African Street Festival is this weekend; marks 27th year in Jackson

JACKSON, Tenn. — This weekend, a trip to downtown Jackson is like taking a trip halfway around the world as the Society for African American Cultural Awareness hosts its annual African Street festival.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.13.24 PM“It’s like a big family reunion, so it’s all about unity in the community,” President of SAACA Wendy Trice Martin said.

The 27th anniversary of the African Street Festival is a time to celebrate African culture, and every year members of the organization create a new theme.

“Our theme is staying true to our roots, meaning that we’re back in the community where we started 27 years ago,” Martin said.

The festivities kicked off with music, folks shopping through merchandise, and one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork. The vendor for Gentry’s Arts and Crafts has been participating in the festival on and off for 15 years.

“Anytime you bring anything of culture that people can see diversity and see how things should be and how things can work, that’s always a positive,” vendor Bodie Lee Gentry said.

Organizers said the African Street Festival is more than just a fun experience — it’s an opportunity to bring a piece of African culture to the community.

“It’s important to learn about the African culture as well as other cultures,” Martin said. “This is our way of giving back to the community to express the African culture in drum, song, dance and food.”

Some attendees used the festival as a contribution to their education.

“It feels good to be around my culture and where I come from,” festival attendee Lamiyah Tomlin said. “We’re doing community service hours for school, so it’s kind of helping us out as well.”

Martin said there will be plenty more events happening on Sunday. More festivities will kick off at 11 a.m.. Admission is free until 2 p.m., and after that it costs $5.

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