Chicago's Brazilian community and friends are coming together on August 26 to celebrate their unique heritage with Brasil Fest Chicago, the first Brazilian outdoor festival in the Midwest.
Why Brasil Fest with an "S" rather than a "Z"? Because that's the Portuguese spelling of Brazil! And why now? Because 2012 is shaping up to be remembered as the year when Brazil claimed its place in the global stage.
The Brasil Fest stage will offer non-stop entertainment for all tastes from noon to 6:45 p.m. Afro-Brazilian culture afficionados will be treated to capoeira and maculêlê performances, while music fans will get a little of everything from the erudite Brazilian jazz of Paulinho Garcia and the Breno Sauer Sextet to the danceable rhythms of Chicago Samba and Bossa Tres Quintet.
Passistas Samba Dancers and Samba1 Brazilian Dance Group will perform dazzling moves - and the audience will have no excuse not to join them, because there will be instructors onstage teaching samba! And for those who are curious about the Zumba fitness craze, there will be a 15-minute Zumba session with Brazilian music and choreographies.
Brasil Fest will be a free ($5 suggested donation) kid-friendly event with lots going on offstage, including face-painting and Brazilian children's games, and hands-on learning opportunities through free capoeira and percussion workshops for all ages.
Brasil Fest will be held as part of The Boulevard, a popular Star Events festival that has been rocking the sizzling Logan Square Neighborhood for three years. Initial funding for the event was provided by Brazil's Ministry of External Relations by way of the Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago.
"Our goal was to insert an event in Chicago's summer schedule that would honor the Brazilian community while at the same time engaging the local public," said Deputy Consul of Brazil in Chicago Camila Mandel Barros.
Brasil Fest was conceived by Moacyr Marchini, the frontman for Chicago Samba, which has been entertaining local Brazilian music lovers for 21 years. "I've been to Brazilian Day in New York a few times, and I thought it was nuts that we didn't have a similar event here," Marchini said. "This has been a longtime dream of mine, and I'm confident that Brasil Fest Chicago will only grow in the coming years."
To make Brasil Fest happen, Marchini has been working for months with members of the leading Brazilian organizations in Chicagoland: The website Chicagoano, the mother's group Mães Brasileiras de Illinois, the catholic group Comunidade Católica Brasileira em Chicago, the Illinois-São Paulo Partners of the Americas, and the International Latino Cultural Center.
For companies that want to expose their brand to the local Brazilian community, Brasil Fest is offering a variety of sponsor packages to fit any budget. Chicago-area residents who want to be a part of the event can volunteer to help out with a variety of tasks before, during and after the event; all volunteers will receive a free Brasil Fest T-shirt. Visit http://www.brasilfestchicago.com/ for additional information.