Toledo Urban Announces 2024 African American Festival  Events and Performers

Commissioner Lisa Sobecki, TUFCU CEO Suzette Cowell, Commissioner Pete Gerken, Fair Housing CEO George Thomas, Commissioner Anita Lopez, TUFCU Board Member Rev. Jerry Boose

The Truth Staff

The 19th annual African American Festival will be held this summer on July 19-20. The annual Prayer Breakfast will take place on Friday, July 19, at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion. The parade and music festival the following day, Saturday, July 20, with the music happening at the Huntington Center.

Last week, at the TUFCU’s Monroe Street location, President and CEO Suzette Cowell was joined by the Lucas County Commissioners to announce the details of this year’s events. The commissioners have supported the festival since the earliest days and continue to do so.

“This is a great event for downtown Toledo,” said Pete Gerken, president of the Lucas County Commissioners. “We are happy to have the [event] inside our Huntington Center. This is a county building and the county should count on us. We fund community  projects all year round.”

This year’s 8:00 a.m. Prayer Breakfast will honor eight community members and will feature a number of prayers offered by area church leaders. This year’s honorees are Terry Crosby , community representative for Taylor Automotive; Bishop Pat McKinstry of the Worship Center and TUFCU board chairman; Toledo City Councilman John Hobbs, III; George Thomas, CEO and general counsel of the Toledo Fair Housing Center; Jodie Summers, author, poet and community activist; Angela Cattladge, TUFCU executive services manager; Shariva Sutton, TUFCU compliance officer; Shareese Norwood, TUFCU member.

Cowell announced the entertainers that will perform on Saturday at the Huntington Center. They include comedian Kelly Williams, saxophonist Mike Williams, Jodie Summers, Bootsy Collins, Raheem Devaughn, Pokey Bear, the Zapp Band and Jagged Edge. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Saturday morning’s parade will kick off at the TUFCU Dorr Street location (corner of Dorr and Detroit) at 10 a.m. and march towards downtown along Dorr Street.

Cowell noted that enthusiasm for the festival starts early in the calendar year. “The community looks forward to it and they start calling us about it {in early] January.”

“Thank you for organizing this event,” said Commissioner Lisa Sobecki. “It started as a dream 19 years ago but the dream has become a reality.”

“I’m honored to be a part of supporting the African American Festival,” added Commissioner Anita Lopez.