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There is more to Africa than the tragedy and strife portrayed in the news. Isabella Effon is looking to show Fayetteville the brighter side of her native continent. On July 11, the community is invited to attend the Inaugural African World Peace Festival in downtown Fayetteville. Effon invites to the community to come learn about the many differences (and similarities) in the African cultures. 

“We want to educate our children, and the Fayetteville community, and let them know it is a continent with a lot of resources. Not all of it is war-torn like the images on TV,” said Effon. 

The day kicks off at 8 a.m. with the African World Peace 5K. Same day registration starts at 6 a.m. Runners can also register online. The race starts at 8 a.m. on Bow Street. 

“We will provide snacks after the run,” said Effon. “This is the Africa World Peace Festival. We bring all the African nations together, which makes it unique. It is a nonprofit and we have joined other nonprofits that do the same thing to bring awareness and unite community.

At 2 p.m., don’t miss the parade of nations on Person Street as the entertainment and educational portion of the festival gets underway.

Other events include storytelling, music, dancing and more.

 “We have a lot of tales and a few storytellers who will tell exclusively African folktales,” said Effon. “We will have breaks and activities for kids doing things that include African-themes and village where children can go and learn about different dialects and countries in Africa and things like that.”

Effon noted that African influences are seen worldwide in food, clothing, music and more. That is one of the things that makes this a great fit for Fayetteville’s international community. Taste of West Africa on Person Street will offer a special menu for the festival. 

“There are many, many Africans in Turkey and Italy and all over the world so the other restaurants downtown definitely have a place in this celebration,” she explained.

 If the festival grows as planned, there will be additional food vendors as the event size increases. 

There are too many people in Fayetteville who miss out on all of the goodness going on downtown and Effon sees this as the perfect opportunity to change that. 

“This is my passion. I like my culture. I love diversity and I love to bring awareness into the community.” 

Performances are an added flare to the festival with featured artists from Africa including the Ivory Coast and Senegal and local performers including the Fatback Band and more. A ceremony honoring American soldiers of African descent is also scheduled. The music portion of the event runs from 2-6 p.m.

As a nonprofit, the African World Peace Festival is partnering with Loving Hands International, a public nonprofit, humanitarian charity organization serving underprivileged communities in the U.S. and Africa, promoting and implementing development programs in quality healthcare, education advancement, agricultural productivity and socio-economic advancement to improve overall quality of life of the poor and needy. Proceeds from the African World Peace Festival benefit Africa’s humanitarian needs and local community needs, as well. Donations of nonperishable food items will be accepted at the festival.

Find out more by calling 728-2186 or 779-2375.

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