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spring 2022 events and free programs 1

Feb. 22, 2022 | Upcoming events include International Carnivale, Holi, Chicago Ale Fest, the return of EXPO CHICAGO, Stories of Survival and the highly anticipated Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan

Navy Pier Announces Spring 2022 Events & Free Programs

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate. Please visit our event calendar for information on current events.

CHICAGO—Navy Pier announced its full spring events schedule today, offering a wide range of events including cultural celebrations, the return of Chicago’s premiere international art expo, and a first-of-its-kind tribute to one of America’s most enduring pop-culture treasures, “The Golden Girls.”

“We’ve endured a rather snowy and chilly winter, but here comes the sun, with an array of events and activities that will keep spring hopping at Navy Pier,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “Navy Pier is especially proud to partner with other Chicago-area nonprofits such as the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Chicago Children’s Museum and Chicago Sister Cities International to showcase unforgettable experiences for visitors all season long.”

Spring Highlights (chronological)

Global Connections: Carnivale, March 5 and Holi, March 19

Following its successful launch with Chinese New Year last month, Navy Pier’s Global Connections series, presented by ComEd, continues with two more cultural celebrations. International Carnivale presented by ComEd, brings music, dance, art-making projects and, of course, festive food representing traditions from Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, and North America from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 5 in the Aon Grand Ballroom. The free event features performances by Chicago Samba, Four Star Brass Band, Plena Project presented by Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, and Baranquilla Carnaval presented by Somos Colombia.

India’s grand celebration of good triumphing over evil, Holi presented by ComEd and sponsored by the Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, will be celebrated from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in the Aon Grand Ballroom, which comes alive with dance, music, and educational activities. Funkadesi, Surabhi Ensemble, DJ Krush and DJ Jeet, Bollywood Grove, Natya Dance Theater, Meher Dance, and Mandala Arts will perform. The festival is famous for the throwing of colorful powders, which will be available for sale onsite, from 1-4 p.m. in the Beer Garden. Bombay Wraps will sell food at the event.

Stroller Grooves, Tuesdays in March & April

Stroller Grooves, a live music series for families and their youngest music fans, returns every Tuesday at noon in March and April at the Mural Corner in the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion. Performers include the Q Brothers and Little Miss Ann.

“The Pollinators” screening and honey sampling, March 6

In partnership with the One Earth Film Festival, Navy Pier will stream the documentary “The Pollinators,” which sheds light on the imperiled bee, at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 6. After the free screening, Navy Pier’s own “apiarist” or beekeeper, who maintains two hives on the green roof of the People’s Energy Welcome Pavilion, will lead a discussion about the amazing insects responsible for 35 percent of the global food supply. Guests will then sample the honey harvested at Navy Pier.  To register for the event, click here.

St. Patrick’s River-dyeing cruise, March 12

The hallmark of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is dyeing the river green. Revelers can get up close and personal to the iconic tradition aboard a Seadog boat cruise on the Chicago River. The City Cruises St. Patrick’s Day River Dyeing Cruise, boards at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, March 12. The two-hour cruise features Irish tunes, the best views of the magnificent skyline, and of course green beer! Tickets are $65, available here.

Chicago Children’s Museum Family Days, starting March 31

The first of three Chicago Children’s Museum Family Days will be bustling with activities for children ages 1-10 on Thursday, Mach 31. Chicago Children’s Museum Family Days are also scheduled for April 21 and May 19. Museum admission will be free for all three days.

EXPO CHICAGO, April 7-10

EXPO CHICAGO, International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, will return to Navy Pier, from April 7-10, in Festival Hall. More than 140 preeminent international artists and galleries will exhibit contemporary art, from large installations to rare books and prints. Chicago was the site of the first international art show in the Americas 40 years ago, and now EXPO CHICAGO has committed to return to Navy Pier in April 2023 and 2024. Individual tickets start at $30; a ticket with an hour-long guided tour is $50; and a three-day pass is available for $45. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Senior and student discounts are available. Tickets are available for purchase here.

“Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory,” April 7-June 8

“Stories of Survival: Object. Image Memory,” is an award-winning exhibition of 56 works of art debuting at Navy Pier as a stunning outdoor experience. Featuring powerful collaborative pieces by celebrated photographer Jim Lommasson and survivors of the Holocaust and seven other genocides, including Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, South Sudan and Syria. Stories of Survival showcases more than 50 personal artifacts brought to America as families fled persecution and war. Presented in partnership with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Stories of Survival will be on display outdoors in Polk Bros Park, from April 7 through June 30. Special museum-curated programs are planned for April 27 and June 8. Fifth Third Bank is the Lead Sponsor of Stories of Survival.

Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan, April 22-24
Friends, pals and confidants are invited to share the love and celebrate their favorite show, “The Golden Girls,” at Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan, April 22-24 in the Aon Grand Ballroom. The three-day convention will feature trivia contests, a “Greatest Gift” market, live parody shows from Hell in a Handbag Theater, a disco party, panel discussions, and autograph and photo opportunities with stars, producers, and others who worked on the classic show. The event will also feature special appearances by people involved with the show, including Cindy Fee, the singer who performed the iconic theme song; producers Stan Zimmerman and Marsha Posner-Williams; and actors John Schuck, Dinah Manoff, and Lyn Greene, who played Young Dorothy. David Mathews, who started the online petition that led to Betty White hosting “Saturday Night Live,” will also attend. Tickets start at $25, and several packages, including VIP, will be available. Tickets are available for purchase here.

The event features special appearances by people involved with the show, including Cindy Fee, the singer who performed the iconic theme song; producers Stan Zimmerman and Marsha Posner-Williams; and actors John Schuck, Dinah Manoff, and Lyn Greene, who played Young Dorothy. David Mathews, who started the online petition that led to Betty White hosting “Saturday Night Live,” will also attend.

Guests coming to Navy Pier to attend an event are encouraged to extend their visit with a stay at the luxurious Sable Hotel, along with visiting the Pier’s independent shops, authentic Chicago eateries, the expansive Offshore Rooftop and the exciting Pier Park with its iconic 200-foot Centennial Wheel.

All events subject to change or cancellation. Navy Pier will adhere to the City of Chicago’s current COVID protocols at the time of each event.



About Navy Pier

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2022, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.


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