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5th Annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival: Weather Proofed

The Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Henry – Commandment, pay tribute to the 3,497 fallen victims of 9-1-1.

Aum Mu Ra-El

9.11.2010: A modest attempt by Mother Nature could not prevent festival-goers from attending the 5th Annual Auburn Gresham 79th Street Renaissance Festival. With an impressive list of over 100 vendors and entertainers, this festival provided many highlights to include popular American cuisines as soul food, delectables as fruit platters, magical and musical acts, tributes to those fallen heroes of 9-1-1, educational and sports offerings, and environmentally friendly demonstrations and products.

According to the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation’s (GADC) executive director, Carlos Nelson, “…not even rain could hold back thousands of attendees at our annual festival. We really applaud our residents and business owners for welcoming people from across this country into our community.” 

Performers from the Chinese Folk Dance group use colorful umbrellas to engage the audience in their act.

Aum Mu Ra-El

Ben Levine, a native New Yorker and recent graduate of the University of Rochester said, “Wow I am amazed by the number of restaurants in this community. The food is really good here.” 

This festival began in 2006 to commemorate Auburn Gresham residents and business owners who have participated in the rebirth of this historic community. It started off using four city-owned lots and the Chicago Park District's Renaissance Park to promote Auburn Gresham as a great place to do business, live, work and play.

Today, the 79th Street Festival occupies a portion of Auburn Gresham’s principal retail corridor in addition to the busiest bus route in the city of Chicago - 79th Street between Racine and Loomis Avenue.

 The 79th Street Renaissance Festival is a huge undertaking requires a year of advanced planning. Led by GADC and CJ and Associates, the festival planning sessions welcomed several community stakeholders and volunteers.  

Perspectives-Calumet Cheerleaders rally the crowd of thousands with a few cheering selections.

Aum Mu Ra-El

The meetings were typically held at Soul Food Unlimited, a local eatery with more than 40 years of service in Auburn Gresham. Each meeting, planners were treated to a hot breakfast to include grits, eggs, turkey bacon, biscuits, orange and apple juices, and hot coffee.

Sponsors included: Alderman Howard Brookins (D-21), Alderman Latasha Thomas (D-17), Beverly Bank, CJ and Associates, Cleanslate, Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago), Quest Development Group LLC, Saint Sabina Church, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (L-16), and UJAMAA Construction. 

Vendors and volunteers included but not limited to: 006th District Chicago Police Department, Access Community Health Networks, Addus Healthcare, ALDI, All State Insurance, Alpha Learning Center, BJs Market and Bakery, Brotherhood Produce, Catholic Charities/St. Leo Veterans Campus, CEDA, Chicago Children Museum, Chicago Department of Community Development, Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Hopes, Chicago Military Academy at Bronzville, Chicago Public Library, Chicago NSP, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Sky, Chinese Folk Dance, Citizens Utility Board, City Colleges of Chicago, City of Chicago, CLEAR, Cook County Assessors Office, Country Financial, Curves of Auburn Gresham, DeVry Institute of Technology, East-West University, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Family Health Network Chicago, GAIA Movement, Giggles and Grunt Clowning Service, Governor’s State University, Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, ICE Theaters, Illinois State University - College of Education, In the Paint Basketball, Jesse White Tumblers,

The South Shore Drill team female units entertains festival-goers with musical selections from the 60's.

Aum Mu Ra-El

Johnny Drummer and the Starliters, Kham’ryn B. Shoes and Accessories, Shoes, Kidz Korna Youth Organization, Lena’s Artistic Beauty College,Marquette Bank, MB Financial Bank, Ms. B’s Italian Ice, Ms. Shirley Bryant, Mr./Mrs. Granville Love, Mr. Pratt, Ms. Betty Swanson, New Pisgah Community Service Organization, N Focus, Nubian Dance Cultural Center, Orion’s Mind, Pangea Realty, Perspectives Charter Schools-Calumet, Safer Pest Control Project, Saint Sabina Elder’s Village, Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center, Soul Food Unlimited, State of Illinois, Stella’s African-Caribbean-Soul Food, South Shore Drill Team, Taylor Day School, The Art Institute-Chicago: The International Culinary School, The Original Cool -n- Smooth Bar & Deli, The US Census Bureau, Walgreen’s, We Paint Smiles, WellCare Health Plans Inc., Wooten Security, and World Sports Chicago.

As you can see, many resources have contributed to this neighborhood's revitalization. Because of everyone’s generous time and dedicated efforts, the Auburn Gresham community continues to accomplishment specific objectives and reach milestones from our Quality of Life plan. They include: 

GADC's Ernest Sanders aims right at the bullseye target at the 79th Street Renaissance Festival.

World Sports Chicago

  1. Encourage local business ownership and generate jobs for youth and young adults

  2. Promote Auburn Gresham through a broad-based publicity program

  3. Focus development on 79th Street into compact businesses clusters that are pedestrian and transit-friendly

  4. Improve the quality of education for people of all ages and help students and parents maximize their school experience

  5. Strengthen support systems for health and social services, safety and workforce development

  6. Make enjoyment of the arts, culture and open space part of the Auburn Gresham way of life

Members from the Auburn Gresham Curves family pose for a group photo at the 79th Street Renaissance Festival.

Aum Mu Ra-El

So you see the Auburn Gresham 79th Street Renaissance Festival is more than a notion. It is a viable community development economic engine geared to move its people, places, and things forward.  

Want to see more highlights, click here.

For more details about becoming a 2011 79th Street Renaissance Festival sponsor, vendor, planner, or volunteer, please contact the GADC offices at 773.483.3696.  


To foster and promote revitalization of the community by designing and implementing programs that improve the community’s economic viability; increase availability of quality housing to people of different income levels, while maintaining and improving existing affordable housing; and enhance delivery of social services, particularly to senior citizens.

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