Grand Festival Day is Entertainment Highlight of Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival

The SOS Band
The SOS Band

The 21st Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival, presented by Savannah State University and the City of Savannah, includes Grand Festival Day on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Savannah Civic Center. Considered the highlight of the heritage celebration, Grand Festival Day is packed with family-oriented activities that include a health fair, youth talent showcase, workshops, vending and more.

The day begins with an interactive health experience presented by the American Diabetes Association, Aetna and St. Joseph’s/Candler African American Health Information and Resource Center. Registration for free workshops, exercise demonstrations and health screenings will begin at 9 a.m. Attendees will learn more about prevention, detection and management of diabetes, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and exercise. Before the 3 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony that marks the official beginning of Grand Festival Day, children and adults may reserve a seat for the African-American Living and Learning Village, 1:30-3 p.m. There, artisans will conduct hands-on workshops in making jewelry, drums, baskets and more; painting and culinary arts for youth. Because space is limited, please call (912) 356-2506 to reserve a seat. Between 3 and 6 p.m., audiences will enjoy Magic Marc, a puppet show by RJ and the Upbeats, the Savannah Children’s Choir and a Youth Talent Extravaganza sponsored by Savannah Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Savannah’s own Stephanie Edwards will open the evening entertainment segment for national recording artists K’Jon and the S.O.S. Band at 6:30 p.m. The Atlanta-based S.O.S. Band formed in the late ‘70s as Santa Monica. The Sounds of Success Band exploded on the music scene in 1980 with a name change, recording contract and its first mega-hit platinum single, “Take Your Time,” which climbed to the number one position on multiple music charts. Fans embraced the group’s first album, titled The S.O.S. Band, which went on to become a gold album. The S.O.S. Band collaborated with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who produced the group’s next three gold albums that yielded mega singles like “Just Be Good to Me,” “Tell Me if You Still Care,” “Weekend Girl,” “The Finest,” “Sands of Time,” and more.

After working in the music industry for nearly a decade, K’Jon’s epic first single “On the Ocean” catapulted him into the R&B spotlight in 2009. K’Jon’s story behind the success of his smash hit: “I was sitting in a hotel room in Los Angeles wondering if writing songs was worth being away from my daughter. I was really going through it and wondering if my ship would ever come in, and the metaphor became the inspiration.”

K’Jon’s sudden success took years of hard work by the Detroit-born singer and songwriter. His song “Miami” was featured on the soundtrack of the movie 2Fast2Furious in 2004, and thanks to the exposure, he landed opening-act gigs for acts like Ne-Yo and Raheem DeVaughn. In 2009, he signed with Universal Republic Records and prepared his major label debut album I Get Around, which landed in the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart last August.

All Grand Festival Day entertainment is free and open to the public — tickets are not required for admission.

All events are free and open to the public. For more info, visit www.savannahblackheritagefestival. com

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