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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Annual Festival Brings African Culture to Portsmouth, Virginia — Presented by Planet Fitness

— National artists KEM, Mint Condition and Patrick Riddick to perform —

26th Annual Umoja Festival

26th Annual Umoja Festival, Portsmouth Virginia Memorial Day weekend

Portsmouth, VA — The City of Portsmouth is proud to host the 26th Annual Umoja Festival at the Portsmouth Pavilion and Festival Park Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29. The free festival will kick off Friday evening with a drum call and a ceremonial procession. Afterwards, as dictated by African tradition, the event will be blessed by elder members of the Portsmouth community. Starting at 6:15 pm on Friday evening music will fill the night air featuring Blaque Velvet Band, Rajazz and Strictly Bizzness.

The free live music will continue on Saturday starting at Noon. Visitors will also be able to step back in history by taking a Heritage Tour – The Emanuel A.M.E. Church was a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad. Take a guided tour to learn the stories of those who escaped to freedom. Tours are free and run at Noon and 2 pm. The children’s corner will come alive from Noon to 5 pm with activities for even the youngest family members, including face painting, bounce houses, games, Home Depot® workshops, arts and crafts, and Gamerbus. On Saturday night KEM and Mint Condition will take the Portsmouth Pavilion stage. While the rest of the weekend’s events are free, the concert on Saturday night is not and requires ticket purchase.

The excitement peaks when the festival swings into its third and final day. Spirits will soar on “Unity Sunday” as Eric Taylor begins with his violin at 2 pm. Phalishia Johnson, Jo’sef Haynes and Unified, Maurice Yancey & One Accord, Anthony Mcgahee & Praise Motivated, and Desmond Harrison raise hands and voices to the Lord. Children’s activities will resume in the afternoon and visitors will once again be able to take a Heritage Tour of the past, this time to the Portsmouth Community Colored Library Museum, located off site. In the evening National Gospel Recording Artist Patrick Riddick & D’vyne Worship will close out three days of African culture, cuisine, music and unity.

For the duration of the festival, the event grounds will be decorated to look like Portsmouth’s sister city of Eldoret, Kenya. Visitors will be immersed in the sights and sounds of Africa as they stroll through the marketplace offering an array of traditional African wares including sculptures, paintings, prints, baskets, jewelry and other handcrafted items. Food vendors will also be on site to offer mouthwatering selections for purchase.

This is event is sponsored in part by the Metro PCS, Vacation Village Resorts and Affiliates, McDonald’s and the City of Portsmouth, Virginia.

The annual Umoja Festival, put on by the City of Portsmouth, brings the African experience to its citizens. Umoja is a Kiswahili word that means “unity” and is the first principle of the African American holiday of Kwanzaa. For more information about the festival, including how to purchase tickets for Saturday night’s concert, visit www.UmojaFestPortsmouth.com.


About the City of Portsmouth, Virginia
The City of Portsmouth, Virginia is the geographical center of Hampton Roads located in the southeastern corner of Virginia. Over 250 years old, the city is a true historical gem with stories and architecture dating back to the American Revolution and earlier. For more information, call 757-393-8000 or visit www.PortsmouthVa.gov.


Margaret Thorne, City of Portsmouth
(757) 393-8481