From Decatur Daily Newspaper

Festival celebrates culture

By Jennifer Edwards – TNValleyNow.com

Ashton Lance/TNValleyNow.com

Artist Brenda Davis arranges her art at the Willie Green Center in Tuscumbia during the African Heritage Festival on Saturday. The festival celebrates African culture and heritage with music, dancing and food.

TUSCUMBIA — It’s important to live in the present without forgetting the past.

That’s the reason Wallace Ricks gives when talking about the importance of the annual North Alabama African Heritage Festival. Ricks is president of the North Alabama African Heritage Association, which sponsors the event.

The 13th annual festival was Friday and Saturday at Willie Green Recreation Park in Tuscumbia.

“It is our history and culture,” Ricks said.

“Even as we live in the present and create our future, we can’t forget our past.”

The festival celebrates African culture and heritage with music, dancing and food.

There were traditional African dances and drummers, including the African Heritage Associations Youth Drumming and Dancing group and the Poza Dance Troupe, among others.

“This event draws people from all across north Alabama, and is always a big celebration,” said Susann Hamlin, director of Colbert County tourism. “I, in particular, love the clothing. There is always a lot of true African clothing at the festival.”

This year’s festival included an exhibit Friday by Southern folk artist Brenda Davis.

Ricks said an important emphasis for him each year is on the educational offerings to children.

“It pleases me to see the children participate in the dancing and the music and just enjoy the festival,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to make sure they know their roots and where they came from.”

Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@Times Daily.com

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