CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston's 33rd Annual MOJA Arts Festival is officially here.
It's an 11-day celebration highlighting the African-America and Caribbean cultures and their contributions to the world. There are wide range of events going on. Thursday evening it kicked off with and opening parade and reception.
Charleston streets echoed with African drummers as people gathered for the parade in downtown Charleston. Dancers dressed in Caribbean and African clothing filled the streets. They were also joined by a high school band, Stall High's JROTC and other organizations.
Margaret Eargle says this year is her first time participating in MOJA Art Festival Events.
"The performance of the drums and the band... is absolutely wonderful," Eargle said. "We've been here for years and this sounded so new to us and refreshing we just knew we had to come see what the MOJA Arts was all about."
And for others like Lloyd Dawson it's a tradition to come out and celebrate.
"I love a lot of the art I love a lot of the music, I love a lot of the dances," Dawson said. "You see a lot of the dress wear and just a lot of distinguished people here in the Charleston community."
Coordinator of the MOJA Arts Festival, Romaine Heyward says you can find a range of performances and events over the next 11 days. The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs partners with a committee of community members to plan the events.
"I'm hoping they will go away with the wow factor," Heyward said. "I hope that they learn something that they didn't already know before, I know race relations is a big hot button topic right now so this is a good time to learn about the African-American community and the Caribbean community."
Various sections of the arts are highlighted including dance, music, visual arts, poetry, and theater.
"We are going to get schedules and find out what we can do and go and see, and we're sure it's going to be enlightening for us," Eargle said.
Dawson says the festival always falls on the weekend after his birthday so he always has two events to look forward to this time of year.
"I'd just like to say to anybody and everybody, come out to this event," Dawson said. "Don't miss it because you'll be missing a treat in the Charleston area."
For a full list of events visit: http://www.mojafestival.com