About The Festival

The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County is an annual celebration of African American culture as expressed through art, music, food and community. Over the past seven Labor Day weekends, the two day festival has connected diverse people and families from across our region with local, national, and international artists, performers, food vendors, area business owners, and our local media outlets. The festival has become Raleigh's premiere destination for teaching, sharing, and celebrating the distinctive folk and cultural traditions of African Americans here in North Carolina and from around the world.

 

Festival History

The festival program plan was developed under the guidance of the African American Cultural Festival Governing Board, whose members were appointed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners and Raleigh City Council in August 2008. Both elected bodies charged the Governing Board with creating a major festival that would become an outstanding tourist destination event.   Artsplosure, the organization responsible for many Triangle arts events including the annual Spring Arts Festival, and First Night Raleigh on New Year’s Eve was contracted to provide planning, organizational, and financial expertise, among other essential services in 2009. The inaugural festival was held on September 4th and 5th, 2010 and exceeded expectations, with more than 15,000 in attendance.

During 2010 the AACF secured its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.  In 2013, the fiscal agent partnership with Artsplosure was discontinued, and the Governing Board of Directors assumed sole responsibility of planning, managing, and operating the festival.  The 2016 Labor Day event brought more than 38,000 people downtown and featured over fifty juried artists and vendors, a Family Village with crafts and entertainment geared toward children and families, as well as local and national musical acts on the Main Stage on City Plaza. The festival continues to grow, and each year, the Governing Board and festival staff works toward the goal of bringing a vibrant, lively, and educational festival to the heart of downtown Raleigh. 


2017 Governing Board of Directors

David and the Board.jpg

Mr. David K. Baker (Board Chair)

Attorney

David K. Baker Law Firm

 

Mr. Grady Bussey (Vice-Chair)

Center Director, Top Greene

City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation

 

Mr. Charles Stephenson, Jr. (Secretary)

Author/Historian

 

Dr. Paul Norman (Treasurer)

Dean of First Year Experience

St. Augustine’s University

 

Ms. Laura Bethea

Title IX Investigator

Wake Technical Community College

 

Ms. Shamber Gentry

Adjunct Accounting Instructor

Wake Technical Community College

 

Mr. Moses T. Alexander Greene

Director, African American Cultural Center

North Carolina State University

 

Mr. Allen Mason, Founder, City Hill Events

Independent Sales Representative

Midland National

 

Ms. Lebone C. Moses, MBA, CISA

Director, Enterprise Cyber Security

Fidelity Investments

 

Ms. Salima Thomas

Director of Member Engagement

NC Center for Nonprofits

 

Mr. Corey Branch (Ex-Officio)

Councilor, Raleigh City Council

 

Dr. James West (Ex-Officio)

Chair, Wake County Commissioner