WATERLOO – Felicia Smith Nalls expects a “reunion-ish feeling” among festivalgoers at the 11th North End Arts and Music Festival on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s like, ‘I’m excited to see the family and gather everyone together again.’ I think everyone is excited at being able to share again,” the festival chair said. “People can attend for free, so just come and enjoy the art and music, and with the parade feeding into the festival, it’s going to be an exciting weekend.”
The celebration begins Friday at a gospel music kickoff at 7 p.m. at the East High School Auditorium. Gospel artist Kenesha Davis will be featured, and Gabe Evans is the opening act. Davis has been performing in the world premiere musical “The Suffragist” at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Center in Cedar Falls.
More than 13 drill teams from across the country will participate in the Summer Soul Parade beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade also will feature entries from local businesses and organizations.
“The level of talent of these African-American teams, the precision, the polish and costuming is amazing. It’s important not just for the Black community but the community as a whole to see this level of excellence,” Smith Nalls said.
The parade will begin on the corner of East Fourth and Donald streets, proceed down East Fourth Street and turn left on Newell Street, right on Mobile Street, left on Oneida Street and ending at Ferguson Fields Park, where the festival takes place.