Three-day, free festival features musical performances, family activities, hundreds of vendors, traditional crafts and cuisine
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African History proudly presents the 34th Annual African World Festival (AWF). AWF is Detroit’s largest ethnic festival attracting over 150,000 visitors annually. This year’s festival takes place on the grounds of The Wright Museum located in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, Friday, August 19, Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21, 2016. Hours are 11 AM – 11 PM Friday through Sunday.
Having started in 1983, African World Festival presents an assortment of art, music and history to local, national and international audiences. The 34-year-old festival is a celebration of the richness, diversity and worldwide influence of African culture through performances, cuisine and fashion. AWF is The Wright Museum’s single largest cultural and educational community outreach event. This year’s festival is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Heritage Works, Pepsi, Oakland University, and iHeart Media (WMXD Mix 92.3 and FM 98 WJLB).
FREE and open to the public, AWF features three days of family activities, live entertainment and the 4th Annual Knight Detroit Book Fairin the Watoto Children’s Village, where every child receives a free book courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Additional highlights include craft vendors, ethnic cuisine, historic area walking tours, and more. The Wright is offering a special museum admission price of only $5 during the festival to see all of the museum’s exhibitions – including its core attraction, the 22-gallery And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History & Cultureexhibit, and, in accord with the summer games in Rio, In The Paint: Art, Athletics & the Spirit of the Games, an art exhibition featuring portrayals of African American athletic achievement in international sporting competitions. The museum will also have extended hours during the festival, remaining open until 7 PM each evening.
Festival performances will include local, national, and international artists providing non-stop entertainment throughout the weekend. This year’s entertainment highlights include a Mix 92.3 FM After Work Affair featuring Al B. Sure! (Friday, August 19 from 5:30 – 8:30 PM), Karen Clark Sheard & Dorinda Clark Cole (Saturday, August 20 at 6:30 PM), Detroit Rocks the Runway Fashion Show featuring 12 outstanding designers and musical guest Collective Peace (Saturday, August 20 at 9 PM), and an AfroPop Special featuring performers from Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (Sunday, August 21 at 9 PM). Festival updates including the full lineup of performers will be posted online at awfdetroit.com.
In addition to music, visual arts demonstrations and workshops, AWFpresents an international marketplace featuring 150 vendors with merchandise made and inspired by African cultures. The Food Village located on Brush at Farnsworth Street will be filled with the aromas of delicious African, Caribbean and African American cuisine.
Festival-goers looking for something special to purchase will have the opportunity to buy the new American Girl BeForever dollMelody Ellison in the museum store beginning Saturday, August 20 at 8 PM. The Wright is one of the first locations to sell this highly anticipated, African-American and Detroit-themed doll, which will remain available in the museum store through Sunday, September 4 while supplies last. Museum president & CEO Juanita Moore was one of several prominent advisors on a committee to insure the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity of the doll and its representation of a young African American girl growing up in 1960s Detroit.
Finally, an innovative aspect of this year’s festival is its focus on going “green.” Several initiatives have been undertaken to reduce the ecological impact of AWF and use it as a platform for encouraging sustainable practices among its attendees. In addition to recycling stations, the festival will feature abike valet, complimentary solar powered cell phone charging stations, community gardening demonstrations, and information on an array of sustainable living practices.
About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, The Wright Museum is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit TheWright.org.