African American Festival

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

Interest in the African American festival is booming. It was first held at the train station, now it's taken over Gypsy Hill Park. And so many vendors wanted to take part, organizers had to turn more than 25 away.

The music may have drawn you to the African American festival, but all the culture is probably what kept you there.

"I'm selling unique African art from Nigeria. It have special meaning from King and Queen to chiefs to different historic events and festival activities," Alfred Igbodo says.

"We have everything on display from Woodrow Wilson to Abraham Lincoln to African Chiefs and what have you," Thelma Newman says.

"I have been doing this festival as long as this festival is in existence I am a designer by profession," Felicia Nwabueze says.

All this cloth comes straight from Africa, Nwabeuze has dresses from ceremonial to casual.

"It helps them to show who they are," Nwabueze says.

Now, the dresses may be the most visible part of the African American culture, but that's not all that's here.

"The traditional Cajun fried catfish, Cajun fried trout and whiting," George Spry says.

Food's a big part of any culture...Spry says fried and spicy are requirements here, but, it's all just a learning experience for everyone.

"The reality is I've never been to Africa I know only what I've read in books, a lot of our vendors are of African descent so it's a learning experience for me and we want to concentrate on young people learning what their heritage is," Newman says.

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