Sunday, January 19, 2003

Exhibit's passport to Africa

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Members of the Medasi African Dance Theatre put on a program as part of the African Culture Fest Saturday at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
Samples of authentic African food, a re-creation of an African village and performances by dance troupes greeted hundreds who visited the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal Saturday.

The 18th annual African Culture Fest, which runs through Monday, is the third celebration in the Cincinnati Museum Center's Passport to the World series.

For some visitors, it was a chance to buy African clothing, jewelry and other items from vendors lining almost the entire length of the terminal's rotunda.

For others, it was a chance to connect with something more personal.

What: 18th annual African Culture Fest.
When: Noon-5 p.m. today and Monday.
Where: Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave.
Admission: Free.
Information: 287-7000.<
"I like to participate in things involving my culture," said Jeanna Gaitor ofBond Hill, who came to the festival with her sons, Charlston Gaitor, 7, and Christian Tensley, 5. "And it gives me a chance to teach my children about their culture. You can just see how interested they are," she said, pointing to her children who were admiring the intricate beadwork on some African jewelry.

This was the first year Ms. Gaitor attended - but she has gone to others like it in other cities.

"This is a good turnout," she said.

Saturday's participants got to see free performances by the Medasi Dance Theatre, the Bucket Boys, and the Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre. The Cincinnati Black Theater Company presented A Review of Black Musicals.

Today's free events include a discussion, "Hip Hop or Hip Not?," at 2 p.m. in the Reakirt Auditorium - about the effect of hip-hop on the community. At 4 p.m. in the auditorium is "Gospel Fest," featuring soloist Keldon Price.

Other activities, such as Inside Africa at the Museum Center's Museum of Natural History, and Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees exhibit and Omnimax film, are free with paid admission to the museums.

The series continues with Celtic Lands Culture Fest March 15-16; and Asian Culture Fest May 17.


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