Since its inception in 1991, the Haitian Community Organization (HCO) has been a gathering place for Haitians across Chicagoland to celebrate culture, music, and community. Its modest beginnings met the important need to gather together for the sake of community. It was an opportunity for Haitians throughout Chicago to connect with other Haitians and in the last decade, this celebration has grown exponentially. The Festival is known throughout Chicago and the north suburbs as a celebration of Chicago’s diversity and the solid entertainment content has made it a popular annual pastime bringing families together. Not only does the festival feature live musical and dance performances, but there are also lively soccer and tennis matches with a strong emphasis on youth participation. Community members can learn about the many ways in which the Haitian influence has permeated Chicago, and the United States, and how to experience these culturalisms first hand through music, dance, and food.
Today, the organization hosts thousands of Chicagoans coming from all of the greater Chicagoland area. As the event continues to gain popularity, it creates opportunities to educate patrons about Haiti’s rich history, and celebrate Haitian’s contribution to American culture as well.