35th annual African World Festival to take place August 18-20

Feature events include performance by Grammy Award-nominee Eric Benét, Detroit Rocks the Runway Fashion Show, Children’s Village and Blues in the Park entertainment

DETROIT - The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (The Wright Museum) presents the 35th annual African World Festival (AWF), August 18 through August 20. This year’s AWF events include a headlining performance from four-time Grammy Award-nominee Eric Benét, the Detroit Rocks the Runway Fashion Show, the Watoto Children’s Village and Knight Foundation Children’s Book Fair, and Blues in the Park entertainment. This free, three-day festival will take place on the grounds of The Wright Museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

As Detroit’s largest ethnic festival, AWF attracts more than 150,000 people every year to celebrate the richness, diversity and worldwide influence of African culture through performances, cuisine and fashion. The festival will feature more than 150 vendors with merchandise made and inspired by African cultures, and the AWF Food Village will include delicious African, Caribbean and African American cuisine.

“African World Festival is a true treasure of Detroit,” Juanita Moore, president and CEO of The Wright Museum said. “2017 marks its 35th year, which is a testament to the longevity of its community spirit, and to the resilience and unity of the communities that come together to celebrate it."

Non-stop entertainment from local, national and international artists will take place throughout the weekend. On Friday, August 18 from 7:30-8:30 p.m., four-time Grammy Award-nominee Eric Benét will perform his R&B and Soul hits on the Ford Main Stage. On Saturday, August 19 from 9-10:30 p.m., the Detroit Rocks the Runway Fashion Show will feature collections from eight emerging designers and special guest designer Jimi King, and will include musical guests DJ iNViSiBLE and Video7. On Sunday, August 20 from 1:30-8:30 p.m., local blues musicians will join the festival with performances at Blues in the Park on the Generation Next Stage. Festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for this event.

Heritage Works, a Detroit-based cultural arts organization, returns as sponsor of the African Folklife Village, providing drum and dance performances, traditional craft demonstrations and opportunities for audience participation, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The Knight Foundation Children’s Book Fair will take place in the Watoto Children’s Village for the fifth year in a row, where every child receives a free book courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In addition to the book fair, families can enjoy daily stage performances, crafts, face painting and more in the Watoto Children’s Village from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Also on site will be a portion of The Wright Museum’s featured exhibition, Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion. This outdoor installation features photographs, quotes, and historical information about the events that led to the uprising and its aftermath. Festival attendees will be able to view this section of the exhibition at no charge. The complete Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion exhibit featuring works by more than 40 nationally recognized artists, along with the museum’s other exhibitions, are included in museum admission. The Wright Museum will be open with extended hours until 7 p.m. during the festival. The festival itself is free and open to the public.

AWF continues to “go green” with several eco-friendly initiatives to encourage sustainable practices among AWF attendees, including bike valet located in the Scarab Club parking lot, a complimentary solar powered cell phone charging station, and recycling bins located throughout the festival.

The 2017 African World Festival is sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Heritage Works. The Knight Foundation Children’s Book Fair and the Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion exhibition are made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

A full schedule of AWF performances and events, as well as information about parking, can be found at www.TheWright.org







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