Delight your senses at 5th Avenue Arts Festival

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.

The much anticipated 34th annual 5th Avenue Arts Festival is expected to delight festival-goers with a feast for the senses during two days of art, music, dancing, food, vendors — and lots of mingling — in a sort of friendly coming-home atmosphere.


The poster for the 5th Avenue Arts Festival. (Special to the Guardian)



What: The 34th annual 5th Avenue Arts Festival with artists, vendors and entertainment.
When: Festival, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. April 20 and noon-6 p.m. April 21; reception, 6 p.m. April 19.
Where: Festival, NW 6th Street between 3rd and 7th avenues; reception, A. Quinn Jones Center, 1108 NW 7th Ave.
Information: Call 352-372-0216.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. April 20 and noon-6 p.m. April 21 on NW 6th Street between 3rd and 7th avenues. Kicking off the festival will be a reception at 6 p.m. April 19 at the A. Quinn Jones Center at 1108 NW 7th Ave.

Nkwanda Jah, executive director of the Cultural Arts Coalition, which sponsors the festival, and one of the festival founders and longtime organizers, said the theme this year will be "Leaving a Legacy," in honor of the musicians who played on Pleasant Street/NW 5th Avenue in the 1950s-1960s during segregation. "We honor these musicians that had a great impact on the Pleasant Street community in regards to music," Jah said. "They drew people here from surrounding counties and made Pleasant Street a musical destination."

The Rev. Karl "The Rev" Anderson, senior co-pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ, who is organizing this year's gospel component of the entertainment, said the gospel show featuring area churches hosting praise and worship services will no longer take place. Instead, there will be a gospel competition called the "Walk Into Your Season" Sing-Off. Anderson said the competition will be open to any Florida group/choir or soloist.

The festival also will feature the R&B group, "The Main Ingredient," which produced the 1972 hit, "Everybody Plays the Fool." There will be a health information area and more than 30 vendors offering a variety of items, including art, food, jewelry, African attire and more.

Jah said Roger "Roger D." Davis, a member of the Cultural Arts Coalition, will be the emcee for the third consecutive year.

Gospel competition

Anderson said the Cultural Arts Coalition, Class A Entertainment Alliance and the North Central Florida Gospel Announcers will present the inaugural "Walk Into Your Season" Sing-Off, which will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 20. The deadline to apply will be Saturday.

Open to any Florida group/choir or soloist, the registration fee is $75 for each group/choir and $50 for soloists. Anderson said the winner will receive a $5,000 recording package consisting of a 12-song project.

"There are limited spaces, and when it's filled, no further entries will be accepted," said Anderson.

To download the registration package, go to Mail the completed application, contract and registration fee to Class A Entertainment Alliance, c/o The Rev, 4925 NE 3rd Place, Gainesville, FL 32641. Make checks and money orders payable to the Cultural Arts Coalition.


Michael Bowie, organizer of the reception, said it is open to everyone and will feature African and Caribbean dancing, singing, monologues and other performing arts.

Jah said youth who participated in last year's Environmental Youth Summit will be recognized for completing their service projects.

In addition, a resident will be recognized with the Oscar Harris Community Service Award, which honors the memory of Harris, who served as director of the Community Action Agency and was instrumental in establishing the Cultural Arts Coalition.

Health information

Jah said information and screenings will be offered by the Gainesville Black Nurses Association and the Gainesville Job Corps Center health program.

Teresa Mercado, regional minority AIDS coordinator for Area 3/13 at the Alachua County Health Department, said oral swab HIV/AIDS testing also will be available, along with condoms and lots of information.

She said PEP, or Positives Empowering Positives, will be available to discuss what it is like to live with HIV.


Jah said headlining the entertainment will be national recording artist "The Main Ingredient," an R&B band formed in Harlem in 1964 and best known for the 1972 classic hit, "Everybody Plays the Fool." One of the members of the group is Cuba Gooding Sr., father of actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding.

Local artists performing will consist of the LaVern Porter Dancers, Passion Band featuring Jimmy Young, Radiant Star, Makare African Dance Family and the Lost Safari Drummers, all of Gainesville.

Other performers will include Tamba Issa, an African dance group from Atlanta, rapper Kardiak, also from Atlanta, and others.

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