Delta Sigma Theta sorority sponsored the 27th Annual Black Culture Festival on Saturday afternoon at the Pomona Civic Center. Patrons of all ages listened to storyteller Diane Ferlatte as she entertained children with stories about African American history. The festival included games, food, art, music and live entertainment for the community to enjoy.
Gabby De La Cruz
Cal Poly Pomona and the University of La Verne’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter ended February with a bang as it held the 27th Annual Black Culture Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pomona Civic Center Plaza. With the help of the Pomona Public Library, the event celebrated African American culture.
Patricia Foster, the sorority chapter president, said the event was held to honor Black History Month. The sorority operates on the Five Point Thrust, meaning everything the organization does is categorized in five different sections. The five points include educational development, economic development, mental and physical health, political awareness and international awareness and involvement.
“This event captures four of the five Thrusts,” Foster said. “Here at the festival we have voter registration, which fulfills political awareness. The children’s programs and heritage covers educational development. The food vendors fall under economic development, and the health products sold fulfill physical and mental health.”
The festival had a stage where different schools, churches and individuals performed. The performances included dancing, step teams, youth choir, story telling, jazz, praise ministry and spoken word.
Booths were set up throughout the plaza, featuring various community service organizations. The sorority also set up booths where vendors sold food, clothes, accessories, pictures, paintings and health products. The vendors were required to pay a small fee in order to participate.
Veronica Clinkscales, the chairwoman for the event, had been planning the festival since last November. Because the event has been held for 27 years, much of the event’s setup was already organized, which made planning much easier.
“Applications to participate are due in January, but many people just pay on site,” Clinkscales said. “Overall everything ran very smooth, we’ve had a good turnout and I’m very pleased.”
Stephen Blacksnear, a Fontana resident formerly from Pomona, returned to the festival for his third year. He brought his family because he felt it was a great event for children to learn about culture.
“I’m having a great time,” Blacksnear said. “This is a great place for the children to enjoy themselves.”
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which was founded in 1913, has grown to approximately 250,000 college-educated women and approximately 900 chapters worldwide.
The Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter was chartered in 1979 and has served 27 years of community service.
Ryaieisha Garlington, a 12 year old from Fontana, was a first year attendee at the festival. Though she went to the event because her mother was a vendor, she was glad to have attended.
“My mom made me come, but I really liked everything,” Garlington said. “ The paintings and pictures were very interesting to me.”
Senior Elisha Mckinney, a University student and member of the sorority’s chapter said she previously attended the festival before she became a member.
She used to attend the festival to hear the guest speakers and to see the entertainment, but she sees it differently now that she is working behind the scenes.
“It is different being on the other side because it’s a lot more work making sure everything runs well,” Mckinney said.
“I think we had a really good turnout this year, it was more centered on the children and more family oriented,” she added.
Gabby De La Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org