AFRAM starts with 5k run/walk this year

By Lynn R. Parks

For the first time in its 20-year history, the Eastern Shore AFRAM Festival is starting out with a 5K run and walk. The competitive race will kick off at 8 a.m. the day of the AFRAM (African-American) Festival, Saturday, Aug. 12.
'We really think that this is a cool new addition,' said Desiree Laws-Moore, long-time president of the group that organizes the event. Executive director is Pat Jones. The festival will be held at the city of Seaford's sports complex, 490 N. Market St. Ext., near the Seaford District Library. Also new this year will be an art show at the library, featuring works by Point of Juxtaposition, a group of male African-American artists, as well as quilts that were made by Brenda Holbrook, Seaford. Holbrook's quilts 'tell the story of African-American history, as well as her family's history,' Laws-Moore said.
The art show will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; admission is free.
The theme of this year's AFRAM Festival is 'umoja,' the Swahili word for unity and one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 'Unity is something that we should strive for as a community,' Laws-Moore said. 'We would like to have a unified community, and at the same time celebrate the traditions of the African-American culture, and teach them to everyone.'
The festival's annual Community Recognition Award will be presented during opening ceremonies to Delmarva Teen Challenge, a residential addiction treatment center in Seaford, and soon to be in Bridgeville. 'There were a couple of people and groups we were considering,' Laws-Moore said. 'But then we thought about the situation in our community, and about how many people are struggling with drug abuse. And then we thought about Teen Challenge, and its phenomenal success rates, right here in Seaford. We felt that it was good to recognize it for all of the good it is doing.'
The festival will get underway at 8 a.m. with the run and walk, which will wind through Seaford. Cost to participate is $20, $25 to get a t-shirt. Early registration is suggested; the necessary forms are available on the website easternshoreafram.org. Registration will also be available the day of the race.
At 10 a.m., in addition to the art show, a car show, organized by the Self Expressions Auto Club, will get underway. Starting at 11 a.m., the dancers and drummers from the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center in Dover, will perform. Sankofa will also offer a dance and drum workshop on the festival grounds, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The opening ceremonies will be held at 11:30 a.m., featuring the presentation of the Community Recognition Award. The Delmarva Teen Challenge Praise Team will perform.
At noon, AFRAM's Gospel Extravaganza will start. Eunice Wright, whom Laws-Moore calls 'phenomenal,' will be the special guest singer; other performers will be Troy Prunell, Ty Bolden, Don T and Dontay White. Family Time will start at 2 p.m., featuring pony rides, face painting, Pop's Puppet Show and commercials from the festival's vendors. Back by popular demand, Laws-Moore said, is the AFRAM version of Family Feud. Registration for the popular game, based on the television version, is available at the festival's website.
'Cultural Explosion,' with performances by a dance group and a jazz quartet, will start at 4 p.m. The Ballet Folklorico di Frankford will present folk dances from the Hispanic culture and Shades of Blue, a women's group based in the Lewes area and a regular at the Cultured Pearl restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, will sing.
'They are really good,' Laws-Moore said. 'Plus, it's just really cool to see four women play. You don't see that very often.'
At 6 p.m., the festival's featured band will take the stage. Best Kept Soul, based in Wilmington, performs songs from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s, as well as current hits. The festival will close out with the AFRAM Line Dance Party, led by Force One Productions, from 8 to 9 p.m.
As usual, there will be 'lots and lots of food,' Laws-Moore said. 'If you want it, it's going to be there,' she added. Vendors will sell crafts and other items and works at the library art show will be available for purchase.
Laws-Moore said that crowds at the AFRAM Festival are always good-sized. Since the festival was moved from Nutter Park in east Seaford to the larger sports complex, the crowds have grown, she added. 'We get people from other parts of the state, from throughout the Eastern Shore and even from across the Bay Bridge. Some folks even plan their family reunions around AFRAM.'
Even so, she hopes that even more people show up this year. 'This is just a great event for Seaford and the whole Eastern Shore community,' she said. 'It is a family-friendly, fun event and it would be nice if more people from the community came out. If you've never been, it's really something to see.'

For your information The Eastern Shore AFRAM Festival will be Saturday, Aug. 12, starting at 8 a.m. with a 5K run and walk and going until 9 p.m. For details, visit the website easternshoreafram.org.

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