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Roots and Heritage Festival Another Success

Pretty is as pretty does. Young ladies of the Little Ms. Heritage Contest participate in the parade.

The Roots and Heritage Street Fair has again come and gone. This year there was more excitement at the parade but fewer acts on Stage One. There was another top name act for the gospel stage on Sunday and a few arrests on Saturday night. But overall, the 21st Annual Roots and Heritage Festival was a success. On Friday night there were more options than ever for those wanting to experience African American culture.

Bigg Robb was aBIGG hit on Stage One with his soul performance and sharp dressed band.

On the Roots and Heritage Calendar was an art exhibit downtown featuring renowned artist Charles Bibbs and at Third and Elm Tree Lane the street was packed as Stage One opened with some classic rhythm and blues brought by headlining act “Touch”. The Kentucky Women Writers Conference brought in Gina McCauley as the keynote lecturer for the Sonia Sanchez Lecture series on Friday also. Gina tackled the topic “What About Our Daughters? Winning The War on Black Women”.

In her lecture she shared a few tragic tales of Black women and children who were victims of violent crimes but their stories did not make the front pages of any Black magazines nor were championed by any celebrities.

The River City Drum Corp worked hard to entertain the crowd.

Saturday started out with a bang as the Roots and Heritage Parade kicked into high gear featuring The River City Drum Corp of Louisville as the headline band, Lexington’s own March Madness Marching Band who wore colorful costumes while performing non-stop and the newly formed Black Star Maroon Brass Band playing New Orleans style tunes. A new addition to the parade was a Grand Marshall. Lexington’s own Adele Givens served as the inaugural Marshall after being presented The Key to The City by Mayor Jim Newberry.

KEY NEWSJOURNAL CO-FOUNDER LAMAUGHN MUHAMMAD ORGANIZED A NEW ORLEANS STYLE BAND FOR THE PARADE. LOCAL PLAYERS INCLUDED PASTOR J.W. RHODES AND DONALD WADLEY.

Givens took pictures with fans and stopped to take pictures of people and attractions herself as she rode through Lexington’s East End. Later that evening Bigg Robb and Problem Solva’s took to the stage as the feature act before headliner’s ConFunkShun performed to a “wall to wall” crowd.

Lexington resident and Original Queen of Comedy Adele Givens was Grand Marshal of the Roots and Heritage Parade.

Adele Givens receives The Key To The City presented by Mayor Newberry

In a Key Conversations Radio interview Lexington Policeman Lt. Lawrence Weathers reported that there were a few fights during the festival and most did not result in arrest, but there were about five who had to be taken in. All arrests would be considered juveniles or young adults. Festival Chairperson Kimberly Henderson Baird was also interviewed on the air and said that safety is a major concern at the festival. She explained that in past years volunteers have organized entertainment specifically for the youth and one year they had activities off-site.

THE MASONS AND SHRINERS WERE WELL REPRESENTED IN THE PARADE WITH TWO ENTRIES AND MORE ETHAN 30 MARCHERS.

She acknowledged that more must be done to engage youth and curb the violence that some bring to the festival each year. Sunday brought Ms. Shirley Murdock to Lexington to perform during the Gospel Program. Murdock, best known for her hit song “As We Lay”, released her first gospel project “Home” in 2002. Ms. Baird said that there would be conversations about the future of the festival. Many feel the festival has outgrown the four-block space it is in. Some have suggested an admission to the stage area so that more “A-List” talent could be brought in. Whatever the decision, she expects the festival to continue for years to come.