Authentic Cuban Culture for the Community: Festival CubanoFriday, August 05, 2016 Jennie Velasco
George Herrera has been at this festival planning game for several years. He runs EventSource that is responsible for several other open air festivals, and Festival Cubano is entering its seventh year as a way to bridge Cuban culture into the city of Chicago. "I'm 100% Cuban, my parents came here in the 70's. I remember as a child here growing up, we used to go to these small Cuban gatherings. Somewhere along the lines they just stopped. We used to gather at the park on Cicero and Peterson and families would gather from Rogers Park and Edgewater area where a lot of Cubans lived."
The Cuban population in Chicago makes up less than 1% of its total Hispanic population, but George Herrera wanted to make this an opportunity for the Hispanic community to gather and celebrate to which he says is the bulk of the festivals success. "What's pretty awesome is that other cultures have embraced Cuban fest as their own. No different than when its St Patty's Day everyone is Irish. And our first festival we saw over 40,000 people, so I knew this was going to be something that would go far."
Also noted is the attention to detail in the programming to make the festival as authentic as possible. When I asked George about what makes this festival different from others, he mentions the recent changes in the relationship with Cuba. Americans are getting better glimpses of the culture and the recent embrgo lift has eliminated a lot of red tape to get Cuban artists, merchandise, foods, etc to the states. Check out what you'll experience:
-open play dominoes
-free medical exams
-back to school giveaways
-classic car showcase
-authentic, hand rolled cigars
-arts and crafts
-music workshops with congas and timbales w/ an instructor
Also a fantastic artist lineup: