If you plan on celebrating Labor Day in Greater Raleigh, make sure to schedule a visit to the African American Cultural Festival (AACF) in downtown Raleigh. The festival, a spirited celebration of African American art and culture, will take place on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend.

In its third year of existence the AACF is sure to be bigger and better than ever before. Along Fayetteville St. visitors will have the opportunity to explore a colorful and diverse art market featuring wares from juried visual artists and craftsmen. Native North Carolina artist Ivy Hayes will be honored at the festival this weekend. Hayes suffers from severe arthritis and recently overcame a blood clot, after which he was forced to switch from painting with his right hand to his left, to continue his artistic career and pursue his passion to create. Read his story here. Hayes’s brightly colored work African Mask will serve as a symbol of sorts for the festival, and will be replicated on posters, prints and t-shirts to be sold during the course of the weekend.

Music will be a main feature of the fest and a wide variety of performance artists and groups will be bringing the noise downtown. Get down to funky jazz band fo/mo/deep or Senegalese DialiCissokho & Kairaba!. If rap is your thing, local group Leviticus will be taking to the stage on Sunday afternoon.

In the Family Village storytellers and dancers will entertain the masses and folklore will abound. Check out the Soul Street Dance Company on Sunday or participate in crafting a story quilt, as well as other interactive games and make-and-take crafts.

Whether you are celebrating your own heritage or simply seek to immerse yourself in rich culture and artistic expression, the African American Festival is a must for the holiday break. For more information, click here.

Written by Creative Genius, Katie.