Grand Rapids’ First Ever African Festival Takes Place This Month


A Glimpse of Africa is a one-day festival that takes place on Aug. 10 in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle. The event offers attendees the opportunity to experience the many different countries that encompass the continent of Africa. Representatives from across Africa will serve as vendors and entertainers to offer people insight into their diverse cultures. 

Fridah Kay, founder of A Glimpse of Africa, hopes the event will provide attendees with a better understanding of the dynamic aspects of Africa and its many cultures.

“People think that it [Africa] is one big country,” Kay expressed. “They forget that it’s a continent. I’m from Kenya, and even though Ethiopia is close to Kenya, we don’t eat the same food. They [Ethiopians] eat different food, listen to different music and speak different languages.”

One of the major aspects of A Glimpse of Africa is the amount of food available to try; vendors who will provide attendees with authentic cuisine from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Eritrea, South Africa and more. 

Vendors will also have the opportunity to sell authentic wares, such as clothing, prints, paintings, carvings and other artwork. The event will include a fashion show that will display the clothing styles of Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa. The entertainment lineup includes performances by musical acts, dance groups, poets, comedians and more. 

Kay says the purpose of the event is to not only educate people on the many different cultures that make Africa a beautiful continent but also to give back to the community by donating a portion of sales to the Refugee Education Center. 

What: A Glimpse of Africa
When: Aug. 10, 10:30 a.m.- 10 p.m.
Where: Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center NW
Cost: Free 

“People think that it [Africa] is one big country, they forget that it’s a continent.” 

— Fridah Kay, founder of A Glimpse of Africa