18th Annual African-American Culture and Heritage Festival Promotes Cultural Diversity and Unity

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Umoja Festival, September 19-21, features the sights, sounds, tastes and soul of Africa through forums, national and regional entertainment, African dancers, educational exhibits, scenic tours, children's village, marketplace and ethnic foods.

Umoja Festival, September 19-21, features the sights, sounds, tastes and soul of Africa through forums, national and regional entertainment, African dancers, educational exhibits, scenic tours, children's village, marketplace and ethnic foods.

Umoja Festival links attendees from across the nation and the citizenry of Portsmouth to the Festival's theme of unity in the family, community, and nation. Umoja Festival is a superb example of Portsmouth's dedication and commitment to insuring an understanding of cultural diversity.

Umoja Festival officially begins at 5:15 p.m. Friday, September 19 at the NTELOS Pavilion with a traditional African drum call, a ceremonial procession led by Portsmouth dignitaries and civic leaders, and the blessing of the elders. The festival continues in downtown Portsmouth and at the NTELOS Pavilion through Saturday and Sunday. Throughout the festival weekend, Portsmouth will resemble its sister city of Eldoret, Kenya.

Major sponsors include Fox 43, MIX magazine, and Optima Health Care.

National performers, Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne and Midnight Star, take the NTELOS Wireless Pavilion stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 20.

The festival will also host the 2nd Annual Golf tournament at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Thursday, September 18 as well as a two-mile Victory Walk sponsored by the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation at 9 a.m. Saturday. New for 2008 is a Step Competition.

With more than 25,000 people expected to attend over three days, http://www.umojafestportsmouth.com is one of the largest events in Virginia celebrating African American heritage.

About Portsmouth, Virginia: A quaint, historic seaport city in southeastern Virginia, the City of Portsmouth is centrally located within the region referred to as South Hampton Roads. The Norfolk - Virginia Beach - Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranks as the 27th largest in the United States with a total population of more than 1.5 million.

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Mary Murray
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