Festival Pavilions


Bernice Gardner Children's & Family Pavilion

Youth of all ages can enjoy games, music, dance, storytelling, theater arts, drumming, and crafts all day long! Social Service agencies will be represented in the pavilion to provide answers to family, parenting, educational, and children's questions. 

Programming and children's activities are scheduled in the Bernice Gardner's Children's Pavilion between the hours of 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm. All are welcome to come and enjoy a great weekend in the pavilion.

Dr. Nurudeen Olowopopo Health & Wellness Pavilion

Join in fun fitness activities with Line Dancing, African Dance, Weight Training, great music and more!  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Presents the 2015 Health and Wellness Village and invite all ages to Get Moving and Get Active in the “Family and Youth Tennis Carnival” Saturday-Monday.  In addition, the University of Chicago Medicine, Walgreens, and Inner Focus/Visalus will provide important health resources and screenings for the entire family.


African Spiritual Pavilion & Ancestral Grove

The African Festival of the Arts was founded to celebrate the collective ancestry and rich cultural traditions of Africans throughout the Diaspora. The general belief of "we are because they (our ancestors) were" was the impetus for creating a venue where our ancestors could be venerated through the art created by their descendants. The Ancestral Grove is the spiritual center of the AFA; a sacred space where you can acknowledge your ancestors and learn more about traditional African Spirituality. People of all faiths, colors, and ages are invited to engage or observe sessions and conversations with African priests, spiritualists, healers, nutritionists, and herbalists. Try the diviners and other readers to uncover your hidden paths. Join us for Yoga sessions, back and neck massages, spiritual awakening (meditation), and discussions. The Ancestral Grove will open on Thursday at 6pm, the ceremony will begin at 7pm. Feel free to bring flowers, fruit, cigars, or other offerings if you desire.

The Ancestral Grove opens daily at Noon and closes at 8pm.

Drum Village

Come celebrate The Drum. The Dance. The Experience, an exploration of the influence African and African-American heritage had on the cultural arts in Chicago for more than 40 years. This pavilion showcases interactive music education sessions and cultural performances rooted in African traditions; historical artifacts, photos; performances; and demonstrations by artistic Drummers and Dancers from around the world. Master drummers Olu Shakoor and Baba Tyehimba Mtu lead sessions that teach drumming techniques. Bring your old drums for re-skinning. A spontaneous and collaborative environment encourages all to participate in the rhythmic experience and share their gifts with others.

Author & Book Pavilion

The Author & Book Pavilion will feature well-known local, national and international authors in the areas of non-fiction and fiction writing. Check out the schedule and stop by! 

Saturday, August 31st

1-2pm Henry ‘Osagefo’ Colby

2:30-3:30pm Atty. James Montgomery

4-6pm Dr. Wesley Muhammad

Sunday, September 1st

1-2pm DeKalb Walcott

2-3pm Susan Peters

4-5:30pm Dr. Walter Williams

David Durojaiye Olupitan African Heritage Pavilion 

Celebrating & commemorating Africa's tradition of firsts. The African Heritage Pavilion provides and intimate look into the culture, heritage and traditions of African, African-American and West-Indian descendants in Chicago. Visit the pavilion for dynamic programming, including exhibits and lectures from our local and global partners.

Quilting Pavilion

Needles and Threads hosts the Quilting Pavilion to showcase the ageless tradition that has cultural significance across the African Diaspora. From slave codes to storytelling, quilting seamlessly connected generations of Africans to the Motherland. Festival-goers can visit the Quilting Pavilion to learn about the craft, gain insight to the intricate stitching and techniques like appliqué, piecing and embroidery. Enjoy the breathtaking vibrant colors and fabrics that make this textile artistry a lasting Cultural Legacy.