Staff Report

Miami Gardens – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan kicked off the seventh annual Black Heritage Festival by dancing alongside a Caribbean-style Junkanoo band composed of drums, horns, whistles and brass instruments.

Nearly 1,000 residents filled the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex Amphitheater to celebrate “Black by Popular Demand,” which was this year’s theme.

Jordan said her festival, which is celebrated each year during Black History Month, honors the rich and diverse heritage of Black people. The Feb. 29 event was hosted by Jordan and City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.

“Every year, I’m proud to host this event to highlight our history, culture, and the contributions that African Americans have made to this country,” Jordan said.

The festival showcased the wide-ranging talents of local residents, including music, dance, fashion design, poetry and more. A few of the acts that graced the stage included Glory Shalom, Keymah Renee, Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns, Alliance for Musical Arts Drumline, Dominque “Know God” Rivers, Halle Rae, Fabian & Mom, and Simone’s Just Dance Studio.

Over 500 elementary, middle, and high school students were acknowledged for making honor roll distinctions at schools throughout District 1. Business owners were on site promoting an array of cultural wares along with several food trucks and other food vendors.

Children enjoyed rock wall climbing, face painting, and bounce houses. There were mobile units on hand from CareerSource South Florida and Kinad African American Mobile Museum.

The 7th Annual Black Heritage Festival was sponsored by EAC Consulting, Inc., Airside International Business Park, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, The Carrie Meek Foundation, Carrie Concessions, IBEW Local Union 349, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bombardier, and HBC Engineering Company.