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By Jeff Moreland
For the fifth consecutive year, Washington County will celebrate its heritage this weekend as the 2008 African American Heritage Festival kicks off in downtown Springfield.
Nell Haydon, director of the Springfield’s Main Street Renaissance Program, said this year’s event will pay tribute to African American educators. The festival will begin with a new event featuring a special panel of educators at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 31 at the Opera House.
“We have put together an exceptional panel,” Haydon said.
The panel will discuss topics ranging from the purpose and benefits of education, the education experience, the role of educators, community and family members for students, as well as the responsibility of coaches in the educational experience beyond student-athlete eligibility.
Haydon said the panel members will address the topics, and then answer questions from the audience. In addition to the panel members, a featured speaker, Jacqueline Austin, director of curriculum and assessment for Jefferson County Public Schools, will be on hand.
On Friday, Aug. 1, the festival starts at 6 p.m. with music by Perfect Fit featuring Angela Nance. Vendors will also begin to sell food at that time. At the same time, the Opera House will host the unveiling of the maquettes of the Lincoln statue to be placed at the entrance of the new Washington County Judicial Center.
The annual festival parade will begin on Main Street at 7 p.m. This year’s parade is slated to feature more than 30 participants, which Julita Nance of the Springfield Main Street Renaissance Program called the best number ever.
“We have more than 30 entries, and the parade just keeps getting better and better each year,” Nance said.
Following the parade, featured speaker Zambia Nkruma White will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. At 7:45, the River City Drum Corp of Louisville will perform. Witness, directed by David Kimberland, will perform at 8 p.m., followed by the male chorus group from Danville’s First Baptist Church at 8:25 p.m., and Net’Work featuring Michael Hughes and JoAnne Cooper Sickles. Local DJ Frankie Boy takes over the entertainment at 10:15 p.m. to wrap up the evening.
Haydon said in addition to food vendors and the entertainment throughout the evening, visitors will be able to purchase tee shirts commemorating the festival at a booth hosted by the Springfield Main Street Renaissance program.
For more information, visit www.springfieldky.org on the Internet.