CANTON – Drums were on, burgers sizzled, kids played on an inflatable slide, and vendors sold art, crafts, jewelry, clothing and accessories on Friday at the first festival African-American arts.
But attendees of the two-day free event say the festival, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday on 10th Street and Cleveland Avenue NW in downtown Canton, is more than fun. , great meals and live music.
It’s about celebrating black culture – and everyone is welcome to join us.
“It’s to expose everyone to our culture so that we have a better understanding and we can all get along,” said Ida Ross-Freeman, a salesperson at Friday’s event.
Ross-Freeman sold clothes that were handmade in Africa, in bright colors and distinct designs.
Hosted and organized by the EN-RICH-MENT Academy of Fine Arts in Canton, the event features black artists, musicians and poets.
Sharlene Gourick, an EN-RICH-MENT volunteer, said there is a deeper message that accompanies the festivities.
“Now is the time to do it,” she said of the inaugural event. “Because of everything that’s going on around us – voting rights and police brutality. It’s to let people know that people of color are people too and that we have feelings too.”
Friday’s program featured musician Rosalyn Pratt and Josh and Maria Cribbs, from the TV show “Cribbs in the CLE: Josh and Maria Live”. Josh Cribbs is a former Cleveland Browns player.
Food included burgers, sausage, sweet potato pie, pound cake, barbecued ribs, homemade popsicles, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and a peach cobbler.
Red Hands, which includes members from Canton, Akron and Youngstown, will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
A health, well-being and fitness session is at 10 a.m. Saturday with Zumba and yoga.
Other Saturday activities include a youth hour with hip hop at 2 pm; a tribute to black musical theater at 3 p.m. DJPAPO African Dance Co. at 4 p.m .; and a tambourine and gospel hour competition at 7 p.m.
The Early Childhood Resource Center, the YWCA, the Stark County NAACP, the Stark County Black Nurses Association and the Tyler Scott Lancaster Foundation, which raises awareness about diabetes, are also represented at the festival.
Elec Simon will host a drum circle at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
A health fair runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. COVID vaccines will be available.
Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]
On Twitter @ebalintREP
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
WHAT African American Arts Festival
OR 10th Street and Cleveland Avenue NW in downtown Canton
WHEN 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday
ACTIVITIES artwork, live music, other entertainment, dancing, food and health fair from 10 a.m. to noon, including COVID vaccinations