Cubans, Puerto Ricans or Mexicans…it just didn’t matter. It was a gorgeous day for a family festival. Families, friends, and the curious, along with many others enjoyed the gorgeous as well as extremely hot day at Riis Park for the 1st Annual Cuban Festival.
Guests of the festival were welcomed by many different flavors of Cuba as well as other parts of our grand city. The sounds of Havana on this day were big and it was a great taste of paradise.
I’ve only read about and seen pictures of Cuba but it has helped me confirm that as soon as those boarders open up, I’m definitely going to check it out. You could feel the pride of the Cuban people all around, even if you weren’t from Cuba.
Performances ranged from all forms. While walking to the stage I was greeted with a lesson from El Ritmo School of Latin Percussion. It was a lot of fun to see how quickly a lot of the folks took to the individual and personalized instruction they were getting FREE!!
Once El Ritmo hit the stage with a few of their students, they seemed like experts who quickly learned to beat bongos, play maracas as well as timbales and other instruments. I so wanted to play and wish I had time!!
Vive En Forma spoke of the importance of exercise and a proper diet. The conducted screenings and talked with families about the importance of a good diet and exercise.
Chicago Latin Fitness Zumba sisters Patricia Martha and Marcela Montes led a free Zumba lesson for the crowd. Young and old festival goers alike loved the lesson they were given and even joined in. Hyping and leading the steps on the ground for the audience was Rachelle Moore who also teaches Zumba.
Live performances throughout the weekend also included, Grammy winner Albita Rodriguez, Rey Ruiz and Anissa Gathers of “Celia Cruz the Musical” and many others.
Cesar Rolan, Bassline Inc., and the entire committee and organizers deserve a round of applause for the event that I’m sure was more difficult to pull off than most. It was a true success as the crowd of smiling faces, happy children and bailando adults can attest to.
The neighborhood as well as many others enjoyed the festival and there was a lot of solidarity in the air. It was a safe and fun environment. I’m sure all will be excited to see what comes next year as this event is sure to grow to phenomenal proportions.
Photos courtesy of Carmen C. Rivera and Cesar Rolan
Correction: I mistakenly was under the impression that this was the 2nd Festival but was informed it was actually the 1st Cuban Festival of its kind in Chicago! I apologize for the error but was excited to note the festival’s success…Now, I’m even more impressed at it has set the bar even higher for next year. BRAVO!!