The performers are polishing their acts. The vendors are readying their inventory. Organizers are making sure the word gets out—the 36th annual African American Festival is coming and is expected to attract more than 500,000 participants to celebrate Black music, arts and culture, authorities said.
The event, slated for July 7-8 at M&T Bank Stadium, will include free concerts, celebrity challenges, cultural exhibits, a fashion exhibit and health and wellness screenings—featuring hair and skin care. For the second time, Radio One’s Stone Soul Picnic will take place on the event site.
“Join me…for a celebration of life, music, and culture,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in a video message. “This free concert and festival includes concerts by Elle Varner, Musiq Soulchild, and the legends of Hip-Hop including Salt N’ Pepa, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Cane and [others].”
Organizers want participants to know the African American Festival is all about family fun and promoting a positive image of the Charm City.
“In the past 11 or 12 years, there has been no violent activity,” said project coordinator Khayla Dorsey. “It’s a big feeling of love in the community. It’s just important to have it, especially in Baltimore with all the negativity that we get. This is a really, really positive event that we do.”
The company that produced the festival for the last two years, greiBO Entertainment, has worked since last August to perfect things for this year, organizers said.