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 nine 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 2018 Labor Day event brought more than 38,000 people downtown and featured more than seventy juried artists and merchandise vendors, a vibrant African Marketplace, the 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 an engaging, lively, and educational festival to the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2018 Governing Board of Directors

David and the Board.jpg


Mr. Grady Bussey (Board Chair)

Center Director, Top Greene

City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation


Ms. Salima Thomas (Board Vice Chair)

Director of Member Engagement

NC Center for Nonprofits

Mr. Charles Stephenson, Jr. (Secretary)



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

Mr. Corey Branch (Ex-Officio)

Councilor, Raleigh City Council


Dr. James West (Ex-Officio)

Chair, Wake County Commissioner