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Jazz Greats Honored as Navy Pier Celebrates its 101st Birthday with a Free Star-Studded Concert, Cultural Programming and More

The Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration continues with a full day of free cultural programming, highlighted by nationally-acclaimed performers, E. Faye Butler, Felicia Fields, Victor Garcia and Fr

7/12/2017, noon | Updated on 7/12/2017, noon
Navy Pier’s Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration will be highlighted by Lakefront Swing, a centennial celebration of jazz greats Ella ...
Felicia Fields

Jazz Greats Honored as Navy Pier Celebrates its 101st Birthday with a Free Star-Studded Concert, Cultural Programming and More

The Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration continues with a full day of free cultural programming, highlighted by nationally-acclaimed performers, E. Faye Butler, Felicia Fields, Victor Garcia and Fred Nelson, in Lakefront Swing, a free premier music concert in Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns

CHICAGO – 101 never looked so good! Navy Pier, Chicago’s mission-driven cultural district, is celebrating its 101st Birthday on Saturday, July 15 with a star-studded bash and full day of free cultural programming in the new Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns from 11 a.m. through the Aon Summer Fireworks Show at 10:15 p.m. The marquee event is part of the ongoing Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration and is another example of the Pier’s commitment to offer guests free, one-of‐a-kind experiences created to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe.

Navy Pier’s Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration will be highlighted by Lakefront Swing, a centennial celebration of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Lena Horne at 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Stage. The free, live music concert will feature a lineup of world-class performers, including Chicago-natives Felicia Fields, the accomplished actress and vocalist known for her 2005 Broadway debut as Sofia in The Color Purple and E. Faye Butler, decorated theater actress and singer, alongside Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter Victor Garcia – all of whom will perform in tribute to the jazz legends who have inspired their own professional artistry. The entire production will be directed by international icon Fred Nelson III, Aretha Franklin’s music director and former opening act for Ray Charles.

At noon, Fifth Third Bank and Navy Pier will celebrate their second annual give-back to the Chicagoland nonprofit community by presenting the recipients of the 101 Rides 101 Nonprofit Partnerships program. The program awards 101 Chicagoland nonprofit organizations a special package to experience the reimagined Pier – including complimentary tickets to the iconic Centennial Wheel to share with their constituents and the communities they serve. The full list of nonprofit recipients will be published on the Navy Pier website.

Other exciting programming will be offered earlier in the day as the celebration officially kicks off at 11 a.m. with a special opening ceremony at the Lake Stage, featuring traditional Native American drumming and dancing by Seven Springs, a procession by Native Veterans and local community youth dancers, and a vibrant performance by World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie. The cultural performances will resume at 1 p.m. with an African drum performance by Oyotunji, followed by an Asian drum and lion dance performance, presented in partnership with the Chinese Fine Arts Society, at 2 p.m.

Navy Pier also looks forward to welcoming other milestone birthday celebrants as it hosts its second Group Quinceañera Celebration on July 15. As part of the event, the Pier is offering free professional group photos along the lakefront to young ladies celebrating their quinceañera, a popular Latin American and Caribbean tradition which marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. Those interested in participating are encouraged to register here and gather in their finest quinceañera dress at the base of the Pier’s Wave Wall staircase on the South Dock at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Participants will receive a link to download a free digital copy of the photo, taken by a professional photographer, along with one complimentary ticket to ride the Centennial Wheel. The celebration will also feature free, live musical performances by the popular Mexican band, Sones de Mexico.