City of Alexandria to Host African Heritage Cultural Festival

Page archived as of July 19, 2008

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 7, 2008     

City of Alexandria to Host African Heritage Cultural Festival
Event Features Grand Processional, All-Day Film Festival, Music, Food, and Exhibits 

 The music, culture, and food of Africa takes center stage as the City of Alexandria hosts the African Heritage Cultural Festival on Saturday, July 26, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Market Square (301 King St). This free event, cosponsored by the City’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and the African Heritage Cultural Festival Committee, will be held rain or shine.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Reaching Back, Moving Forward.” The emcee for the festival is Glenn Harris, News Channel 8 sports commentator. The event features a grand processional with pouring of Libation (a ritual pouring of a drink as an offering). On the main stage, live performances include the Belafon West African Dance Ensemble, Cheik Hamla Diabete, kora (a West African stringed instrument) player, and jazz ensembles The Mike Stephens Project and Phaze II. On the youth stage, performances feature young people from the City’s recreation centers, Samba demonstrations, and other offerings by local talent.

The festival will feature displays, workshops and exhibits on Market Square and in City Hall (301 King St.) showcasing traditional African arts, crafts, paintings and culture; and the Vola Lawson Lobby on the first floor of City Hall will be the site for an all-day film festival. Highlights of the film festival include “500 Years Later,” a film by Owen 'Alik Shahadah that has won several national and international awards, and Peter Gabriel’s “Rhythms of the World,” which provides a whirlwind tour of some of the biggest names in African, Caribbean, and South American music. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Visitors to the historic district are encouraged to take the Metro Yellow or Blue lines to the King Street Station in Old Town and take the free King Street Trolley, take DASH or Metro Buses, or park in one of the convenient parking garages or lots. For DASH schedule information, call 703.370.DASH or visit For Metrobus schedule information, call 202.637.7000, or visit
The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the City’s Human Rights Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation or to request materials in an alternative format, call Cheryl Lawrence, Special Events Supervisor, at 703.838.4844 (TTY 703.838.4902) or e-mail
For additional information, call the City’s Special Events Hotline at 703.883.4686 or visit