About The Festival

Dancers in kente cloth with shekeres and stilt walker parade down Fayetteville Street

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. 


2019 Governing Board

Seven member of the 2017 AACF Governing Board on Main Stage

 

Mr. Grady Bussey, CFEA (Chair)

City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Director of 
John P. “Top” Greene Community Center
Courtney T. Johnson Community Center
Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens

Ms. Salima Thomas (Vice Chair)

Director of Member Engagement
NC Center for Nonprofits

Dr. Paul Norman (Treasurer)

Dean of Students/Director of First Year Experience
St. Augustine’s University

 

Ms. Laura Bethea (Secretary)

Career Development Manager/ Title IX Coordinator
Wake Technical Community College 

Ms. Sandra Dubose

President/ Motivational Speaker/ Entertainer, Dubose Entertainment 
Event Coordinator, Wake Technical Community College

Mr. Moses T. Alexander Greene

Founder/Artistic Director, Lī V Mahob Productions
Director, African American Cultural Center, NC State University

Mr. Allen Mason

Founder, City Hill Events
Independent Sales Representative, Midland National

 

Ms. Lebone C. Moses, MBA, CISA

CEO, Chisara Ventures Inc. 

Mr. Corey Branch (Ex-Officio)

Mayor Pro Tem, Raleigh City Council

 

Dr. James West (Ex-Officio)

Wake County Commissioner