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Festival celebrates area achievement

August 4, 2011
The Herald-Star

Everyone is invited to take in some African-American-flavored music and food, as well as some unique vendors, during the annual festival set this weekend at the North End ball field in Steubenville.

Vendors will be on the grounds beginning at 10 a.m. daily, while activities will begin in the afternoons.

This year's list of scheduled entertainment once again is long, thanks to Dawud Abdullah, president of the Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew, the sponsor the festival, and other committee members. They've worked hard to set up and bring to fruition a quality festival for all to enjoy.

The festival's kickoff happens at 6 p.m. Friday with an official welcome, prayer and the playing of the black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Entertainment on the main stage will follow and will feature some of our local talent in the Kids Talent Hour. There also will be a family fashion show and a hair and nail show.

Perhaps the festival's stand-out event, the Parade for Peace, is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Saturday and will travel from the ball field through some downtown Steubenville streets.

"It's a symbolic message that we're walking in the spirit of our ancestors who have paved the way for us to be where we are today.

The idea is to bring peace and healing to all of humanity," Abdullah has said.

A day-long youth basketball tournament as well as an inflatable slide and moonwalk from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. also is on the agenda Saturday, while Tammy Gregory will host a shoe fashion show at 5 p.m.

Four Swinging Jazzbos will take the stage at 6 p.m. performing jazz standards by famous African-American jazz composers such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and more, and at 7 p.m. representatives from the Steubenville Branch of the NAACP will host the first of a series of debates throughout the weekend featuring the words of famous and historical African-American leaders.

Other performers slated Saturday will include poetry and singing, hip-hop and R&B artists and a local line dancing performance.

The festival will wrap up Sunday with what Abdullah is calling a "Gospel Explosion," featuring sermons from area pastors and a performance by choirs.

The dedication of Abdullah and the African-American Heritage Festival committee once again shines and allows our community to celebrate the achievements of many people from the past who contributed to our history. Through their efforts, these festival volunteers are assuring that future generations will remember and recognize the achievements of their ancestors.

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