Baltimore residents of all ages braved the hot weather to gather at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore for the New Africa Festival on Aug. 20 where the winners of the AFRO Clean/Green Block contest were named.

Winners of the AFRO Clean/Green Block program (from left)Leona Banks, LaTarsha Ellet, Kisha L. Webster, Marvin “Doc” Cheatham (organizer) Cherring Spence, and Diane Hocker, director of community and public relations, the AFRO. The neighborhoods and organizations represented include: Greenmount West Community, Neighborhoods United, Rosemont Neighborhood Improvement Association, Druid Heights Community and the Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association. (Photo by Chanet Wallace)

The top communities and organizers are: Cherring Spence, top organizer and volunteer; Kisha L. Webster and Greenmount West Community; Neighborhoods United; Rosemont Neighborhood Improvement Association; Druid Heights Community; Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association.

The AFRO began what was then known as the Clean Block program in 1935. This year the paper restated the contest as part of the celebration of the organization’s 125th anniversary.

Marvin “Doc” Cheatham was a key organizer of the Clean/Green Block program. Diane Hocker, AFRO director of community and public relations, said, “The AFRO is once again glad to bring back the Clean/Green Block initiative as part of our 125th anniversary celebration. We look forward to more events that engage our community.”

The community came out in support of the AFRO Clean/Green Block winner’s announcement at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. (Photo by Chanet Wallace)

The community came out in support of the AFRO Clean/Green Block winner’s announcement at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. (Photo by Chanet Wallace)

Scores of food trucks and vendors lined the Sundial Pavilion at Druid Hill Park from noon into the evening Saturday. From Caribbean, to soul food, to desserts, a variety of foods were available for sample and purchase.  Vendors from all corners of the city traveled to sell various items, from apparel endorsing the “Black Lives Matter” movement, to trinkets to artwork. For children, there were plenty of activities available, from moon bounces to face painting.

Live performers to the stage, from soul group The Ebonys, to Ms.Bee to a live modeling exhibition from fashion extraordinaire Travis Winkey. The Ebonys were popular through the 1970’s during the height of Black soul quartets.

“I think this is a good look for the community,” said event attendee Ryan Jones.  “Having these type of events makes you feel good, makes you take pride in where you come from.”