Igbo Ethnic Group travels from around the world to meet in Staunton
The Igbo people will be celebrating their culture in Staunton this weekend. They are holding a "family reunion" at the Frontier Culture Museum, and everyone is invited.
At the museum, there is an authentic West African Farm village: the only museum to have an exhibit built by the Igbo people in the tradition of their native land.
Some of the activities will take place there this weekend, as well as the Frontier Culture Museum's main pavilion.
Nigerian Kings and Chiefs are in Staunton to talk about their heritage, and what is next to come. One of the things they are working on is DNA testing for people who come to take part in the festivities.
Denver Beaulieu-Hains attended the first year when a friend invited her. She said as she learned more about the Igbo traditions, she started to connect to her childhood, and the things her family did. She got her DNA tested there, and found out that she indeed belonged.
"It's almost like a spiritual awakening that happens. Now I realize that when I have grandchildren, I'll actually be able to tell my grandchildren where we come from," said Beaulieu-Hains.
The Igbo people were among the first slaves brought to Virginia in the early days of what would become the United States. They brought skills and vegetables the 'New World' had never seen at the time that fundamentally transformed the area and became ingrained as part of modern culture.
The Igbo Family Reunion helps descendants of those people reclaim their past.
About a dozen Nigerian Kings and Chiefs are there to inform the public of the various segments of their conference and the importance of their culture in the Americas and the world as a whole.
The celebration will continue all weekend with an African Igbo Cultural Extravaganza on Saturday afternoon and a gala Saturday evening.
On Sunday, a non-denominational church service will be held.
Tickets can be bought online or at the door.