The following is a lightly edited press release from the City of Santa Monica.

The city of Santa Monica and the Black Santa Monica Community Group will host the 9th annual Black History Greens Festival, a free community celebration this Saturday, February 24, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park. The event is part of the city’s Black History Month events. This year’s theme is “Acknowledging the Past, Living in the Present, Building for the Future.” It is a key initiative in advancing the city’s strategic priority of advancing Justice, Equity & Diversity.

Event attendees can check out greens cooking demos with local chefs in addition to a wide array of activities like book readings and giveaways, dance performances, vendors, wellness information, and special guest KJLH radio’s Arron “BOBO” Arnell as the master of ceremonies.

This year’s event will highlight Santa Monica’s local history by paying tribute to a prominent community member, former commissioner and local Santa Monica business owner Lloyd Allen, who recently celebrated his 103rd birthday. Allen is a champion for civil rights and a trailblazer as the first Black member of the Santa Monica Rotary Club and the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and is also a key figure in establishing Virginia Avenue Park.

The day’s festivities also include:

  • Event opening with a drumming and dance performance by Olokun Cultural Group 
  • Blessing by Shekinah “Paradise” Shakur  
  • DJ music mixing by Mark Birotte 
  • Book reading of “Flowing through the Elements,” by Santa Monica author Darin Glenn 
  • Live cooking demonstrations with local chefs of family favorite greens recipes 
  • Book giveaways and coloring activities hosted by the Pico Branch Library 
  • A farmer’s market featuring Master Gardeners giving out seedlings 
  • A wide variety of resource booths and vendors 

Guests are encouraged to bring picnic blanket and/or lawn chairs. Walking and biking are encouraged.

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