Brown Sugar Festival runs until May 6

Special to The Clewiston News/kingJphotos
Miss Brown Sugar Tajanay Gray; Junior Miss Kimberly Rashford; Little Miss Cari Anthony; and Tiny Miss Shaperie Madrid. Brown Sugar Pageant contestants (left to right back row) Miss Brown Sugar contestants Iyanna Robinson and Sicoya Chavers; Junior Brown Sugar contestant Shar’Nae Footman; Little Miss Brown Sugar contestants Nickeshia Foster and Terria Lumpkin; Tiny Miss Brown Sugar contestant Re’yhana Holmes.

The 39th Annual Brown Sugar Festival runs through May 7.

photo by kingJphotos
Miss Brown Sugar
Tajanay Gray

The Brown Sugar Festival is a multi-day community arts activity held in the Harlem Community of Clewiston. The schedule includes: Miss Brown Sugar Pageant; Gospel Fest; Teen Dance; Alumni Homecoming Banquet; Night of the Stars Talent Show; and the Brown Sugar Festival.

Last weekend, pageants were held to crown festival royalty: Miss Brown Sugar Tajanay Gray, Junior Miss Brown Sugar Kimberly Rashford, Little Miss Brown Sugar Cari Anthony and Tiny Miss Brown Sugar Shaperie Madrid.

The Brown Sugar Festival was organized as a community project to raise funds to assist in sending Black students to college. They are dedicated to educating and bringing about more public awareness of their heritages from Africa and the West Indies.

The Brown Sugar Festival educates the general public about Black arts at the Festival through the exhibits, media, and actual participation. Participation can involve dance, visual arts, music, theater, education, folk arts, media and literary, as well as creative expression.

The Festival is used to assist the community in realizing that the arts can be and should be more than just a leisure past-time.

photo by kingJphotos
Junior Miss Brown Sugar Kimberly Rashford

While providing education and cultural uplifting the Brown Sugar Festival also provides an economic outlet for many citizens.

The Harlem Alumni Association is the founder and sponsor of the famed Brown Sugar Festival, which is it’s largest fundraiser. The Brown Sugar Festival which is held on the first Saturday in May, has provided over $30,000 in scholarship funds to needy students.

On Friday, May 5, the Night of the Stars Talent show will be held at Clewiston Middle School gymnasium, 601 W. Pasadena Ave., at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for children; $7 for adults.

The Harlem Academy Alumni Homecoming Banquet will be held on Friday, May 5, at Harlem Civic Center.

On Saturday, May 6, festivities start at 10 a.m. with the Brown Sugar parade. The parade route starts on Florida Avenue and runs to Harlem Academy Avenue. The festival will include entertainment, arts and crafts and food vendors.

photo by kingJphotos
Little Miss Brown Sugar
Cari Anthony

The Brown Sugar Car Show will be held Saturday, May 6, at 1000 Carolina Avenue. Gates open at noon. There is a $100 entry fee. Best overall vehicle will receive a $400 cash prize; second place will receive a trophy and $250 cash; third place, a trophy and $150.

On Saturday, May 6, a teen dance will be held at the Harlem Civic Center at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.

The festival continues on Sunday with vendors and entertainment. For more information online, go to

photo by kingJphotos
Tiny Miss Brown Sugar
Shaperie Madrid

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