Black Heritage Festival has whole new look this year

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Visitors to the 26th annual Black Heritage Festival will see an entirely new look, Judi Washington, executive director, said.

The festival will be held Friday

through Sunday. Friday’s opening event, a performance by magician

Dewayne Hill, will be presented

at the Benjamin Mount Memorial Theater at the Central School Arts

and Humanities Center. Saturday’s and Sunday’s location

will be at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

“In the past we only used part of the Civic Center, zoned into a children’s area and another for general audiences,” she said.

“This year we will use the entire Civic Center except Rosa Hart Theater.”

Activities “will include Vendor’s Expo, Africana Culture Performances Extravaganza, Zydeco Aerobics, a Hall of Fame Ceremony,

educational workshops, magic shows and much more,” she said.

Entertainment venues will be divided

into themed areas for gospel, zydeco and R&B, jazz and others. The

mezzanine of the center

will be the Premier Stage for presentations, such as a Hall of

Fame presentation, and other special programs.

“Food courts will be provided on every level so patrons can obtain food and drinks from the many vendors and have a place

to sit and eat while enjoying the entertainment, instead of walking around with their food,” Washington said.

An education component has been added with Empowerment Seminars, one on parenting and another for teens. A Diaper Derby/Healthy

Baby Contest will precede the parenting seminar.

Empowerment Seminar speakers will be Tameka Prude Selders on parenting and Calvin Mackie for teens.

Selders is a native of Lake Charles and

alumna of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. She

received her master’s

in teaching from Dallas Baptist University and has more than 12

years of teaching experience.

Mackie is a former engineering professor, an internationally renowned speaker and a successful entrepreneur. He is a partner

in Golden Leaf Energy, which produces and distributes biodiesel from waste streams.

Spotlight performers will be Frankie Beverly and MaZe with Ft cupid, hosted by Derrick Kenner, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Doors

open an hour earlier.

Beverly formed MaZe in San Francisco in 1970 and has recorded a number of successful albums. The group performs a smooth,

passionate R&B style.

Magician Hill will give impromptu

performances during Saturday’s events, Washington said. He is a native

of West Virginia

and began performing tricks in Charleston, his hometown, when he

was a child. He paid for his college education at West Virginia

State College with his magic and comedy routines.