People of all ages and backgrounds gathered over the weekend near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sixth Street in Gainesville for the 34th Annual Fifth Avenue Arts Festival.
Hosted by the Cultural Arts Coalition, the free two-day celebration highlights the African American culture of the Fifth Avenue neighborhood in Gainesville.
“Leaving a Legacy” was this year’s theme. The event recognized and celebrated musical legends from the 50s and 60s who have made an impact on the Fifth Avenue community.
About 100 people attended the opening reception Friday evening at the A. Quinn Jones Center. The reception, hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, included dinner, historical poetry and African and Haitian dance.
The coalition also recognized groups, such as Job Corps and the Horizon Center, that have helped the community stay green.
“I like being able to do the festival to celebrate Earth Day, which is right after the festival,” said Nkwanda Jah, director and a founder of the festival.
Attendance on Saturday and Sunday dwindled due to rainy weather, but that didn’t stop headlining music group The Main Ingredient from getting the crowd hyped.
“Do you all remember this song?” shouted Cuba Gooding Sr., lead singer of the group. He later jumped off the stage to get everyone engaged.
Families stood in huddles, rocking back and forth to the beats blasting from the speakers, which sounded off all down the block.
The block was lined with clothing, hair care, food and jewelry vendor booths, many of which were operated by families. Children helped their families deliver the services by greeting people and exchanging money.
“It’s family-oriented,” said Quintina Crawford, a neo-soul and jazz singer who performed Saturday. “It brings the children together, and I think it’s just good freshining on their cultural skills.”
Vivian Filer, chair of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, has attended the event since its conception 34 years ago and said community is what it’s all about.
“We all are in need of each other,” Filer said.