Festival on the Avenue

April 8th and 9th will mark the Festival on the Avenue, a cultural celebration that has grown by leaps and bounds in the four years since it began.  This celebration of the South Sumter community features ethnic art forms, performances and even good old “soul food,” all in celebration of our vital African-American community. 

The fun starts on Friday, April 8 with “A Taste of Soul on the Avenue,” held from 6-9 p.m. at the farmer’s market located beside the South Sumter Resource Center on Manning Avenue.  On Saturday, the street comes to life at 10 a.m. with a parade beginning at the intersection of West Bartlette and South Main Streets.  The action goes nonstop until 4 p.m. and includes drum circles, rap music, spoken-word performances, art displays, live music, dance and more.

This is an important festival in more ways than one.  Yes, it’s a great family time, but also presents an opportunity to see a side of town that may be less than familiar to some of our residents.  Manning Avenue’s history is that of being the vigorous heart of Sumter’s black community, and as stated on the festival website, “it takes the entire community working in harmony to create and sustain healthy neighborhoods.”  For more info on the festival, please visit http://www.festivalontheavenue.com/. You can also get information from the Swan Lake Visitors Center at (803) 436-2640 or toll-free at 1-800-688-4748.

So, come on down and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the Festival on the Avenue.  Not only is it a feast for the eyes and ears, and a glimpse into our area’s African-American culture, it also promises the chance to sample some great ethnic cooking.  And really, if you’ve never had hard-fried whiting fish, well, you just haven’t lived!

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