In 2012, Baltimore’s African-American Festival will push the envelope with new features and activities designed to make festival goers healthier.
The 36th version of the festival, scheduled for July 7 and 8 at M&T Bank Stadium, is going green, too. Along with music and other entertainment acts, this year there will also be seminars on how people can improve themselves and their environment. The organizer of the festival, greiBO, says it wants to make sure it gives folks the full spectrum of information.
“We will have seminars there about eating right and healthy living,” said Nika Watkins, spokeswoman for greiBO. We want to focus on not just what you can do physically, but also what you can do for the environment like conserving water and energy as well as recycling.”
As part of the healthier lifestyles theme, the schedule includes a three-on-three basketball tournament, a flash mob to create a world record for the number of people dancing at the same time to a single song and health screenings.
Given the tough economy, organizers also plan to have Towson University and local businesses to come in to hold seminars and job fairs for attendees.
“We have ‘Be What You Want to Be,’ which is our way of helping people empower themselves by learning about the different types of education out there and the different careers out there,” Watkins said.
There will also be an area dedicated to fashion, including a fashion show runway and stations where makeovers will be done and beauty style tips will be shared.
This year they’re also taking further precautions in the case of extreme summer heat. In previous years, there would just be cooling stations for attendees, but this year there will be cooling tents and shaded tables to help attendees beat the heat, if necessary.
Most people will be there for the music though and Watkins said that the festival had just added X-Factor finalist, Marcus Canty of Bowie, and Que Parker from the R&B group 112 to a lineup that already featured Musiq Soulchild, Chante’ Moore, MC Lyte, Elle Varner, Salt N’ Pepa, Slick Rick, Kurtis Blow and Big Daddy Kane.
Watkins said she wants the experience to be more than just entertainment.
“If we’re going to talk about African-American culture as a whole we need to talk about the things that uplift us like the music and the entertainment and the things that hinder us like diabetes and all other aspects of health,” she continued.
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