By ASHLEY ANDREWS
Special to South Florida Times
FORT LAUDERDALE — The vivacious spirit of Caribbean culture will be brought to South Florida this month at the inaugural Caribbean Village Music, Arts, Food and Wellness Festival, which organizers say is a family-friendly event to call attention to island culture and raise funds to help local and island children.
The festival will take place at Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 NW 11th Place in Lauderhill, where families can celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month and support underprivileged Caribbean students.
“The festival will be a unifying experience for the whole family to enjoy while learning about the rich Caribbean culture,” said Lindell F. Douglas, president and founder of the Galleon Foundation, the festival’s primary sponsor.
Founded in 2010, the Galleon Foundation aims to provide financial aid and mentorship programs to disadvantaged students both in the United States and in the Caribbean. The non-profit organization currently sponsors three schools in Broward and four in Jamaica. Their motto, “Making a difference, one child at a time” embodies the foundation’s mission.
One of the foundation’s afterschool mentorship programs is at Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard Elementary School, called “Impact Girls” that provides young girls a nurturing environment to build confidence and academic excellence. With the success of the girls-only program, the Galleon Foundation looks to provide the young boys at Dillard their own “Impact Boys” helping them grow into confident, intelligent and cultured men.
The Galleon Foundation in association with the Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce and City of Lauderhill to provide the “South Floribbean” community with an educational and fun day of Caribbean fellowship and unity.
“There are so many similarities between each island’s cultures,” said Douglas. “Although we are separated by land and sea, we are definitely united by culture.”
The inaugural Caribbean Village Festival will help celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month and also serve as a fundraiser to implement more mentorship programs in South Florida schools.
Aside from celebrating Caribbean American heritage, June is also Men’s Health month.
“As men we tend not to visit the doctor’s office until it’s a serious issue,” Douglas said. “The festival will encourage participation in health and wellness practices.”
The festival will provide men with free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings along with health tips.
Starting at noon and continuing throughout the day, the festival will feature a live parade and a star-studded line up of musical performances by the Caribbean’s brightest artists such as Shifta, Snypah and others from the Bahamas and Haiti. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Miss Universe Jamaica 2014 Kaci Fennell, along with contestants of the 2015 Miss Jamaica Diaspora Pageant.
The Caribbean Village Festival will feature drinks and food from various islands around the Caribbean. Visitors can delight in Caribbean delicacies while watching a Celebrity Cook-Off between PBS’ Taste of the Islands Chef Irie and celebrity Chef Mark. It will also feature a fun kids zone filled with arts and crafts for the whole family to enjoy.
“With Father’s Day right around the corner, the festival ties together all the aspects of Caribbean culture while fostering a day filled of family bonding,” Douglas said.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Caribbean Village Music, Arts, Food & Wellness Festival
WHEN: Sunday, June 12 from noon to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill
COST: $17.50 per person, $5.50 per child (under 12) in advance; and a flat rate of $26.50 at the gate. VIP tickets are $60 per person in advance and $80 at the gate.
CONTACT: (954) 306-8668, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thegalleonfoundation.org