On the 4th of July, the Chicago area’s Haitian communities enjoyed the annual Haitian Picnic Under the Sun. In hopes of bringing families together for safe and healthy fun, the picnic held at James Park in north suburban Evanston had a large variety of Caribbean food, music and featured Haitian dancers. This year, the picnic was used as an outlet to help the survivors of the January earthquake in Haiti. Picnic attendees who have relocated from Haiti to the United States because of the earthquake, six months earlier, were acknowledged and given the opportunity to share their stories on the main stage in front of hundreds of listeners.

We have preserved these audio snapshots as a way to welcome immigrants and visitors to one of the Chicago area’s more unheralded treasures: A shared summer in the city.

Enjoy the slideshow that captures some of the sights and sounds of the fest and then click on the photos below to hear “snapshots” of festival-goers with rich stories about their immigrant backgrounds and experiences. We hope you enjoy exploring the Summer Snapshots as much as we did. Please share your stories with us as well.