Home Madison Africa Fest will celebrate heritage and culture August 19

Africa Fest will celebrate heritage and culture August 19

The African Association of Madison, Inc (AAM) will present its 23rd annual Africa Fest on Saturday, Aug. 19, at McPike Park on Madison’s near east side. (Photo: African Association of Madison, Inc )

Cultures across Africa will be represented and honored in Madison as Africa Fest returns Saturday, Aug. 19.

An event held by the African Association of Madison (AAM), Africa Fest showcases countries from all over the continent. The aim is to better improve race relations, encourage diversity initiatives and promote inclusivity in Madison, but most importantly, Africa Fest is there to celebrate African heritage. This year’s theme will be “Faces of African Beauty.”

“The more we educate others the more we’re able to see things in different ways. Africa Fest is the biggest thing we, as the African Association, can do,” said AAM President Ray Kumapayi. “We know we have to put forth a good festival, not only to encourage our sponsors, but to impart that knowledge to the community.”

The festival will kick off with its annual Strides for Africa Run. The run will be a 3k charity run meant to raise funds to build water wells in rural African villages and build solar panels for schools. To date, charity proceeds from the run have allowed AAM to fund water wells and solar panels to be built in seven different African countries. The charity tries to dismantle barriers to clean, accessible water and connect students to educational resources by providing frequent power. The registration fee for the run is $25.

Tents with games for kids to learn about the culture in African countries will be set up along with food and vendors. Stage performances will take place to showcase the countries represented, and the centerpiece event will take place atl 1:00 pm with the Parade of Nations opening ceremony.

Parade of Nations

Africa Fest will try to represent as many African countries as possible with its performances, games, food and vendors but not all 53 countries have the necessary representation in Madison to make every country seen. The Parade of Nations after the opening ceremony aims to make up for that. Every country will be showcased.

“What we try to do is to (represent) as many countries as possible — even if it’s for 15 to 20 minutes. We have what we call the Parade of Nations at Africa Fest, right after the opening ceremony at one o’clock, where all 53 countries will wave their flags and parade around the park,” Kumapayi said.

The African Association of Madison has been around since 1993 to promote, educate and celebrate African heritage in the city. The festival will be the 23rd Africa Fest so far. Africa Fest typically sees 3,000-4,000 attendees throughout the day coming from across Wisconsin and neighboring states, according to estimates from Madison PD provided to Kumapayi.

Africa Fest is free for all to attend. The festival will be held at McPike Park on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.