Jambalaya, Crawfish Etoufee,
Catfish, Hush Puppies
Jerked Chicken, Funnel Cakes,
Jazzy Juicy Drinks
Food banners proclaimed good eating from every booth
as we strolled along downtown Oakland last weekend
at the Art and Soul Festival.
We hadn't been to the festival for several summers. This year we decide to say "Yes," and we're glad we did.
Oakland's fete is a place to see beautiful people dancing and singing to music. Vitality, confidence, and strength showed in the faces of diverse groups who gathered on the streets. When we looked into each other's eyes, there was neither fear nor hostility -- equality instead. People were proud to be from Oakland.
Diversity is the heart of Oakland. African Americans predominated the festival, but the food banners --Teriyaki, Thai Sticks, Lumpia, and Hawaiian BBQ-- spoke of other cultures too. A large contingent of LBGTs wove itself in the throng, enjoying the dancing and music with everyone else. Latinos helped others learn the seductive steps to the mambo as the Pacific Mambo Orchestra played. Young men swaggered by with baseball caps tilted backwards -- just having fun and jostling each other.
What a weekend to take a moment to celebrate what is good about people. Good food, good music, good dancing brought everyone together.
As we left the fest, we were greeted by a street band jubilantly playing. We're glad we said "Yes!" to the Art and Soul Festival. See you there next year!