Frenchtown Heritage Fest This Saturday

Nov 1, 2017

Tallahassee’s historic Frenchtown district will celebrate its heritage this Saturday. It will be a neighborhood block party that’s open to everyone.

The Frenchtown Farmers Market is just one of the attractions at the historic neighborhood's annual HeritageFest.

Lauren Chappel, the marketing person for the Frenchtown Farmers’ Market, has also taken the promotion of this weekend’s event under her wing.

“HeritageFest is coming up November 4th. It’s 10 until 4; we will block off Georgia Street from Martin Luther King all the way to Macomb and basically have a big block party.”

Chappel said that stretch of street will feature a wide range of attractions.

“The street will be lined with food vendors and we’ll have a stage at one end that will have musical performances. The FAMU Cheerleaders are coming and we will have the Tallahassee Hispanic Theatre doing stuff and then we’ll have TED-style talks throughout the day.”

There will be no heavy discourses on politics or anything like that, Chappel insisted. Instead, these talks will focus on fun and useful topics.

“How to eat healthier, how to get a car loan, how to experience some of the culture of Frenchtown in 15-minutes or less, like ‘snap!’”

Chappel mentioned music. Helping lead a stellar collection of local talent will be Chiedza Anderson Ponder, who recalled his early musical exposure was eclectic to say the least.

“My mother listened to big bands, like Glenn Miller. ‘String of Pearls’ and things like that was going through the house. Now my dad, he actually listened to country music because he was a country boy and a farmer. He listened to things like Gene Autry and Dale Evans.”

With the dawn of the MTV era, Ponder picked up on everything from The Police to Prince and Michael Jackson. “I have my music going now, it’s more of a collective of all those different things; different styles of music from funk – Parliament – to Stevie Wonder all the way to Gene Autry because when I talk country now with people, the artist I came up with were people like Ronnie Millsap, who’s one of my favorite artists.”

These are all influences that Ponder said he and his musical colleagues will project from the HeritageFest stage.

“I think we’re going to pay respects to a few people that have passed away – Prince, Tom Petty – some of the people who inspired some of the things that I do. I’m going to introduce my new project called ‘Love is Free’ and part of that movement is to get people to recognize that we’re all the same people, we’re all wanting something that is very possible, which is love.”

Providing more of that love connection, continued Lauren Chappel, will be many other facets of the larger community.

“We’ll also have community organizations on site providing activities. We’ll have a kids’ corner on ‘Wellness Way.’”

Some of the health counseling providing by Festival health care partners such as Tallahassee Memorial and the Neighborhood Medical Center has been a literal life saver in the past. And for those fans of farm-fresh produce and other goodies,

“The Farmers’ Market is always every Saturday. We’ll have extended hours this weekend for HeritageFest and we’re expecting to have 20-25 vendors just in the Farmers’ Market.”

Chappel said that will be in addition to all the other vendors lining the street this Saturday from 10 until 4.