The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival celebrates 16 years


TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is celebrating its 16th anniversary with a lively music fest, food, business vendors, an elegant gala, prominent speakers, health and financial seminars and a golf tournament. The fun kicks off Jan. 14.

Chairperson Ruby Jackson said that the 10-day festival, held in Tampa, is a time to continue to celebrate and embrace the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Founded by Dr. Samuel Lamar Wright Sr. in 2000, it has grown from four days to almost two weeks.

“Dr. Wright and the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau had a vision to raise awareness of the African and African-American heritage within the Tampa Bay area and surrounding communities,” Jackson said.

Full schedule. Click to view larger.

Full schedule. Click to view larger.

The annual celebration, which traditionally begins the weekend before and concludes the weekend after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is a boost to the local economy. It boasts of more than 60,000 participants yearly.

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival continues to evolve and offer new and unique experiences. For the first time they will offer an “All Things Tech” Technology Village to the two-day music fest Jan. 16-17. It will showcase different local businesses making a difference in technology and provide mentoring and education to area youth.

The mission of the festival is to offer the communities in Tampa Bay a unique blend of African and African-American art, culture and history. Its goal is to serve as a conduit for promoting and perpetuating the art, culture and history of African Americans and African people for the benefit of all Tampa Bay residents and tourists.

Jackson thanked the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Fox13, Nielsen, HCC MLK Day of Service and all the other sponsors, supporters, partners, board members, volunteers and the community for continuing to support the festival.

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The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is comprised of several signature events including:

Jan. 16

5K Walk/Run to promote healthy living

Where: Curtis Dixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa

Time: Registration beings at 7 a.m. & walk/run starts at 8-9:30 a.m.

Cost: Free but requires registration

Jan. 16 & 17 

Music Fest – R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz

Continuous music all day featuring national recording singer/ guitarist Jonathan Butler on the 16th and Angie Stone on the 17th. The Music Fest will also have six areas or “villages” for the community to explore:

Artists Village: Local and national artists showcasing their artwork

Authors Village: Meet local and national authors and book sale

Children’s Village: Face painting, storytelling, educational activities, and arts and crafts

Greek VillageA platform for undergraduates; alumni sororities and fraternities who are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to showcase their organization and share information of their community involvement.

Health Village: Adults and children are offered free health screenings for HIV, diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma and many other prevalent health concerns.

Corporate Village: Marketing opportunities for area businesses.

Where: Curtis Dixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa

Time: 10- 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Jan. 18

TOBA 36th Annual Dr. MLK Leadership Breakfast

Speaker: Adam Jefferson Richardson, 115th Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Where: Downtown Hilton Hotel, 211 N. Tampa St., Tampa

Time: 6:45 a.m.

Cost: $35 individual / $500 corporate tables (seats 10) Tickets will not be sold at the door.

10th Annual Heritage Golf at Classic Rogers Park Golf Course

Where: Rogers Park Golf Course, 7911 N. 30th St., Tampa

Time: Registration begins at 10:30; game beings at noon

Cost: $95 Individual / $380 Foursome / $15 Lunch only

Jan. 20

Leadership Luncheon with featured speaker Dick Gregory, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur and comedian.

Where: University Area Community Center Complex, 14013 North 22nd St., Tampa

Time: 11:30-1:30 p.m.

Cost:  $20 Individual / $200 Reserved Table of 8. Contact 1.888.224.1733

Heritage Youth Night featuring Ric Mathis, independent filmmaker and creator of the film “Black Friday.”

Where: Howard W. Blake High School of Arts, 1701 N. Boulevard Ave., Tampa
Time: 5:30pm
Cost: Free

Jan. 21

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Gala featuring songstress Avery Sunshine and the Heritage Gala Comedy Hour. Semi-formal to formal

Where: TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, 4121 North 50th St., Tampa

Time: 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Cost: $55 Individual / $100 Couple / $480 Table of 8.

Jan. 22

Gospel Night: A musical celebration of the history of the gospel songs and hymns presented by top local, regional, and national musical talent.

Where: Hillsborough Community College – Ybor Campus Main Stage Theatre, 2001 N. 14th St., Tampa

Time: 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

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