Odunde Festival closes the streets for its 38th anniversary
The largest African-American street festival on the east coast is coming back to the streets of Philadelphia for its 38th anniversary this Sunday June 9th. Attracting up to 500,000 people, Odunde covers 12 city-blocks, hosts over 100 vendors, and has 2 stages for live entertainment. It is one event that is impossible to miss.
As the longest running tradition in one of Philadelphia’s oldest African-American neighborhoods, Odunde is a Yoruba practice celebrating the new year. Beginning with an all-inclusive spiritual procession to the Schuylkill River, the festival carries on from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., filling the day with vibrant traditional clothing, African food, and art and craft vendors from around the world. Live entertainment will be hosted on 2 stages (South Street and Graysferry Avenue), including various drum ensembles, traditional dancers, a fashion show by the I Am B.U.M.I. Girls, and various folk and rap artists including Big Daddy Kane. Check out the festival’s concert schedule here, and watch Big Daddy Kane’s video for “Smooth Operator” below.
Entering into it’s 4th decade, Odunde commemorates its achievements by expanding its events though the week. Hosted by Odunde365, an initiative to provide cultural programming throughout the year, the events leading up to the grand festival included a family day, “My Story” panelist speakers, a “Keepers of Culture” talk (with WURD 900AM – Universal Companies), a parent appreciation banquet, and an African Diplomatic Ambassador Reception. Tonight, Odunde celebrates First Friday with an art gallery crawl. Tomorrow the culture awareness group is trying to break the Guinness World Record with the World’s largest Zumba class. More information about Odunde’s upcoming events can be found here.
Watch recaps of the 2012 Odunde Festival below.