The City of Elgin, in collaboration with community and business leaders, will hold the seventh annual Elgin International Festival (iFest) on Saturday, May 4, from 1:30 pm. to 6:00 p.m. at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin and nearby locations. Elgin iFest showcases the vast array of cultures in the Elgin community and the surrounding Fox Valley area. This free, family-friendly festival will feature live music and entertainment, an international food court, children’s activities, as well as dozens of international arts, crafts and exhibits representing the following regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American, and North America.
Opening ceremonies kick off at 1:30 p.m. with a welcome from Mayor Kaptain, followed by announcements from Master of Ceremonies Jeff Myers and various community leaders.
“What truly makes our city unique is our people,” said Mayor Kaptain, “ iFest is a wonderful event that celebrates the many cultures of Elgin’s community. It’s a family-friendly event that allows the community to come out and learn about their neighbor’s culture, try their cuisine and enjoy their music and dance.”
Guests will be able to immerse themselves and explore new cultures through several interactive activities including the inaugural, “Taste of Elgin Ethnic Food Fair.” Local Elgin vendors will showcase their cooking talents by creating unique ethnic foods for the community to taste and enjoy. The food vendors will located on Grove Avenue between Kimball Street and Symphony Way.
Families and children will enjoy a wide range of artistic activities that will allow participants to create cultural art pieces, play ethnic games and more. These activities will give everyone an hands-on experience of different cultures. The children’s area will return the popular petting zoo and camel rides from last year’s event. Everyone will have an opportunity to capture beautiful images through several interactive photo booths including an artistic floral backdrop of the theme of this year’s event, “UNITY.”
Inside the Heritage Ballroom, guests will be able to explore more cultures through country exhibitors and shop at the World Market Fair for exquisite ethnic crafts and goods. There will be over 20 exhibitors for guests to explore and learn more about the diversity in the community.
With great food, great activities and great knowledge, guests will also have an opportunity to celebrate great ethnic performances from local entertainers and groups. The show will kick-off with a Bollywood performance that will stir up the crowd with their lively energy. The closing will feature a local group that will entertain the audience with an upbeat Mariachi performance.
A Weekend of Celebrating Diversity and Culture
This weekend provides the community multiple opportunities to enjoy the festive celebrations of diversity and cultures. The Gail Borden Library will be celebrating their annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on May 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will feature several Asian performers and a keynote speaker, Sufia Azmat. On Sunday, May 5 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin (DNA) will host its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring food vendors, activities and entertainers. Along with Elgin iFest, the community will have a great opportunity to experience the cultural richness of the greater Elgin community and Fox Valley Region.
Volunteers are needed throughout the festival for set up, tear down, craft assistance, contest administration, information booth and general oversight. Individuals and groups interested in volunteering can sign up at elginifest.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit elginifest.org. For on-the-go updates, follow Elgin iFest Facebook event.