After a Year's Absence, Kwanzaafest Is Back With an Emphasis on Popular Health Fairs

Kwanzaafest planners are declaring enthusiastically this year: "We are back!!!" That greeting atop the festival's website heralds the celebration's return for its 27th run.The two-day festival will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Automobile Building, 1010 1st Ave. at Fair Park.This year's celebration is sweet for planners and supporters who limped through several lean years times while Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price — Kwanzaafest's founder and leader — faced federal corruption charges. (In April, jurors found Price not guilty on several charges and failed to reach a verdict on others.)Last year, Kwanzaafest wasn't held for the first time since its 1990 founding because sponsors and support evaporated during Price's lengthy trial. This year, it's full speed ahead with a packed lineup of activities. Planners say they expect the average attendance of about 40,000 to swell by some 10,000 people.Kwanzaafest is a holiday season expo that highlights the African cultural principles of cooperative economics and community unity. Locals can shop for end-of-the year holiday gifts and take part in a grab bag of family activities, including stage entertainment, a fancy play area for kids, a massive health fair and food and community service vendors."There has been a hue and cry for us to return, especially for the health screenings because people are now more aware of how valuable free health services are," said Vincent Hall, a Kwanzaafest lead coordinator and founding committee member."We've overcome serious obstacles," Hall said. "There was a pall over everything as John went through his trial. But the community prayed him through, and he wants to make sure he comes out and gives back."Kwanzaafest is turning the spotlight on its already popular health fair, Hall said, noting the importance of the free screenings and referrals in this embattled health insurance era. He stressed that the festival is held in the underserved community of South Dallas/Fair Park, where many residents have no health coverage. Dallas County Health and Human Services and other health support services provide the testing.  Continue reading...

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