UPCOMING STREET CLOSURE WILL MAKE SPACE FOR 79TH STREET RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
9/5/2018, noon | Updated on 9/5/2018, noon
Upcoming Street Closure Will Make Space For 79th Street Renaissance Festival
BY KATHERINE NEWMAN
The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) will host the 13th Annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 to 9 on 79th Street between Racine and Loomis in the Auburn Gresham Neighborhood.
The GADGC is an organization that supports revitalization in the low-to-moderate income communities that they serve by using comprehensive community development strategies. The GAGDC works in Chicago’s Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Washington Heights, West Englewood, and West Chatham neighborhoods.
“The festival is all about promoting our South Side communities, specifically Auburn Gresham and surrounding communities, as a great place to work, a great place to have a business, a great place to raise a family, a great place to live, a great place to pray, and a great place to have fun. Because we have these 20,000 plus folks, many come from all over the region, [the Festival] is an opportunity to market the existing businesses to people that they ordinarily wouldn’t get access to,” said Carlos Nelson, executive director of the GAGDC.
The festival is a two-day event and will feature performances from world-renowned gospel artists on Saturday and DJ Boolumaster, and CeCe Peniston on Sunday. Other stage performances during the event will include the South Shore Drill Team, Jesse White Tumblers, Nation of Islam Drill Team, Elements of Sound Band, and Chicago House Music Master DJ Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, according to a press release from the GAGDC.
Special activities at the 79th Street Renaissance Festival will include a Seniors Corner where GAGDC will provide free meals to 400 senior citizens, a Kid’s Corner with snacks and giveaways for 1,000 children along with magicians, face painting, a petting zoo, and free dental check-ups, and there will be a Sports and Fitness area.
While the GAGDC does fund a majority of the event, Nelson said that over the years the community has had the most effect on what the festival has become.
“We went from just an idea to one little location on 79th Street at the park, to shutting down the busiest bus line in the city and now it’s a quarter mile long, so now it’s a two-day event because the residents were demanding it,” said Nelson.
When it’s all over, Nelson enjoys taking time to reflect on another successful event and the community engagement that takes place.
“My favorite part is truly just being able to reflect on this small community-based organization with all of our community partners because we don’t do it alone. We may pay a whole lot of money to do this but the organizing is done jointly from business partners, from school partners, from seniors, from faith partners, from a whole lot of other nonprofits and just folks from the community that want to create something that the youth and their families can have access to right here in our own community,” said Nelson.