8/1/2013 - Driven by ethnic culinary creations and samplings of cultural performance, the annual African/Caribbean Celebration is a representation of the global community in the Queen City.
Woullard Lett, Ujima Collective president, said he hopes the event can bridge a connection between the various communities in Manchester.
“The event isn’t a spectator sport,” Lett said. “We actually strive to include community performers. This is a venue where they can express themselves and a vehicle for them to share their creativity and connect the various communities in Manchester.”
The celebration takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3, at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester with music, dancing and food vendors representing African and Caribbean cultures from across the globe.
“We’re just excited about the longevity of the initiative and the support it’s continued to receive,” Lett said. “You look at the public events here in Manchester … very few of them are focused specifically on people of African descent. … It serves a purpose of cultural affirmation.”
The African/Caribbean Celebration is the first program in a month of annual ethnic festivals celebrating various cultural communities in Manchester, like Mahrajan Middle Eastern Festival, Latinos Unidos de N.H. Latino Festival and Greekfest.
Organizers expect to host food vendors from the Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Jamaica and maybe an American cuisine food purveyor as well. Lett said that when organizing the event, they hope to find food consistent with the theme of representing the various African and Caribbean communities in the city.
In the past, culinary offerings included jerk chicken, plantains and meat pies as well as hamburgers and hot dogs.
There will also be dancers, singers and spoken word performers, as well as live music during the festival from a new band performing reggae, jazz and rhythm and blues, Lett said.
“The community has continued to grow in diversity and in size,” Lett said. “This event as an African Caribbean Celebration for different national, cultural and religious communities of African descent to have a bonding process but also a bridging opportunity to connect with the larger community in Manchester.”
With the refugee program, Lett said the community has grown to reflect nations like Nigeria, Sudan, Liberia and Congo.
“I think that this year is going to be bigger and better than in the past,” Lett said. “We’ve really focused on making this a family themed and family oriented event. We’ve got word that people will be coming from around New England.”