Deja Williamson of West Toledo, center left, listens to the live music at the festival as her friend Joy Fullilove, center, jokes with her son Mark Smith, 9, both of West Toledo.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Siearra Pringle-Edge stepped and clapped, stepped and clapped, and stepped and clapped again and again as she braved the sticky weather Saturday in West Toledo.
“I am doing good, having fun,” the 9-year-old girl said as she stepped off a stage at Toledo’s ninth annual African-American Festival and joined her mother, Siearra Pringle, 28, of Toledo.
Ms. Pringle and her daughter were among scores of participants and guests at the festival that concludes today at the University of Toledo Scott Park Campus for Energy and Innovation. Ms. Pringle was just done using her cell phone to film the fourth grader’s performance with the Imagine Clay Avenue Community School’s steppers team when the two reunited in front of the stage to watch other performers.
“I think that this is amazing that they were able to come out and perform for the community,” Ms. Pringle, a medical assistant for ProMedica, said of her daughter’s team, speaking over the beat from the school’s drummers, who were next on stage.
“There is a lot of positive energy here. It showcases their skills and it makes the kids want to work even harder.”
Hosted by the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, the family-oriented weekend event kicked off with a prayer breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 1430 W. Bancroft St., and peaked Saturday with a parade at Smead Avenue and Dorr Street. Themed “Celebrating our History, Health, and Education,” the festival’s program featured health screenings, educational information, vendors, children’s activities, and musical performances.
Saturday’s performers included Zapp, jazz saxophonist Joseph Vincelli, singer Ramona Collins, the JAMM Band, Imagine Schools, Jay Rush Jennings, and the Five Deep Band.
Despite lingering humidity, scores of people milled around the stage and concession stands, munching, laughing, or calling out to one another as they ran into friends or family members. Trish Ellis of Toledo, a volunteer selling tickets at the gate, said about 2:30 p.m. she had sold about 125 tickets in the 90 minutes since the gate opened.
“It’s fun,” said Vaneice Knolly, 15, a Bowsher High School sophomore.
“There’s the band, the music, the people.”
Performing today from 2 to 10 p.m. will be the Dramatics, Toledo Youth Choir, the Rance Allen Group, Debra Brock, Darius Coleman and the D.C. Singers, and the JAMM Band, with gates opening at 1 p.m.
Vendors are local and include Black Kettle Barbeque, Ruby’s Kitchen, and K&K Concessions. There is no sale of alcoholic beverages.
Tickets are $8 each for members of the credit union and $10 each for the general public in the daytime, and $12 after 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for senior citizens age 65 and older and for children from 4 to 18. Children’s rides are free.
Contact Mike Sigov at: 419-724-6089, email@example.com, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.