Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things to Do: Free Weekend Festivals

Odunde Festival
Odunde means "Happy New Year" in the Yoruba language, a culture and people currently living mostly in southwestern Nigeria. It is a festival that was started in the 1970s to pay homage to African spirits, in particular, Osun, the Goddess of Fertility, Love, Wealth, Art, Refinement, Children, etc. You cannot miss this "cultural jewel". It is an uber fest of black folk. Great dancing, food, singing, clothes, and good vibes. It gets hot and it is rainy this weekend so bring an umbrella and comfortable shoes.

I've gone to Odunde twice and the first time was breath-taking. The part I enjoy is the Sunday ritual where people make offerings into the Schuylkill river. Oh yeah, and I love the great food, especially the vegan jerk goat. Oooh weee! I MUST also recommend that folk who love the music that comes out of Philly attend because the live performances are outstanding. You will see a plethora of African ensembles with popular soul & r&b performers. The last time I went Kindred was performing, but the sound outta Philly is incredible. You will not be disappointed.

June 13, Saturday
Saturday the African Business Roundtable - 9AM - 1PMBusiness Roundtable Ambassdors include: Guinea and Sierra Leone.Location:
Philadelphia Department of Commerce1515 Arch Streets - 18th FloorPhiladelphia, PAFREE!!ODUNDE Cultural Center – 2308 Grays Ferry Avenue (23rd & South Streets). The Egungun Procession celebrates the memory of our elevated and honorable African ancestors. We humbly request that everyone wear white clothing. Bembe (a drum and dance celebration) will follow the procession.

June 14, Sunday
ODUNDE Festival and African Marketplace 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. South Street and Grays Ferry Stage Performances…Following the river procession, performances begin on ODUNDE's stages and end at dusk. As a cultural celebration designed for families to enjoy together, ODUNDE emphasizes performers and craft artists from throughout the African Diaspora whose work celebrates the diversity of traditional African or African-American art forms including: African dance, hair braiding, stepping, roller dance, drill team formations, hip-hop and tap dance, traditional African instruments, drumming, rhythm and blues, and traditional African American popular dance forms. Each year ODUNDE employs over 40 artists. Many have launched their careers from our stage. The ODUNDE Festival was an originator of authentic African Marketplace festivals, featuring traditional foods, art, crafts, clothing and jewelry. The most colorful aspect of the festival which continues throughout the day, The African Marketplace draws return customers every year. We are grateful to its vendors, who are major supporters of our organization.

Portugual Heritage Celebration "Dia de Portugal"
Ironbound Section of Newark (East of Newark's Penn Station)
This section of Newark has legacy of housing immigrant populations over the centuries. Portugues migrants began settling en masse into this neighborhood in the early 1900s. Today it is a combination of Portuguese Americans and Brazilians, and currently is experiencing an influx of Mexicans. If you come to Newark, you gotta eat at one of the famous eateries in the area, Forno's of Spain or Iberia's. The food is plentiful and delicious. The service is impeccable. The ghetto grapevine told me that the official end of the party only starts a night of dancing, eating and drinking until about 3 am.
Saturday: 2PM - Midnight
Sunday: 9AM - 11PM
Just go down Ferry Street and you will not miss a thing.

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