African-American Heritage festival set for this weekend

STEUBENVILLE – The ninth-annual African-American Heritage Festival, sponsored by the Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew, will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the city’s North End Ballfield.

This festival will be similar to those in years past, with food and merchandise vendors, entertainment, youth activities, including giant inflatable toys for the kids, and a Walk for Peace, according to Dawud Abdullah, B.A.S.I.C. Circle president.

Each day will begin with vendors opening the festival at 10 a.m., and activities and events will run each day until dusk, said Abdullah.

“(The festival) is going to be the same as in past years,” he said. “Friday night will be our youth night. We’re going to have a local youth come up on stage and (host the entertainment) all night.”

Friday’s entertainment will include hip hop, and “We also have some bands from Pittsburgh and Columbus coming,” he said.

Two of the bands will include SCR and MIA, both from Pittsburgh, Abdullah said.

“(MIA) is a young group, with members as young as age 7,” he added. “We’re also going to have a couple of dance groups.”

Saturday’s activities will begin with a youth basketball tournament, Abdullah said.

“We’ll have a youth basketball tournament for ages 10 to 13,” said Abdullah, adding the tournament begins at noon. “From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. we’re going to have our traditional Peace and Love Walk beginning at the ballfield. The walk isn’t going to be long, but it’s symbolic of Peace and Love and to stop all the violence.”

Saturday evening’s entertainment will focus on R&B and jazz for the middle-aged patrons, said Abdullah.

“This year we’re going to have some old-school jazz and R&B,” he said, adding a band from Pittsburgh will be doing a 90-minute set beginning at 8:30 p.m. “We wanted to have something for the older crowds this year.”

On Sunday the Rev. Everett Mitchell, pastor of the Tower of Power Church in Steubenville, will host the Gospel Explosion, which will feature several gospel groups and sermonizing from the stage, said Abdullah.

“Anyone that wants to come up and sing is invited,” said Abdullah, adding the day will consist of preaching, singing and praise from the stage.

Sunday also will include a panel of women ministers from the area, he added. Clarissa Speaker, a local evangelist, also will be hosting a booth “that is open for prayers and comfort,” he said.

Abdullah said this year’s festival is dedicated to stopping the violence.

“We want to ask people to let this be the start of putting the guns down and picking up the love,” he said. “We want to stop the violence. We want to bring goodness on the rise.”

For information, call (740) 219-9686.

(Miller can be contacted at