Fifteenth Annual African-American Festival at Aquarium of the Pacific February 25 and 26

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Celebrating the richness and diversity of African-American and African cultures, the Aquarium’s fifteenth annual African-American Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guests can experience the sights and sounds of performances by local African-American groups, including Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circle musicians, and West African dancers. The festival will also feature cultural displays, handmade craftwork, and storytellers. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the festival’s offerings and discover the wonders of the Pacific Ocean at the Aquarium.

The Aquarium is presenting the Heritage Award to Eric Cyrs. For more than twenty-five years Cyrs has been actively engaged in Southern California as a community volunteer, organizer, activist, and artist. He has partnered with community organizations to promote the “Stop the Violence” campaign. He was integral in helping to create several afterschool programs in Compton and Long Beach. For more than ten years, Cyrs volunteered with the African Cultural Center of Long Beach, leading a Rites of Passage Program that provided cultural enrichment and educational resources for inner city youth. He also worked as a volunteer in the City of Pacoima, mentoring teen fathers and helping them to attain employment. Employing music and the art of storytelling as Baba the Storyteller, Cyrs works with children all over the world as a cultural ambassador, teaching and spreading the importance of cultural identity and self-awareness. His book, Road of Ash and Dust: Awakening of a Soul in Africa, chronicles the beginning of his transformation into an artist and cultural educator. He has been involved with the Aquarium’s African-American Festival since its inception, and through his firsthand experiences learning from teachers in Africa, he serves as a primary ambassador of cultural authenticity.

SCHEDULE: SATURDAY
10:00 a.m. African-American Dance — Fantasia
10:40 a.m. Storytelling in the West African Tradition — Baba the Storyteller
11:45 a.m. African-American Song and Dance – PISE (Positive Images of Self Expression)
12:20 p.m. West African Dance – Dembrebrah
12:30 p.m. DJ Seven Seize
12:55 p.m. The LA LA Mardi Gras Second Liners
1:40 p.m. Breakdancing and Popping — Homeland Crew
2:30 p.m. Interactive Drum Circle — Ambianz Muzic Experienz
3:15 p.m. Music Performance by Per Se
3:30 p.m. Children’s African Storytelling –David Lewis
4:00 p.m. Music Performance by Per Se

SUNDAY
10:00 a.m. Flute Performance – Abdul-Salaam Muhammad
10:30 a.m. Spoken Yoga – Deep Red
10:40 a.m. Storytelling in the West African Tradition – Baba the Storyteller
11:45 a.m. West African Dance – Dembrebrah
12:20 p.m. Heritage Award Ceremony honoring Eric Cyrs, also known as Baba the Storyteller
12:30 p.m. Children’s African Storytelling – David Lewis
12:55 p.m. The LA LA Mardi Gras Second Liners
1:40 p.m. Breakdancing and Popping – Homeland Crew
2:30 p.m. Interactive Drum Circle – Ambianz Muzic Experienz
3:10 p.m. Hip Hop Dance Performance – LQ’s
4:15 p.m. Jazz Music Ensemble – Music in the Moment

All programs subject to change and weather dependent.

Cost for the festival: Free to Aquarium members and included with general admission for the public
General admission: $29.95 adult (12+), $26.95 senior (62+), and $17.95 child (3-11)

For additional info call (562) 590-3100 or visit  http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/african_american_festival/.

AQUARIUM: The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse
cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, and the new Vanishing Animals and Horses and Dragons exhibitions. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. The Aquarium won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits.

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