The morning may have started off gray and damp, but Soul Fest went off without complication February 7 at Jaco Pastorius Park on Dixie Highway in Oakland Park.
Soul Fest is an annual celebration of black history month and marks contributions and achievements of the African and Caribbean American communities through food, drink, music and dance, including Oakland Park Kids’ Kitchen and activity area. Live music was also performed by The Old Skool Gang.
Jasmina Anguelova, of Oakland Park, was there with her three-year-old daughter Kalina. She said it was a nice night to get outdoors after being inside all morning because of the rain. “We were kind of bored. We usually go out for a walk every night. We saw the tents going up the other day and thought it would be fun,” she said while Kalina crawled through one of three bounce houses that were erected. “The bounce house was the first thing she saw when we got here. It’s a very nice night out. I’m surprised there’s not more people out actually,” she said.
Anguelova moved to the area from Bulgaria when she was 18 years old and eventually married and had Kalina. She said she loves everything about the City and goes to as many events as she can. She said she’s looking forward to the Polynesian Festival coming up on February 22 and 23rd. “I do wish there were more parks with playgrounds within walking distance. I like the fact that there’s sidewalks to get around,” she said. “It’s great that they don’t charge for things like this.”
Alison Grimes, also of Oakland Park, was out for a walk with her one and a half year old son and also saw the tents and lights. “We come to this park a lot. It’s always nice to come here and run around,” she said. “Events like this are awesome. We try to come to everything we can, especially when it’s free.”
Oakland Park Commissioner Tim Lonergran was in attendance and said it was a great event for the city: “It was a beautiful night with a cool breeze and hot music at Jaco Pastorius Park in Oakland Park celebrating black history month at Soul Fest,” he said. “A great way to start the weekend and have fun with both old friends and new. We are fortunate to live in a city with such a wonderfully diverse population”.
Maria Greere, of Pompano Beach, brought her seven-year-old daughter to Soul Fest. She and her husband own a dental lab in Oakland Park and try to go to as many events in the city as they can. “She wanted to go to the park. It’s something different. There’s good music and good food,” she said. “This is a family event. All the time there’s something going on. It’s nice.”
She loves that there’s always something to bring the entire family out for an inexpensive night on the town. “There’s always something nice going on for the family. Even with entry fees, it’s very low,” she said.
Besides the music from the Old Skool Gang and bounce houses for the kids, attendees could enjoy a variety of food and drink from different Oakland Park vendors. What started off as a gray day ended in another great City event filled with fun and festivities at Oakland Park’s Soul Fest.
Katina Caraganis is a Massachusetts native and has called South Florida home since 2015. She graduated college with a degree in communication studies and has received numerous writing awards during her tenure in journalism. When she’s not working for an online pet supply retailer, she spends her time training for a half-marathon in March and studying to become a certified nutrition coach.