Odunde Festival carries on, brimming with African pride as its founder would have wanted

June 10, 2018

By Staff

Despite dreary and sometimes drippy skies, Philadelphia celebrated the 43rd annual Odunde Festival Sunday the way in which its late founder would have wanted: with unbridled enthusiasm for African culture. TOM GRALISH Jennifer Mills traveled from Brooklyn, NY, to enjoy Odunde and some Jamaican food.

Lois Fernandez died last August at age 81. The street party she created, the nation’s largest and longest-running African American festival spanning 15 blocks in the Graduate Hospital area, is now a tradition carried forward by her daughter, Bumi Fernandez-West, who became its chief organizer 22 years ago. Drawing visitors from the region and beyond, its annual economic impact to the city is $28 million, according to EConsult Solutions Inc. CAMERON B. POLLACK Governor Tom Wolf (right) speaks with Lois Fernandez, the founder of the Odunde festival, last year.

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