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Annual African American Heritage Festival returns to Altoona

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ)– The annual African American Heritage Festival returned to Heritage Plaza in downtown Altoona for the second straight year this weekend.

Vendors and families filled the streets for the return of the festival. Chairperson of the event Paige Lightner said they take pride in bringing the festival back after a short hiatus.

“They did it for 20-plus years at Penn State Altoona,” Lightner said. “My dad and reverend Paul Johnson, they used to organize it so we decided to bring it back two years ago.”

This year’s event featured a kid’s corner with games, as well as educational presentations meant to illustrate black history. Lightner said what makes the festival different from others is that behind all of the vendors, games and food is a message of unity.

“Honestly we’ve had mixed feedback, but once people start to see and watch the things we do in the community it’s definitely been a great turnaround,” Lightner said. “A lot of people are supporting us, we definitely have a good bit of community efforts and we are really, really excited about that.”

Starting off the music on Saturday was the State College band “Urban Fusion.” Member Gary Abdullah said that events like this are important for all central PA communities, not just the ones hosting them.

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“We’ve been connecting with people here in Altoona,” Abdullah said. “We have the same issues and the same causes and we need to work together and we need to be together. That is what this community is.”

https://www.wtaj.com/news/local-news/annual-african-american-heritage-festival-returns-to-altoona/ Annual African American Heritage Festival returns to Altoona

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