The 1865 Fest- A Community Juneteenth Experience

The Westside Cultural Alliance is a Non-For-Profit 501 C3 grassroots community organization established in July 2020. WCA serves as a vehicle to preserve the history, tell the stories and shape the conversation of the Westside's significant cultural contribution to the City of Chicago.

We are the founder of the 1865 Juneteenth Community Festival, hosted in Garfield Park. This initiative gave birth to the 1865 Coalition. The coalition is a collective of community organizations, local businesses, faith-based organizations, residents, youth and elected officials. Through community collaboration and engagement, we work collectively to a bring 3- day community cultural experience to an underserved population.

The festival kicks off Friday with the 1865 Fest Military Honors VIP Reception. This invitation-only reception honors black soldiers who currently serve and veterans who have served in the United States armed forces. The ceremony includes the raising of the Juneteenth Flag over Garfield Park which is a symbol of freedom, honor and recognition of the sacrifice made by black soldiers for their role and contribution to emancipation from slavery.

Saturday is a family and youth focus celebration. Inclusive of family fun activities, sports, a kids zone, entertainment, education, food, arts and culture, local vendors a newly added wellness zone.

We close out the festival Sunday on Father's Day. We honor our fathers with a Men's Grill-Off competition, throwback entertainment, (Gospel, Blues R&B and House music), a men's panel discussion and a newly added sports and game competition.

Funds raised will pay for production and operational cost, youth incentives and to secure talent. The festival is free and open to everyone. We look forward to seeing you there!


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Carol G. Johnson
Chicago, IL
Westside Cultural Alliance
Registered nonprofit
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