Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Black Heritage Festival celebrates a hard-won legacy

TAMPA — People roamed around Curtis Hixon park Saturday taking in the sights, buying food, shopping and getting their health checked.

But when the music started, everything else stopped.

The 11th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival offered families an array of activities for the afternoon — including a free concert from former LTD lead singer and R&B crooner Jeffrey Osborne.

Vance and Eileen Amos of Gainesville didn't even know the festival was going on when they wandered down Ashley Drive and stopped to hear Osborne sing.

"We're here for a band thing for our daughter," Eileen Amos said. "Then we heard the music."

The festival featured several musicians throughout the day performing styles from blues to rock to reggae to Christian hip-hop.

Children had their own village set up away from the shopping, where they were getting their faces painted and participating in educational activities related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who is the inspiration for the nine-day festival.

"It gives the parents a chance to enjoy themselves," joked Ruby Jackson, the event organizer.

Lines at the fried and barbecue food tents grew and grew throughout the day. A health fair tent offered festivalgoers screenings and free massages. Vendors sold clothing, hair products and jewelry. And community organizations advertised their missions.

Angelica Alexander said her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, had a lot of traffic at its booth Saturday.

"I'm new to the area, and this was my first time," she said. "I really enjoyed myself. It was so good to see black families out having a good time."

Jackson said she expected 3,000 people to attend Saturday's event. By the time Osborne was performing his hit You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song) her estimate seemed to be on target.

Earlier in the day, Ron Williams, 60, walked around with a camcorder. The ad salesman from Virginia came to Tampa to celebrate his birthday because his travel agent got him a really good deal.

"This is awesome. … This was kind of unplanned for us," he explained. He visited with members of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and looked forward to trying the food.

But the importance of the festival for him was not lost in the fun. He added, "I think people sometimes forget that the struggle is not over. … I just think it's good for people to get together and talk and sort of learn from each other."

Black Heritage Festival celebrates a hard-won legacy 01/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 15, 2011 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.