Saturday, August 28, 1999

Festival reaches to all races

Event educates and entertains

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Today's African-American Heritage Festival in Randolph Park allows people of all backgrounds to have fun, while sampling the African-American culture, organizer Pam Mullins said.

        “We've got Appalachian festivals, we've got German festivals, and we've got Italian festivals,” Ms. Mullins said. “So why not an African-American heritage festival? This is open to everyone, to enjoy a taste of this culture.”

        The fifth annual festival runs from noon to 9 p.m. in the park at Ninth and Prospect streets. Ms. Mullins hopes to attract 1,000 participants.

        “This is a chance for people to socialize and have fun in an atmosphere that's very entertaining and educational,” Ms. Mullins said. “It's a very family-oriented festival.”

        Admission is free. Featured entertainment includes Phi'nesse, rhythm and blues group from Cincinnati made up of teen girls; the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers, a Covington-based gospel group that's developing a national reputation; rhythm and blues performer Jharin Stowers of Covington; and At Eaze, a jazz group that opened the Coors Light Festival's final night.

        The event also will feature a genealogy presentation by local historian Charles King, a tour of historic African-American sites in east Covington, informational booths from health vendors, free games and hot dogs for children, and historical displays.

        Elsmere Mayor Billy Bradford, the first African-American mayor in Northern Kentucky, will be the featured speaker for a ceremony honoring African-Americans' involvement in national civic organizations. At one time, African-Americans were not permitted to join such groups as the Elks or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, so they formed their own organizations, Ms. Mullins said.

        “These groups just didn't happen by chance,” Ms. Mullins said. “There was a reason why they formed. It's important that everyone, especially the younger people, understand why these attendees are being honored.”

        • What: Mason Heritage Festival.

        • When: 9 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. today.

        • Where: U.S. 42 (Main Street) in downtown Mason.

        • Highlights: Parade at 10 a.m.; Kids' Stage from noon to 5 p.m.; Peter Noone on main stage at 7 p.m.

        • Parking: Free parking at Mason Intermediate School on Mason-Montgomery Road. Shuttle service begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues all day.

        • Information: 336-0388 or 398-3056.


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