* First Cultural Exchange event ever at Pioneer Court in Chicago's History *

Chicago Turkish Festival celebrated its 11th year between May 31 - June 1, 2013 . For the first time since inception, this increasingly popular festival was held at Pioneer Court , one of downtown Chicago's busiest landmark locations along the lively Magnificent Mile, right between the NBC and Tribune Towers and Chicago River, at 401 N. Michigan Avenue. 

Despite the terrible rain and bad weather the festival was open to general public free of charge from 10 AM to 9 PM CST on both days with a great success.  Tens of thousands Chicagoans and tourists visited the tents displaying Turkish culture and heritage and watched the live noon and evening performances taking place on the Pioneer Court stage.

* Opening Gala * Fundraising for Mitochondrial Disease * Silent Auction * Dinner * Entertainment *

To celebrate the opening of the 11th Annual Chicago Turkish Festival and raise funds for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, the Festival held a private black tie optional outdoor Opening Gala at Pioneer Court on the evening of Thursday, May 30th at 7:00pm . A limited number of tickets for this event were available to purchase through this web site and a silent auction including a vacation package with business class Turkish Airlines tickets and a week long stay in Cappadocia, was held to benefit Mitochondrial Disease research.

This 2013 Festival once again featured demonstrations of art, dance, music and gourmet food, where Chicagoans had the opportunity to celebrate, learn, and savor Turkish hospitality, culture, heritage and cuisine.

Without leaving the comfort of Pioneer Court , visitors experienced various regions of Turkey together with the participants from Turkey and Turkish-Americans living in the culturally diverse community of Chicago. Guests were able to browse and buy Turkish products, souvenirs and handicrafts, find travel information, participate in activities for children, view many authentic demonstrations and performances, sample Turkish cuisine, and do much, much more at the Festival.

There were over 30 festival booths at the Pioneer Court , and visitors were able to:
  • Enter the Plaza through the doors of a traditional Safranbolu House and enjoy the Land of Civilizations Exhibit reflecting the history of Anatolia and the Turkish Republic
  • Walk through the captivating sights and sounds of the world famous Cappadocia region and 2013 guest city of Nevsehir (please Click here for a New York Times travel section article);
  • Enjoy live mid-day shows of marching Ottoman Military Band , memorable performances of Turkish folk dancers, Whirling Dervishes , fashion show of traditional and modern Turkish couture and textiles, and authentic Turkish classical and folk music concert;
  • Watch the artistic demonstrations of silk carpet weaving, paper marbling, calligraphy, illuminations, ceramic art, and more;
  • Shop for hand-made arts and crafts from Cappadocia , Iznik ceramics and pottery, Turkish rugs, throws, bags, decorative pillows, glassware, traditional jewelry, handicrafts, and more;
  • Enjoy the aromas and tastes of rich Ottoman Turkish cuisine, sample gourmet food, including Turkish style grilled meat patties by Sultanahmet Koftecisi , kabobs, doner sandwiches, vegetable and meat dishes, desserts, baklava at restaurant stands; shop for Turkish delights, apricots, hazelnuts, figs at grocery stands; taste some Turkish beer at or EFES Beer Garden , and much more;
  • Taste other popular Turkish culinary delights such as Turkish style bagel, simit ; have a slice of MADO's unique Kahraman Maras orchid ice cream which once again we expect to serve more than 1,000 gallons; or sip a cup of Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi's Turkish coffee of which more than 10,000 cups are served throughout the Festival;
  • Let your kids enjoy all sorts of activities from the Turkish shadow theater, clowns, story telling, coloring, face painting and games.
The event was broadcast on a number of US and Turkish channels, introducing Turkey and its culture to millions of American viewers.


Pioneer Court

Safranbolu House

Festival 2012

Forever Marilyn statue at Pioneer Court

Pioneer Court