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Africa in April at 25

The very first Africa in April Festival was held on the mall on Main Street. This week marks milestone 25. The very first Africa in April Festival was held on the mall on Main Street. This week marks milestone 25.

The 2011 Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc. event runs from Thursday through Sunday (April 14-17), with the bulk of the activity at Beale St. and Robert R. Church Park.

 
Dr. David L. Acey, executive director of the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc., and Yvonne B. Acey, associate director, were honored by the Memphis Grizzlies during Fan Appreciation Day at the FedExForum on Sunday (April 10). (Photo by Warren Roseborough)

Spearheaded by Executive Director Dr. David L. Acey, and Yvonne B. Acey, associate director, the festival this year showcases the Republic of Senegal through education, economics, culture, fashions, arts/crafts, music, history and cuisines.

The silver anniversary celebration got a pre-festival boost on Wednesday night as NFL superstar linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Raves hosted the Africa In April Welcome Party at Senses on Poplar, along with other hosts, Mike McKenzie, Marcus Bell and Reggie Howard. Lewis appeared in conjunction with the Reggie Howard Foundation and JSpicer Entertainment Group. The event sponsors were the United Athletes Foundation, Valkrey Corp., MemphisArts, RL52 and Exotic Cars South.

The four-day Africa in April Festival is anchored by a different theme each day.

Here’s the 2011 schedule at a glance:

Thursday, April 14

• International Entrepreneur’s Day – 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

• Africa In April International Business & Economic Trade Brunch at the Holiday Inn - The University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave., 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

• Africa In April International Poster Unveiling Reception at The National Civil Rights Museum at 450 Mulberry St., 6 p.m.

Friday, April 15

• International Children and Senior’s Day – 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

• Vendor’s Market Place, – 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

• International Diversity Parade at Robert R. Church Park & Beale Street, 10:30 a.m. - noon (10 a.m. parade line up)

Saturday, April 16

• International Family Health/Wellness & Community Day – 8 a.m. - midnight

• Vendor’s Market Place, – 8 a.m. - midnight

• Health Wellness & Community Day - Seminars, Exhibitions, Demonstrations, & Referrals, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

• Fashion Showcase, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

• Blues Showcase, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Performers to be announced)

Sunday, April 17

• African American Music Day - Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Reggae – 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

• Vendor’s Market Place, – 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

• “Gospel In The Park” – Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church (the Rev. Ralph White, pastor), 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

• The University of Memphis Jazz Orchestra – “Southern Comfort,” under the direction Dr. Jack Cooper, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

(Additional performers to be announced)

(For more information, call 901-947-2133.)

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