Arlington's Annual Black History Month Event to Highlight Arling

Published on February 12, 2018

  • Colgate, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures to provide free dental screenings for kids age 12 and younger from 2-6 p.m.

  • First-ever Cook-Off offers residents the opportunity to showcase their home cooked dishes

  • Wide variety of live entertainment

Arlington County will celebrate its rich African-American heritage at the 2018 Feel the Heritage Festival on Sat., Feb. 24, 1-6 p.m. at Charles Drew Community Center. The festival welcomes hundreds of local residents each year to learn about the historically African-American neighborhoods while enjoying live entertainment, delicious food and dozens of vendors.

Held annually for the past 26 years, the Feel the Heritage Festival is an Arlington County-sponsored, community-supported program. The event is free and open to the public and will include a full afternoon of engaging programming for guests of all ages.

Live Entertainment

Dr. Justine Love, former Director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS Radio Washington DC/WPGC 95.5 FM radio host and President of "Just Ask Justine" Media Relations, will emcee.

Entertainment includes:

  • Inspired by the musical stylings of Chuck Brown, The Jogo Project was founded in 2014 by Chuck Brown alumnus Elijah Jamal Balbed during his residency at Strathmore. The group features several DC natives, as well as musicians from around the country who have since claimed DC as their home. JoGo is known to put on an eclectic live show that features elements of Jazz, GoGo, Funk, Hip-Hop and Reggae.

  • Arlington resident and educator Anne Smith will perform "Mahalia Jackson: The Life of a Legend and the Songs of a People." The Queen of Gospel Music tells the story of her life and the birth of the music that we call Gospel.

  • GRAMMY® Nominated Progressive Hip-Hop artist and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon will bring his talents to the entertainment line-up. Christylez multi-tasks between various instruments such as the West African djembe drumacoustic guitar, and the human beat-box (oral percussion), all while continuing the oral tradition of storytelling through his lyrics.

  • Motown duo The Winstons will perform classic hits from The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas and more.

  • Joy of Motion Dance Center will present HypeFlow, a freestyle performance company for youth grades 3-12, directed by Jared Porter. With a mix of freestyle and choreographed movement, HypeFlow offers fast-paced, action-packed hip hop performances.

  • Macedonia Baptist Church's Living Water liturgical dance group will round out the entertainment with original choreography.

Delicious Food Options

A.R. Seafood will serve up fresh fish, shrimp, chicken and sides. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company's food truck will be set up outside of the community center with chopped pork, chopped chicken and beef brisket sandwiches, their very own Rocklands Pearl (mac and cheese, baked beans and chopped pork layered up) and sides. CARE, Inc./Nauck Youth Enterprises will sell hot dogs, half smokes, turkey sausage and assorted snacks. Homemade goodies will be for sale at the Nauck Civic Association table as part of their fundraiser bake sale.

Dozens of Vendors

A wide array of artisan vendors will offer products ranging from bath and beauty to clothing and handcrafted jewelry. Non-profit and community organizations will display information about the various programs available to Arlington residents.

Soul Food Cook-Off

Calling all cooks! Submit your best soul food dishes in our first-ever Cook-Off! Categories include appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts. First place winners in each category will receive a prize. View complete details and sign up online.

Hall of History

Learn more about African-American history in Arlington and view photos and other artifacts from the Nauck/Green Valley, High View/Hall's Hill, Johnson Hill/Arlington View neighborhoods. Local citizen associations, churches, the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, Virginia, and others will display materials.

Free Kids' Programming

An abundance of free activities for kids provides a fun, engaging environment for Arlington youth to learn about community history and express their creativity.

  • The Colgate, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) Dental Van will provide free dental screenings, education and treatment referral for children up to 12 years of age from 2-6 p.m.

  • Participants can create their favorite African Animal Mask, from cheetahs, to zebras, to lions, to baboons! The project mixes traditional African art with real life African animals, creating colorful and wonderful masks!

  • Arlington Nature Center staff will be on site with local critters (weather depending) for a meet and greet.

  • "Foods Around the World" Plinko - drop a Plinko chip to land on one of several countries, then taste the food that originates from that region!

  • Other offerings will include face painting, balloon art and giant games — checkers, chess, Connect Four and more.

Learn more about the 2018 Feel the Heritage Festival at or call 703-228-3329.