They weren't going to let the rain and chill in the air dampen their spirits. And besides, they've seen it be a lot worse. On Saturday, more than 3,000 people gathered inside Heritage Village for the 11th annual African-American Heritage Celebration. They had barbecue, listened to storytellers and watched hundreds of step dancers and gospel singers from across the state compete in programs throughout the day.
"At least this year, the rain stopped for more people to come out in the afternoon,'' said Randy Lightfoot, an event coordinator.
"The weather this time was nothing compared to a few years back, I think it was 2001, when it rained hard all day.''
Lightfoot considers the gathering, started as a collaboration between Pinellas County schools and the Pinellas County African-American History Museum, part of the community's "heart and soul.''
"Heritage Village has always been a beacon for education, and this is where we can study our local legacy.
"If we don't have our history, what do we have?'' he asked.