A Celebration of Unity, Art, Culture, & History Across the African Diaspora
The 5th Annual African Heritage Festival will be held in various locations around the city of Louisville Friday, August 25th through Sunday August 27th. The event celebrates unity, culture, art and history across the African Diaspora.
The festival is hosted by Bridge Kids International, the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH), the Kentucky Old School Sports Association (KOSSA), HoneyTree Publishing, and Moments to Remember.
The African Heritage Festival is organized by a dynamic team representing a variety of countries and backgrounds. The whole city is invited to this unifying event that will be fun, educational, and certainly full of flavor. Last year’s festival drew approximately 2000 participants, and with this year’s new additions, we only anticipate that the celebration will continue to grow.
Opening Ceremony — Friday, August 25th – Kentucky Center for African American Heritage:
Opening Ceremony will kick off the weekend with a reception and program honoring African heritage, culture, history and art.
Festival Day — Saturday, August 26th
The African Heritage Festival will be a joyous event for the whole family with great food, music, dance, sports, theater, fashion, cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, resources for healthy living and so much more. What a great way to honor African, African-American and Caribbean cultures in Louisville and add to the revitalization efforts in the historic Russell neighborhood. All activities are free and open to the public. Some highlights include:
- 8:00am: Soccer Tournament Begins – Champions Park, 2050 River Road soccer tournament held at Champions Park, organized by KOSSA, featuring 10 teams from at least 5 states with players representing 20 countries of origin
- 10:00am: Parade Begins – a parade of marching bands, dance teams, bicycle groups, community organizations and more down Muhammad Ali Blvd. starting at 9th Street and ending at 18th Street where the festival will take place in front of the KCAAH
- 10:00am – 12:00pm: the widely beloved Books & Breakfast!
- 11:00am: Festival activities begin and will feature live entertainment, “Under the Story Tree” storytelling fest, and other children’s activities. Food, merchandise and informational vendors from across the city and the surrounding region will be in attendance.
- 12:00pm: Basketball tournament begins – a street basketball tournament presented by KOSSA and the organizers of the Dirt Bowl
- 12:00pm – 5:00pm: A how-to fair with community members teaching useful and fun things
- 7:00pm: Festival ends
Sunday, August 27th – Invoke… Called by the Ancestors (performance begins 2:30 pm)
This year, we are excited to announce that a third day will be incorporated into the festival! Please come out on Sunday, August 27th for “Invoke … Called by the Ancestors” performed by Sankofa Dance Theater. The Baltimore based dance company presents world-class, authentic African art in the form of dance, music, and folkways for national and international audiences. Sankofa Dance Theater’s work is rooted in healing and bringing intercultural understanding to the global village while staying true to the definition of the word “Sankofa” — which means to learn from the past in an effort to build for the future. The show will begin promptly at 2:30pm and will feature a special appearance by spoken word artists Hannah Drake and Tytianna Wells smith –performing A Mother’s Tears. Tickets for Sunday’s are available on Eventbrite and at Better Days Records West (Lyles Mall). Proceeds will go towards the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. We would like to thank The Brown Forman Foundation, The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureaus, and Metro Louisville for sponsoring this event, and their dedication to making world renowned talent accessible to the larger community.
The African Heritage Festival was founded in 2013 when Bridge Kids International approached KCAAH about hosting the event at the Center as a way to build relationships among and celebrate Louisville’s African Diaspora. In four years, the event has grown from a mostly indoor event to a street festival and has more than doubled in size. Bridge Kids continues to coordinate the overall planning, but the African Heritage Festival has truly become the pride of all of the presenting organizations, planning committee, participants and volunteers.
Bridge Kids International is a Louisville, KY based global non-profit organization helping young people of Africa and the African Diaspora, aged 13-25, unleash their social entrepreneurial spirits to solve economic development, education, environmental, girls’ rights, and health challenges and build sustainable communities. Bridge Kids operates from a belief that the interaction between culture, community, and connection leads to healing, restoration, and the evolution of individuals and communities. BKI is rooted in African heritage culture, works to build communities that nurture young people, and seeks to strengthen relationships across Africa and the African Diaspora. Bridge Kids currently operates in 6 countries – Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal and the USA.
The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage’s (KCAAH) mission is to enhance the public’s knowledge about the history, heritage and cultural contributions of African Americans in Kentucky. In addition to its commitment to preserving the traditions and accomplishments of the past, the Center is a vital, contemporary institution, providing space for cultural programs, exhibitions and performances of all types. KCAAH’s brand is “One More River to Cross,” a history examined through Kentucky stories about African American history from its African origins through the Freedom Struggle against slavery and Jim Crow laws, to the modern Civil and Human Rights Movements in the 20th century.