One of the largest and most longstanding African-American street festivals in the nation
June 12, 2016
Note: The information below is from 2015. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s event as it becomes available.
The annual Odunde Street Festival brings a genuine taste of Africa to South Street and one of Philadelphia’s oldest, historically African-American neighborhoods.
This year, the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary with a number of pre-festival events (from June 6 through 13) across Philadelphia and the enormous 12-block Odunde Festival on Sunday, June 14.
The main event is the Odunde Festival on Sunday, June 14, but before the festival, a number of spots throughout the city will celebrate Odunde’s 40th anniversary with everything from an after-hours discussion on love at the African American Museum to a networking event at Ms. Tootsie’s.
The street festival spans 12 city blocks in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Streets will be blocked off to make way for the tremendous crowds and hundreds of vendors.
Stroll the streets from 23rd and Lombard streets to Grays Ferry Avenue and Christian Street, and from 20th and South streets to 24th and South streets. Kicking off at 10 a.m. and running through 8 p.m., the festival is slated to see thousands and thousands pass through the neighborhood.
The festival begins with a procession to the Schuylkill River, where offerings of fruits and flowers are made to Oshun, the Goddess of the River. The procession then returns to 23rd and South streets for the official start of the street festival.
Food and Drink
All sorts of African, Caribbean and Soul food will be readily available at the festival. Look forward to a variety of fried fish dishes, curry goat, fried chicken and much more.
The food is a huge attraction at Odunde, with a variety of vendors rarely seen at other regional festivals, so be sure to check out the awesome cuisine. Also, with the crowds expected, be prepared to wait in line for the best dishes.
Entertainment and Shopping
More than 100 vendors will sell everything from crafts, clothing, jewelry and more at the neighborhood festival. Beyond shopping from local vendors, the African Marketplace at the Odunde Festival promises shoppers items from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
On the live entertainment side of things, two stages — located at 23rd and South streets and Grays Ferry Avenue and Fitzwater Street — will host a slew of performances like the African Heritage Dancers, Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble and more. The Grays Ferry stage will even welcome a time for open-mic performances. Click the button below for the full live entertainment schedule.
#VISITPHILLY And Giveaways
To help celebrate 40 years of the Odunde Festival, Visit Philly will be on-site with a free giveaway on Sunday afternoon. Festivalgoers should stop by the Visit Philly booth, show the team a follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and score a free screen-printed canvas tote bag (while supplies last). The #visitphilly giveaway booth will be located in the 2100 block of South Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
And be sure to Tweet about and Instagram the scene, eats and performances you enjoy and tag your photos with #visitphilly. If you snap a shot and tag the photo with #visitphilly, your photo might just be featured on visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com!
Getting There And Staying Over
The streets around 23rd and South streets and Grays Ferry Avenue will be closed to traffic; attendees are encouraged to take public transportation.
Take SEPTA’s Broad Street Line to the Lombard South stop and walk nine blocks up South Street to the festival. For those looking to take a SEPTA bus, take the 7 bus up South Street or take the 40 bus to 23rd and Lombard Streets. Festivalgoers can also rent a bike using Indego, the city’s new bike share program; there’s a bike docking station in the midst of the festival at 23rd and South streets.
Or, you could just make a weekend out of the festival and stay overnight in Philadelphia. Click the button below to check out deals on hotel stays and the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.
Odunde is a Yoruba word that means “Happy New Year.” Every year, Odunde draws vendors from not only America but from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Guinea.
Odunde is the creation of its South Philadelphia founder, Lois Fernandez, who launched the festival after visiting similar celebrations in Africa. The concept originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa, and celebrates the coming of another year for African-Americans and Africanized people around the world.
ODUNDE, Inc. is an educational and cultural organization that sponsors year-round programs featuring the African Diaspora as well as the annual Odunde Festival. Traditionally, the festival draws 32 percent of its visitors from outside the Philadelphia region.
For more information on the Odunde Festival, click the button below.
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