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Soul of the Southside Festival Begins

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The Soul of Southside Festival is a free, public arts and humanities festival celebrating the rich and diverse history of Tallahassee’s Southside.

Cars lined up on FAMU Way Thursday afternoon for the Emancipation Day Drive-By Fish Fry. The event kicked off the first Soul of Southside Arts & Humanities Festival. It features live performances from local artists, tours of Southside neighborhoods, and a youth entrepreneurship expo and forum. E. Marie Sissle organized today’s event.

"This is the perfect opportunity to kick off the festival because we have music, people coming in with their artwork, three muralists that we’re going to have revealed today," said Sissle. "But food is the ultimate gathering thing. And fried fish, fried fish, baked beans, coleslaw and hushpuppies that’s like a quintessential southern meal."

The festival runs through Saturday. Event organizer Christic Henry says the festival is meant to draw attention to the history and of the Southside and what it has to offer.

"This is what this festival is this vibe, this sense of people just coming out and feeling that they can. This sense of elderly in the drive-thru coming to get a hot fish dinner going home," said Henry. "This sense of having all these folks working together to create a beautiful event and really really help people to understand that this is Southside. This is what we do we show up, we work, we support one another."

The event is hosted by the Southside City Foundation and funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency. The neighborhood tours will coincide with open houses for properties that are for sale. Some of the featured homes include those being built by the CRA on Keith street as part of its New Home Infill Program--an initiative to build more affordable housing.

Tonight is the official kickoff celebration at Lake Anita at FAMU Way.
To view a schedule of events, click here.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.