CLEWISTON — The 40th Annual Brown Sugar Festival, set for April 28-May 5, is a multi-day community arts activity held in the Harlem community of Clewiston. The schedule includes a Gospel Fest; Teen Dance; Alumni Homecoming Banquet; Night of the Stars Talent Show; and the Brown Sugar Festival.
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 pastime.
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 its largest fundraiser.
The Gospel Fest will be held Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Harlem Pavilion.
On Monday, April 30, at 5 p.m. visitors can taste and savor delicious creations from local chefs and restaurants at the Sweet Taste of Harlem event in the AA Thomas Ball Park Pavilion.
On Wednesday, May 2, at 5 p.m., the Pioneer Dinner at the Harlem Civic Center, on Seventh Street, will honor senior citizens for the contributions they have made to the Harlem community during their lifetime.
On Thursday, May 3, the Harlem Civic Center will host Loteria (also known as “Mexican bingo”).
On Friday, May 4, the Alumni Homecoming Banquet will be held at 7 p.m. at the Harlem Civic Center. Contact Patricia Baron for more information at 863-599-0009.
On May 4, the Night of Stars Talent Show will be held at Clewiston Middle School, 601 W. Pasadena Ave, Clewiston, at 6 p.m. The Night of Stars Talent Show showcases the best Harlem has to offer from talented residents! Prizes are given for first, second, third and Audience Choice. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for children.
Saturday, May 5, brings the Brown Sugar Parade and Festival, starting at 10 a.m. The Brown Sugar Parade & Festival celebrates Harlem’s rich tradition and community spirit. The parade begins at the Harlem Civic Center and ends at People Who Care Park.
Also on May 5, at 7 p.m., the Brown Sugar Teen Dance will be the place for teenagers to be! Hang out with friends and dance the night away at the Harlem Civic Center. Dances are supervised by Harlem Alumni Committee staff and volunteers. Admission is $10.
Harlem is a census-designated place in Hendry County, south of Clewiston’s Georgia Avenue. The population was 2,658 at the 2010 Census. For more information online, go to www.brownsugarfestival.com.