Top 5 multicultural events for families in Chicago this weekend - May 16, 17 and 18

We've got another action-packed weekend in the forecast for Chicago. Yes, spring has brought with it a ton of great, family-friendly activities for all of us to enjoy. And, with some rain in the forecast (surprise, surprise…), it's good to know there are a lot of good indoor options, too.

Here is the Raising World Citizens list of the top five multicultural events for families in Chicago this weekend - Friday, May 16, Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18:

1. Anime Central 
Hyatt Regency O'Hare
9300 Bryn Mawr Ave. (Rosemont)
Friday, May 16 - Sunday, May 18
Registration information is available online

Do you and/or your children love Japanese anime and manga? If so, then you should plan to head to Anime Central (ACen) this weekend. ACen is the Midwest’s largest anime, manga and Japanese popular culture convention. Visitors to the three-day event can expect to enjoy a video game room, concerts, educational panels and workshops, autograph sessions, tabletop gaming, and more. You also can browse anime, manga and Japanese culture merchandise in the exhibition hall. More information on ACen is available online.

2. Stages, Sights & Sounds
Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St. (Chicago's Loop neighborhood)
Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St. (Chicago's Loop neighborhood)
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. (Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood)
Now through Saturday, May 24
Tickets are available online or by calling 312.494.9509

The 15th annual Stages, Sights & Sounds is underway! The program features performers from Chicago and across the globe, including Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan, and Spain. My family saw two shows put on by Spanish and Australian performers last weekend - and they were both unique and imaginative. Both were puppet shows, but were geared towards different age groups. Together, they offered my sons new, imaginative ways to view the world - and to learn to tell their own stories, too. More performances are scheduled for this weekend.  Tickets are available online or by calling the Chicago Humanities Festival Box Office at 312.494.9509.

3. Skokie Festival of Cultures
Oakton Park
4701 W. Oakton St. (Skokie)
Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18, 11 am - 7 pm
Free admission

More than 35 cultures will be represented at the Skokie Festival of Cultures this weekend. The two-day event typically attracts more than 400,000 visitors. This year, you can expect to enjoy ethnic folk music and dance, a variety of ethnic foods, arts and crafts, international children's games, and a merchandise bazaar. You also can browse dozens of cultural booths and displays. The complete entertainment schedule is available online.

4. Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival 
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road (Glencoe)
Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18, 10 am – 2 pm
Free with Chicago Botanic Garden admission

In Japan, Children’s Day (or Kodomo no Hi) was celebrated on May 5. This weekend, the celebration continues at the Chicago Botanic Garden with the Malott Japanese Garden Children's Festival. During the two-day event, your family can learn about Children's Day and other children’s celebrations held in Japan. You also can design a Kimono-clad paper doll, create a miniature carp (or koinoburi) kite, make an origami samurai helmet, watch a tea ceremony, and more. More details on the scheduled activities are available online.

5. Five Elements: Earth and Wood Concert 
Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St. (Chicago's Loop neighborhood)
Sunday, May 18 at 3 pm
Free admission

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is currently underway. To celebrate the culture, traditions and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, the Chinese Fine Arts Society is hosting a free concert,themed around “Earth and Wood,” on Sunday, May 18 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The concert performers will primarily use Chinese and western string instruments made of wood. The program will feature traditional folk music, contemporary arrangements, and original compositions by world-renowned composers. Additional information on the concert and the scheduled performers is available online.

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