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Pictured: E. Faye Butler
Navy Pier is celebrating its 101st Birthday on Saturday, July 15 with a day of free cultural programming in the new Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing through the fireworks show at 10:15 p.m.
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, the event will be highlighted by “Lakefront Swing,” a celebration of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Lena Horne at 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Stage. The free concert will feature Chicago-natives Felicia Fields, the accomplished actress and vocalist known for her 2005 Broadway debut as Sofia in THE COLOR PURPLE, and E. Faye Butler, decorated theater actress and singer, alongside Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter Victor Garcia – all of whom will perform in tribute to the jazz legends who have inspired their own professional artistry. The production will be directed by Fred Nelson III, Aretha Franklin’s music director and former opening act for Ray Charles.
Other programming will be offered earlier in the day as the celebration officially kicks off at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony at the Lake Stage, featuring traditional Native American drumming and dancing by Seven Springs, a procession by Native Veterans and local community youth dancers, and a performance by World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie. The cultural performances will resume at 1 p.m. with an African drum performance by Oyotunji, followed by an Asian drum and lion dance performance, presented in partnership with the Chinese Fine Arts Society, at 2 p.m.
“Navy Pier’s 101st Birthday not only marks another anniversary for the treasured and iconic landmark; it is a shining moment in its long history of being the People’s Pier,” said Navy Pier Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer Michelle T. Boone. “We look forward to commemorating the start to the Pier’s second century by offering a full day of free arts and cultural entertainment that honors our new programmatic direction and showcases the best of Chicago’s diverse talent. We invite Chicagoans and beyond to join us as we continue the Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration, honoring the legacy and future of Navy Pier.”
Navy Pier’s 101st Birthday celebration is part of an effort to re-define the pier as a mission-driven cultural organization, along with its redevelopment as a contemporary, environmentally responsible urban space. More info at www.navypier.com.