PHOTOS: Umoja Fest is the Soul of Seafair and a Celebration of Seattle’s Black Community

by Susan Fried

Thousands of people attended the annual Umoja Fest at Judkins Park Aug. 2–4. This year’s event was better than ever featuring the annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade, a youth football scrimmage, the Heal the Hood Basketball Tournament, more than 100 vendors, live music, delicious food, culture, and fashion.

Organizers call it the Soul of Seafair, honors and celebrates the history of Seattle’s Black Community. The Umoja Fest continues a tradition spanning 60 years of community celebrations held to celebrate Seattle’s ethnic diversity. An annual African American community festival was originally part of the International Festival held in the 1940s but over the years the celebration was known as East Madison Mardi Gras and the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival. Umoja Fest continues this tradition.

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Thousand of people showed up for the annual Umoja Fest Aug. 2–4 at Judkins Park. This year’s event featured more than 100 vendors, the Africatown Heritage Parade, music, food and fashion. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Seattle/King County NAACP Vice President Carolyn Riley Payne and former President Lacy Steele rode on the lead float in the annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Yi Sport instructors demonstrate TaeKwonDo Aug. 3 along the route of the Umoja Fest’s annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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People watch from their homes as the annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade moves down 23rd Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 3, during the 2019 Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Dr. Maxine Mimms, a revered elder in the community and the founder of the Tacoma Campus of the Evergreen State College, rides in the AfricanTown Heritage Parade Aug. 3 during Seattle’s annual Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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The duo Surface plays on Sunday, Aug. 4, during Umoja Fest at Judkins Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Toni Bailey leads a zumba class on Sunday, Aug. 4, during the annual Umoja Fest at Judkins Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A model shows off an outfit by Nansare Consolata, during a fashion show of her African Print Takeover designs on Saturday, Aug. 3, during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A little girl gets a ride on a Buffalo Soldiers horse during the annual Umoja Fest at Judkins Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Naomi takes advantage of an opportunity by selling lemonade to parade watchers along the route of the Umoja Fest’s annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade on Aug. 3. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Singer Dechelle Monet performs on the SOUL IN THE PARK stage on Saturday, Aug. 3, during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Buffalo Soldier Geordan Newbill takes a baby for a short horseback ride during the Umoja Festival Aug. 3 at Judkins Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Members of Israel United in Christ participate in the annual Umoja Fest AfricanTown Heritage Parade Aug. 3. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A model shows off an outfit by Nansare Consolata, during a fashion show of her African Print Takeover designs on Saturday, Aug. 3, during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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For the second year the Umoja Fest also featured a little league Football scrimmage on. The event on Aug. 3 is a warmup for the football season which starts in a few weeks. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A group of children danced the Cupid Shuffle in between acts Sunday, Aug. 4, at Umoja Festival. Thousands of people visited the Festival over the 3 days the event was held. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Artist Devona Roy works on piece at her booth at the Umoja Fest on Sunday, Aug. 4. More than 100 vendors from artist to community organizations filled Judkins Park during the three-day Festival. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A child cools off in the water feature at the south end of Judkins Park. Umoja Fest events spanned the entire Park from the basketball court on the southend to the fields next to Washington Middle School. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Featured Image: The kids from this year’s Teen Summer Musical, “Uncle Willie’s Chocolate Factory,” perform during the Umoja Fest’s AfricanTown Heritage Parade on Saturday, Aug. 3. (Photo: Susan Fried)

One thought on “PHOTOS: Umoja Fest is the Soul of Seafair and a Celebration of Seattle’s Black Community”

  1. I loved every moment and all of the various sights, sounds, feels, and tastes of the African American Community in the Seattle area that was represented at Umojafest this past weekend! Neither early morning rain on Friday nor competition from hydroplanes and Blue Angels kept away those who long to be in community! Thanks to Wyking Garrett and the Team who worked for 9 months preparing, as well as to Susan Fried for all of her great photos!

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