By MEANNA SMITH
Stronger Together Now, a community outreach organization, hosted their second Soul Food Fest on Sept. 11 at Ed Hales Park in Downtown Redlands. This event was sponsored by Chase Bank.
Stronger Together Now, the organizers of the event, set up a booth with an inspiring promotional banner advocating against racism and other prejudices. At this booth, t-shirts and tote bags could be purchased and a donation jar was available for people who would like to see more events like this in the Redlands community. (Ethic News photo)
This festival gives many Black owned businesses and organizations a chance to showcase their products or services. This festival was also a great way for the Black community to be recognized in the city of Redlands. The Soul Food Fest gave the local high school club Black Student Union a chance to connect with each other while also connecting with the community and its citizens.
Showcasing a game booth table with cup stacking and cards, various Redlands Unified School District Black Student Union members work together at the Soul Food Festival on Sept. 11. Students from Redlands, Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley and Orangewood High Schools were present at the event. (Photo courtesy of Quinkitha O’Neal)
Some of the businesses that were present during the festival were House of Purvian Cookie, Brooklyn’s Bakery Bites, Delviccio’s BBQ SmokeHouse, Asdelina’s Agua Frescas, and most popularly known, The WingMan. Citrus Valley, Redlands, Redlands East Valley and Orangewood High Schools all had BSU clubs present at the festival.
The House of Peruvian Cookie at the Soul Food Festival was a popular choice among the many food booths, selling many desserts and cookies. The House of Peruvian Cookie is mainly located in Santa Clarita and is a cookie selling business based on Peruvian desserts. (Kevin Kambey/Ethic News photo)
Andrew Simmons, senior from Orangewood High School’s BSU, said, “ I really enjoyed seeing other schools’ Black Student Unions and helping all the different booths set up.”
Jazz Daughtrey, a junior at Citrus Valley High School, attended the festival with the Citrus Valley’s BSU and said she loved “the soul food fest and seeing the Black culture.”
“The food was amazing and I love how welcoming the other Redlands BSU clubs were,” said Daughtrey.
Another member of Citrus Valley’s BSU, sophomore Kalaya Felton, stated, “The shirts that people were selling were so beautiful and everything was so well put together. The soul food festival was just overall awesome.”
Various activities were available to participate in during the festival. These activities included spades and dominos contests, music, and food competitions. The food competition consists of three different categories: best main dish, best side dish, and best dessert.
The award for best main dish was given to The WingMan with his lemon pepper wings, the winner for best side dish was Papa’s BBQ for their mac n cheese, and lastly the winner for best dessert was Still Standn Barbq with their famous banana pudding.
The winners of the competition were awarded a certificate of appreciation as well as an additional prize. Spades and dominos winners were awarded a customized domino or card set.
While the judges were tasting food from all the different food competition competitors, Kologbo Daughtrey gave a live performance on his soprano saxophone. He played a variety of songs including “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
The Soul Food Festival had a mission of bringing the Black community and all people in Redlands together to bond and unite as one.
Redlands citizen Kaylee Doll, junior at Citrus Valley, stated, “I think the Soul Food Festival was really a pure, safe, and fun environment and it was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon.”