MUSIC AND SOUL FOOD FESTIVAL TO HIGHLIGHT HERITAGE

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By Stefanie Jackson-  The 1st Annual Eastern Shore Music and Soul Food Festival will make its debut at Exmore Town Park next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6, sponsored by Eastern Shore Training and Consulting, Inc. (ESTACI) in collaboration with the town of Exmore.

About 300 to 400 people are expected to attend the event featuring live music, cuisine prepared by a celebrity chef, and more.

ESTACI Executive Director Gerald Boyd said, “This festival concept enhances perceived food and heritage value and gives everyone an entirely authentic culinary experience. We want each person to take home a rare, indelible experience. This is the first time Northampton County has been host to a major multi-day contemporary culinary art and music festival in this unique historic location.”

The festivities will begin Friday night at 6 p.m. at the park with a free dance party hosted by local Sherail Kellam, a communications major and aspiring radio and TV personality, with music by DJ Black Ice, aka Alvin Wimber, also originally from the Shore.

Saturday will be packed full of activity, from sunrise until midnight. Starting at 7 a.m. there will be a 5K Run/Walk starting on 6th Street in Exmore and going to Willis Wharf and back.

The main event Saturday will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Exmore Town Park pavilion with soul food vendors, local oysters and clams, and live music by the Hampton Roads band, Evolution Soul, and local band Groove Junction. There will also be arts and crafts and other fun and educational activities for all ages.

A VIP tent will feature celebrity chef Jacoby Ponder – the “Cutthroat Kitchen” winner who also appeared on other TV series including the Hampton Roads Show – presenting two specialty dishes.

The event will wrap up at the Northampton High School gym with a late-night basketball game from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.

“This is more than just a music and food festival; rather, it is an opportunity to appreciate the unique gifts of the Eastern Shore and to pay proper homage to African-American contributions as we celebrate our heritage of culinary and musical excellence,” Boyd said.

Tickets are being sold for general admission, VIP tent admission, oyster and clam dinners, and the 5K Walk/Run.

Proceeds will benefit ESTACI’s many efforts to reduce the impacts of poverty on the Eastern Shore, including two $2,500 college scholarships awarded annually to area high school seniors, the Empowering Girls group that encourages young women to pursue STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, and math), and the Fathering Circle, which helps noncustodial fathers of young children.

For more information, contact Gerald Boyd at 757-656-3460. For tickets, visit www.estaci.org