Food, music highlight Pan African Festival of Georgia

April 25, 2014 


Vendors selling everything from clothes to jewelry and art were at the Pan African Festival last year.


Food and live entertainment are two of the highlights of the annual Pan African Festival this weekend.

“We are beginning Friday night with an evening of entertainment from 7-10 p.m., with a wide range of performers at the Douglass Theater,” said Nicole Thursten, director of sales and marketing for the Tubman African American Museum, which hosts the event. “It’s a wide range of music and a great start to the festival. Some of the performers include Poinsettia, a comedienne from Nashville, Tenn., Peace and Thundersnatch, a reggae and Caribbean group from Atlanta, and local favorite the GQ Jazz Band.”

On Saturday, the festival fun will be located in Cherry Street Plaza.

“Saturday is our big day,” Thurston said. “Everyone comes out to Cherry Street Plaza and we have the whole area blocked off. The Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony and an interfaith unity service. Typically, they do a welcoming ceremony from Nigeria that is performed in front of everyone, welcoming them to the Pan African Festival.”

Of course, a star attraction is the food.

“Everyone is invited to enjoy a variety food trucks, usually featuring Caribbean and soul food,” Thurston said. “We have everything from barbecue and wings to vegetarian food. Many of the foods have West African or Caribbean influences. One of the most requested items this year will be there for sure and that’s boiled peanuts! This is undoubtedly one of the best parts of the festival. People love the food.”

For children, there will be a specific area called the Georgia Power International Children’s Village.

“It is a definite highlight for families. It’s free and we call it a journey through Africa from A to Z, no passport needed. We cover the countries from Algeria to Zimbobwe. This year, the seventh graders from Bonaire Middle School will be there setting up the exhibits in the children’s village, including face painting, games, small performances and typically some African drumming. Everything is very hands-on. The kids can play and enjoy it,” she said.

A festival wouldn’t be complete without live music and performances.

The main stage will feature performances until 11 p.m. and some of the performers include Dean Brown and Dubshack, which is reggae and Carribean, and Blak Pearl and the Gentlemen, which is old school R&B. There also will be Ken Trimmins and the Quiet Storm, which is jazz mix, and the Conquest Show, an R&B/soul band.

“There is a ton going on that day, including an African dance group from Nigeria, OTU Ummne Cultural Organization,” she said.

“We also invite people to come out and shop a variety of goods, from scarves to dashikis, purses, shoes, butters, organic soaps and more. This year, The Medical Center of Central Georgia will be offering health screenings and we also are going to have tons of nonprofits, so people can learn more about different organizations in the community,” she said.

Pan African Festival of Georgia

When: 7-10 p.m. April 25 at the Douglass Theatre; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. April 26 in Cherry Street Plaza

Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; Cherry Street Plaza, downtown Macon

Cost: Free

Information: 478-743-8544;

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