Thousands attend African American parade and festivities

Written by Anir Senyah, TNCP

An estimated 20,000 spectators lined the parade route that began at Capitol Avenue and ended at Ferris Park. Although the parade route was shortened, it didn’t keep people, fraternities, sororities, non-profit groups, businesses and politicians from embellishing a flatbed truck, car or pickup with decorations for the occasion.

There were 85 entries including veterans groups, classic cars, horse riders and sports groups.  All  kept the crowd smiling throughout the morning during the parade.

Politicians seeking office passed out everything from candy to stickers. Some politicians walked down the parade route simply waving and smiling.  Former Mayor David Hollister sported traditional African garb as he greeted the spectators on the side of the street.

The Capital City African American Cultural Association sponsors the African American parade which works diligently each year to make sure they bring a different flavor to the table with each passing year.   The association is comprised of dedicated volunteers who donate the majority of the year to staging the annual event.

This year’s Grand Marshal was Barbara Roberts Mason, who is a global leader in education and a still a major player in this area’s Katrina efforts.

Michael McFadden, radio host on Gospel radio station WWSJ Joy 1580 and Rina Risper, President and Publisher of The New Citizens Press were the announcers for the parade.

Following the parade, the fun festivities continued at Ferris Park.  Cass Tech Marching Band from Detroit, along with five other bands, brought great sounds and a battle of the bands to the park. The festival atmosphere was like a family reunion for many who had not seen some of the other festival attendees in years.

The mouth watering aroma of barbecue wafted through out the park tempting the least hungry into savoring the barbecue chicken or ribs.

For others there were information tables available.  There were also clothing, jewelery and African craft vendors with a wide array of goods.

Tiffany Norwood, from Holt remarked, “It was nice and it was a great venue for young families.  Kids were involved in a lot of different activities.  I especially enjoyed the entertainment stage.”

Her daughter De Aundria Dismuke, who is going to the 10th grade performed with the hustle dance group.

The entertainment stage had a variety of performers from poets to Gospel and the seating area was always full of people looking forward to the next act.

“I would like to thank all the people who came out to support the parade and festival to make this a great event,” said Dr. Michael C. Murphy, Chairperson of the Capital City African American Cultural Association.  “I especially want to acknowledge our sponsors, volunteers, parade participants, and vendors who collectively made the day.  And the highlight for me was to see the smiles and
excitement on the faces of our children and youth as they watched the parade go by.  Everybody loves a great parade!”

For those who missed the parade and festival, a  2006 parade DVD is available for purchase for $20.00.    Contact CCAACA, P.O. Box 13233, Lansing, Michigan 48901.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to CCAACA.

Mark your calendar for next year’s parade and festival – Saturday, August 4, 2007, you will not regret it.