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Our Weekend at the 29th Annual Festival of Cultures

On May 18th-19th, Byline was honored to join with other civic and community leaders as a sponsor of Skokie Park District’s 29th Annual Festival of Cultures. Skokie, a busy and vibrant community, is a critical piece of Chicagoland’s North Shore neighborhood identity and the Village is proud of its extraordinarily diverse population.

The festival began in 1991, as an effort to promote a better understanding between Skokie residents of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and was a joint initiative between the newly formed Skokie Ethic Diversity Committee, the Skokie Human Relations Commission, Skokie Park District, Rotary Club of Skokie, Village of Skokie and the Skokie Public Library. That first year, 1,000 attendees celebrated 14 locally represented cultures in Oakton Park, a 19-acre community oasis.

This year, well over 30,000 revelers filled the park for two full days of festivities celebrating more than three dozen different cultures—from Armenian to Uzbek. The celebrations kicked off with the fourth annual Friday night International Short Films screening (rapidly becoming a festival institution of its own), and the action continued all weekend long, as attendees took their “Tour of the World.”

Representative acts from the festival’s organizing cultures represented with pride on two stages, with an astounding range of ethnic folk music and dance acts, while Chicago’s global foodie citizens in the know piled in by the thousand to eat and drink to their heart’s content. There was something for everyone this year—from the now-iconic Festival of Cultures flag display, international children’s games and a mini train ride around the park, to a very real and actively trading merchandise bazaar (and did we mention the beer tastings and food vendors?).

Byline has been a proud part of Chicagoland for over 100 years, and we take our responsibility to our neighborhoods very seriously. It’s an honor to be a trusted bank where we live and work, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the people who keep each of our diverse communities strong and vibrant. We’re just where we want to be.

To find out how Byline could support your event, contact us.