Out & About

Pan African Festival to celebrate Tubman Museum opening

The newly opened Tubman Museum will serve as the backdrop for this year’s Pan African Festival.

The annual event features music, art, entertainment and a children’s village with a play area and hands-on crafts. There also will be discounted admission to the Tubman.

“You will see African dance, drumming. The whole idea is just to show how Africans have had an influence over the whole globe,” said Yolanda Y-O Latimore, who chairs the festival committee. “It’s not just for people of color. It’s for everyone. It’s really a diverse crowd that comes out. It’s very family-oriented.”

The Pan African Festival will kick off Saturday with an 11 a.m. parade from the old Tubman building on Walnut Street to the new museum on Cherry Street.

“There will be kind of a New Orleans strut -- like an informal march -- not so programmed with floats and all but ceremonial and sentimental,” Latimore said. “A lot of the entertainers will be a part of (this).”

The parade will end with a ribbon-cutting and a blessing of the new Tubman building, which has been under construction since 2001.

“And after that, the museum doors are open and the Pan African Festival officially starts in the Plaza,” Latimore said.

The cultural events will include a marketplace with food and merchandise vendors, she said.

“A lot of the merchandise vendors have handmade crafts,” Latimore said. “There will be things you can purchase from vendors who aren’t normally here in Macon. So you can find some unique jewelry and crafts.”

“The food is quite interesting. It goes from Caribbean to Greek to American.”

The entertainment stage will feature performers from around the state.

These shows will be headlined by rhythm and blues funk group, The S.O.S. Band, who will play a free show at 7 p.m. Saturday.

This is the 19th year of the festival, which was started by Chi Ezekwueche as a fundraiser for the Tubman and “to help create awareness of the Tubman’s mission which is to teach about African-American art, history and culture.”

The festival is typically held at the end of April but was moved this year to coincide with the grand opening festivities for the Tubman. During the festival, visitors can tour the new Tubman at a reduced admission price of $5.

“It’s a discounted fee Saturday and Sunday and it’s the last chance for people to renew at the current membership fees and also for new members to join at the current membership price,” Latimore said.

Pan African Festival

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. May 16 and 1-7 p.m. May 17

Where: Cherry Street Plaza, Cherry and 5th Street

Cost: Free

Information: www.tubmanmuseum.com or 743-8544