spady_festival_2009_web.jpgDELRAY BEACH- Those who love a taste of culture celebrating the African Diaspora need look no further than Delray Beach this weekend. The city will come alive Saturday, Aug. 21,  with the sixth annual Spady Living Heritage Festival slated for historic Northwest Fifth Avenue.

The free event will feature everything from R & B music groups, to gospel and blues music, to Christian Rap and Haitian and Latin dance. Praise dancers, belly dancers and a Greek step show will also be part of the entertainment line-up.

A variety of cultural exhibits will be on display and an African song and dance workshop and a fashion show will be among the activities.
The Derek Mack Band will take to the stage at 8 p.m.

One highlight of this year’s edition of Spady will be the Tradition Bearers of Renaissance Park, a group from Marianna that showcases folk life skills from the turn of the century. The group will display candy-making, corn husking and shoe-shining and will demonstrate making lye soap and grass brooms and other skills of days gone by.

Charlene Jones, educational program director at the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, which is presenting the festival, said the goal is to offer a taste of culture to everyone.

“We want everyone to experience the cultural heritage that we offer and we want to preserve our cultural heritage in Palm Beach County, especially as it relates to African Americans,” Jones said.

The organizers wanted to offer a cultural experience at an affordable price and a full array of activities for adults and children are free of charge.

“We wanted our audience to share in some of the rich history that we’ve collected,” she said.

Food vendors, community organizations and non-profit groups, as well as business owners are expected to line the festival with booths showcasing their services and products. Last year, an estimated 4,000 people attended the festival. Jones expects even more will turn out this year.

Throughout the year, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum offers a variety of cultural events and programs.  The museum is the brainchild of Vera Rolle Farrington, a retired Palm Beach County educator, historian, and South Florida native.

Under Farrington’s leadership, the museum opened in 2001 and has become a resource for people seeking information about the city’s early black history and culture.

Cynthia Roby may be reached at


PICTURED ABOVE:   Scene from the 2009 Spady Festival