Festival on the Avenue returns to South Sumter today

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 4/11/19

History. Culture. Tradition. Originally based on the Bimb Celebration, a West African festival of the harvest, South Sumter's Festival on the Avenue will return to the Downtown Sumter area with 10,000 visitors to showcase the community's food, arts, …

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Festival on the Avenue returns to South Sumter today

Posted

History. Culture. Tradition. Originally based on the Bimb Celebration, a West African festival of the harvest, South Sumter's Festival on the Avenue will return to the Downtown Sumter area with 10,000 visitors to showcase the community's food, arts, dance and music.

Festival on the Avenue, the annual event where the creativity and vitality of the South Sumter community is showcased, will return to the downtown Sumter area today through Saturday.

Each year, the three-day festival begins with the Thursday event "An Evening of Elegance - Remembering the Past" at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 325 W. Fulton St. At the opening act, starting at 7 p.m., state Rep. David Weeks, D-Sumter, will honor select current community leaders.

Next, the event moves to the church's enrichment center for the Living Museum. Through the years, the museum has honored black leaders from the Civil Rights Movement and leading entertainers such as groundbreaking opera singer Leontyne Price, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and Patti LaBelle.

On Friday, tee time for the annual golf tournament at Crystal Lakes Golf Course is slated for 7:30 a.m., and a shotgun start for the four-man captain's choice tournament is scheduled for 8 a.m. with the opportunity to win cash prizes at the end and a new car from Jones Chevrolet, Wilson said. However, the registration deadline has passed.

On Friday night, from 6 to 9 p.m., festival-goers will hear various music from Sumter-based Terence Lonon and The Untouchables during Taste of Soul on the Avenue at South Sumter's Farmers Market grounds on Manning Avenue, next to the South Sumter Resource Center.

Attendees can kick off Saturday, the biggest day of the event, with the lively Festival on the Avenue Parade, which starts at the corner of South Main and Bartlette streets and extends down Manning Avenue. The parade will feature about 100 participants from bands to dancers, king and queen floats and local elected officials.

According to festival Chairwoman Lorraine Dennis, the parade's grand marshal will be Johnny Pringle. Pringle had a printing shop in the South Sumter community and was instrumental in getting several programs up and running in the community, Dennis said.

Music, other performances and food will continue throughout the day along Manning Avenue until 4 p.m. Bands will include Sumter-based Jalisa Monique and Soul for Therapy, Woodstock and FBI, which stands for Five Brass Instrumentalists, Dennis said.

A majority of the events featured during the festival are free and open to the public. Food and vendor items will be available for purchase.

For more than a decade, the festival has honored the rich traditions, history and cultures of South Sumter, according to Dennis, and people from across the state attend.

"We encourage people to come out and support Festival on the Avenue because it speaks of not only heritage, but it's also family friendly and a good time," Dennis said. "The festival brings people together, no matter their background. It's like a huge family gathering."