By Lynda Jones, editor
After a two-year hiatus and restructuring, the Board of Directors of African World Festival announced the return of the festival to the Maier Festival Grounds. The board has worked with area residents, local business partners and festival volunteers to bring the sorely missed festival back to the community.
Community residents and organizations, as well as local politicians joined members of the Board of Directors for the announcement on the festival grounds. The festival is scheduled to return on Sunday, August 1 for one day only.
C. Michelle Bryant, executive director for African World Festival said that through the efforts of fundraisers, community support, and unique partnerships, the festival will return with enthusiasm and new innovative ideas.
“For instance, each child coming through the gates will receive a balloon. So the grounds will be filled with colorful balloons. We will also be giving away 600 backpacks filled with school supplies, and offer back to school related workshops. There will also be a essay contest for high school seniors and incoming college freshmen to compete for the 15 college scholarships that will be given out”.
Bryant also shared that the entertainment for the festival will include R & B recording artist, Charlie Wilson formally of The Gap Band, and jazz recording artist Najee. Additional acts including gospel talent will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are so excited for the return of the festival, and there are so many people and organizations to acknowledge, but I want to say that the Milwaukee World Festival Board worked helped us tremendously, and they are great to work with.”
Other companies that were instrumental to bringing the festival back included, Great Lakes Higher Education organization, the first big sponsor. WE Energies, Miller-Coors, Goodwill, Legacy Bank and the Marcus Center also help with sponsorships and in fundraising events as well.
Another support base came directly from the African American community from nickels and dimes to supporting and attending fundraising events held throughout the fundraising season that spread over more than a year.
One of the largest and most successful fundraising events was a concert sponsored by four area churches; Christian Faith, Christ The King, Greater New Birth and Balm N Gilead. The concert sold out in two weeks, and it was held at The Marcus Center in September, 2009.
More festival details will be made available in the coming weeks. Tickets will go on sale beginning June 11, for advance ticket purchases the price will be $10 and tickets at the gate will be $15, children under six will be admitted free. The festival will be held from Noon to midnight. Individuals that are interested in vending opportunities or other information can receive any of this information from the festival’s website; www.africanworldfestival-milwaukee.com com.