Warren Mayor: African American Fest important for all cultures

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – The African American Festival takes over Courthouse Square in Warren for one weekend every year — and that weekend is upon us.

The food and fun are unmatched, while the camaraderie is just as important for people of all races.

“It’s important for us to intermingle and understand each other’s culture, so we can appreciate each other more,” Mayor Doug Franklin said.

Sherry Callaway can’t remember missing an African American Fest, which is now in its 33rd year. She enjoys everything about it and believes the gathering is just as important as the Italian Fest and Greek Fest.

“This is what it’s all about,” Sherry Callaway said. “People come together, do things together and buy from each other. They’ll find out that everybody works together for the same good.”

The parade is Saturday at 11 a.m.

Then at noon, the Grace AME Health Fair on the Square begins with screenings for the family, such as checking on blood pressure, cholesterol and even bone density.

“We wanted to stress that out of the 33 years we’ve had this, the last [eight], we’ve been focusing on health,” Bob Davis of the African American Festival said.

The health screenings set apart the African American fest, but there’s plenty for everyone to do.

And every night concludes with music, which is another common denominator across the city.

“I enjoy it especially at night because that’s when everyone comes out,” Charlie Rodgers said. “A sanctioned place to hang out for the night. No trouble — none of that.”

Greg Johnson takes the stage Friday night. The Dazz Band plays Saturday night. And on Gospel Sunday, the music goes from 3 p.m. until the festival closes at 11 p.m.