields are not available, the event will return to Kamen Park, officials said.
  • The Black Business Consortium of Evanston North Shore will sponsor LeTour De Noir Market Place and Expo from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 16, in Dawes Park adjacent to the Arrington Lakefront Lagoon. The expo is an annual event with food and music that offers the opportunity for local business owners to mingle as well as purchase each other’s products and services.
  • The Evanston Environmental Association plans to host a free movie as well as food trucks at James Park, Oakton Street and Dodge Avenue, as part of its Wild and Scenic Film Fest, to be held 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 26.

The City Council’s approval of the schedule included returning events with no changes, according to the memo from Audrey Thompson, the city’s Interim Parks & Recreation Director.

Returning park events with no changes: Starlight Concert Series, Starlight Movie Series, Race Against Hate 5K, Fourth of July Fireworks, Great Lake Plunge, North Shore Century Bike Ride, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, 1 Million Steps for OCD Walk, Flying Turkey 5K Run and Rotary International Staff Picnic.

Non-lakefront Park Events: Garden Fair, Bird Buzz, Backyard Botanicals, Starlight Concert Series, Starlight Movie Series, Thursday Night Live, Evanston Haitian Community Organization Picnic, Second Baptist Church Picnic, Jamaica Day Celebration, Out of SPACE Concerts, Fall Fest and Outdoor Market, Holiday Light Celebration.

Returning non-park events with no changes: Northwestern University Commencement; Race Against Hate; Fourth of July Parade; Central Street Sidewalk Sale; Northshore Youth Triathlon; Starlight Concert/Food Truck Fest; Taste of Armenia Festival; Malankara Catholic Church Procession; Kits, Cats and Kids Block Party; Bike the Ridge; Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest; Cubmobile; Flying Turkey Run; Evanston Holiday Lighting; Evanston Made Makers Markets; Vintage Garage Sale; Juneteenth Parade; and Out of SPACE Concerts.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

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