AUBURN GRESHAM — Those attending the 8th Annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival and Family Jam for Peace next month can expect to hear a variety of songs, including house music by Farley "Jack Master Funk" Keith.
The free outdoor festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the intersection of 79th Street and Racine Avenue.
Carlos Nelson, executive director of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, a nonprofit that sponsors the community event, said Keith would play from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"For all those 'old schoolers' out there, you don't want to miss one of the most popular DJs in Chicago doing his thing," Nelson said. "All of the entertainment is home-grown talent."
Keith, a 51-year-old DJ and music producer, has been a Chicago mainstay since 1981, when he became a member of the "Hot Mix 5" DJ team at the former WBMX-FM (102.7), which today is V103.
Gospel, jazz and R&B music also will be played, and the Jesse White Tumblers and the South Shore Drill Team will perform.
Local restaurants, such as BJ's Market and Bakery and Salaam restaurant, will be among the vendors selling food. A petting zoo will also be on site for children, too, Nelson said. Last year 12,000 people attended the fair, according to GAGDC officials.
Residents said they look forward to the festival each year because it shines a positive light on a community known mostly for having high crime and unemployment.
"It's good every now and then to showcase the positive about a community and not focus on the negative aspects," said Crystal Monroe, 66.
Monroe said she has lived in Auburn Gresham for 47 years and remembers when it was "one of the better neighborhoods on the South Side."
"But somewhere down the line that changed, and now [residents] must find a way to bring back the glory this community once held," she said.
Martha Wilson, 71, said she likes to see kids playing outside without fear of getting shot.
"All the little babies running around playing and having fun. That's why I go to the festival," Wilson said. "It feels like a family reunion every time I go."