I attended the African American Cultural Festival this past Saturday. This premiere festival was an all day event on both Saturday and Sunday from Fayetteville Street to Davie Street in downtown Raleigh. The weather was simply beautiful, perfect for an event like this. The live music on stage was great and the performers were awesome. Truth be told, unfortunately, I did not know anything about this event until Friday afternoon while conversing with my cousin about weekend plans. We weren't certain about specifics so I Googled a bit and, sure enough, I found out details. I don't watch television very often, but I do listen to the radio and check out the news on the Internet. I was disappointed that this event was, in my opinion, not advertised more. Raleigh Wide Open, on the other hand, which took place about a month ago, in the same downtown area was highly promoted. True, it was its fifth annual, but also an event for the masses none the less. The AACF didn't take up as much street distance as RWO, which led to what I felt was more frequent clusters and back ups at booths and vendors. This made viewing items, crafts, and art work a little difficult.
Despite the gorgeous weather, upbeat music, and delicious smells in the air from nearby food vendors, I noticed that many in attendance looked as if smiling was the furthest concept from their minds. Now I understand that no one smiles all of the time, but I felt as if it was a rarity to notice someone in the large crowd having a good time. Some faces were even reminiscent of 'Pod People'. Hmmm. I, unfortunately missed the African American Dance Ensemble performance. Drat! All in all, my aunt and I didn't stay long and I found myself wanting a little more; this has more to do with the preparation and the logistics of the set up. All of the art and crafts were beautiful. I'll be in attendance next year; I hope they carry over the roster of performers and maybe even add to it.