Baltimore hosts AFRAM Festival this weekend

One-day event is at Druid Hill Park

BALTIMORE - The stage isn't quite set but the work is well underway for Baltimore's African American Festival (AFRAM).

"It's bringing it back to the heritage and history that Baltimore has to offer," said community activist Erick Alston-Buck. 

There's a new home this year, the city's largest park, Druid Hill park. The theme is "our families, our heritage." And the typically three day festival is now just one, Saturday. 

"A watered down version of what we're used to," Alston-Buck said. "AFRAM has historically been where the black family goes and celebrates all weekend."

She continued, saying it's a shame and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

"In a time where we're facing 216 murders, I think an opportunity to showcase and celebrate and be happy for as long as possible the city needs that," she said

DeJuan Patterson of Mayor Catherine Pugh's office focused on the quality of the event, not the quantity of days.

"We want to make sure that we highlight there are other parts of Baltimore City than downtown, so bringing that attention inside the park and explaining the history of the whole Baltimore is really important to the mayor's office," he said.

And that history includes things like Druid Hill park being the first park where blacks could play tennis in Baltimore, a place that used to be the only public pool for blacks in the city. Saturday it will be a place where vendors, food trucks, health and wellness experts, entertainers and families can create some new history.

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