AFRAM Festival is August 12-13 Theme is 'kujichagulia,' defined as self-determination

By Lynn R. Parks

AFRAM (African-American) Festival will be Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12 and 13. The festival will take place in Nutter Park in Seaford. The theme of this year's event is "kujichagulia," or self-determination, one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

"I can say that AFRAM has become an epic event for our small town," said organizer and city councilwoman Pat Jones. The event at its roots is a celebration of the African-American culture and "a growth in our culture means a future filled with a rich heritage, unity, success, diversity and pride," she said.

Cultural awareness also means a stronger community, she added. The festival will get underway Friday at 5 p.m., when radio station OC 104 will begin its live broadcast. The annual Family Feud competition will start at 5:15 p.m. and the festival's pageant will be held on the stage beginning at 6 p.m.

During the pageant, winners in the Little Miss, Little Mr., Junior Miss and Junior Mr. AFRAM competitions will be crowned. Contestants must either be 2 to 4-years-old or in kindergarten through the fifth grade. They will be judged on talent, ability to answer questions during an interview and attire.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the Old School Party from Force One Productions, featuring disc jockey Blade, will supply music. At 8 p.m., the Zion Reggae Band will take the stage and play until the festival closing at 10 p.m.

All this time, of course, the festival's food booths will be open. Previous festivals have featured fried fish, curried goat and ribs. Churches will be selling their specialties and there will be classic American soul food as well as Caribbean food.

Activities will get underway again Saturday morning with a parade, set to start at 10 a.m. This year's grand marshal is pastor Helena Bailey, who after the parade will be presented with the festival's community recognition award.

Included in the parade participants will be Sankofa, a Dover-based corps of African drummers and dancers. The group will also perform on the festival stage at noon on Saturday.

Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Delaware will ride in the parade and Homey the Clown will make his annual appearance, throwing out candy along the parade route.

Official opening ceremonies will be held on the festival stage at 11:15 a.m. Smooth jazz artists and poetry readers will provide entertainment from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Performers will include the Mix Music Soul Band, VoKyle, Soulson, Shay Star and Triple L. Poetry.

Beginning at 3:30 p.m., the stage will belong to gospel singers. Performers will include Ty Boulden, a singer, songwriter and evangelist; Seize 1, who plays Christian rap and hip hop; Moves of Praise, a creative dance group from the Eastern Shore of Maryland; Elder Larry Moore and the Grateful Gospel Quartet from Portsmouth, Va.; the SoJo Ministries Christian duo, a husband and wife singing team; singer Kim Boggerty (K-Bo); Tara "T-roc" Christopher, a creative dancer who finished in the top 10 in Delaware's Teen Idol competition; and the Abbott Family Choir.

Rhythm and blues and hip-hop artists will take the stage from 5 to 7 p.m. Among them will be Jagwire Lexis, a Haitian rap artist well-known in Delaware and Maryland; Armah Ogund'e, whose album, "Get 2 Know Me," is available digitally through iTunes, Amazon and other online sites; KedaSings, rhythm and blues songwriter, singer and producer from the Delmarva Peninsula; Sage, whose first single is "So DyNamite"; and Karron Johnson, who in addition to previous AFRAM festivals has performed in Virginia Beach, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

From 7 until the festival closing at 8 p.m., music will be provided again by Force One Productions, which will lead a dance contest. Throughout the day, community groups from the area will have booths set up, where they will hand out information about their activities. Local employers will also pass out information about available jobs.

In addition, vendors will sell African art and imports and other items. Children's activities will include face painting, pony rides, crafts and a scavenger hunt. There will be a field day competition and a moon bounce, as well as a video game challenge.

There is no admission fee for the festival, and all of the children's activities are free. For more information, visit the AFRAM website,, or its Facebook page.

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