This fall Driven to Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males (DREAAM) will conduct its inaugural Soul Food Family Festival at the Vineyard Church in Urbana.
Admission is free for the Sept. 30 event (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) though vendors will charge family friendly prices for food.
The festival will highlight the cuisine of many Champaign-Urbana black-owned businesses. Among the entities expected to participate are Neil St. Blues, Soul Sweets, Sade’s Southern Barbeque, Meal Prep Made EZ, Sugga Shai’s Sweets and RiPopped It.
Musicians and gospel performers expected to be showcased include Laquisha Burries-Finn, Audrey Mock, Pilgrim Baptist Church Praise Dancers, and Steve Davis and Spirit.
“We wanted to create a soulful event that brings the community together to share in food, music, culture and family,” said Tracy Dace, founder and chief executive officer of DREAAM. “We’re creating a space where all can celebrate what this community has to offer, while also sharing our vision of empowerment through health and wellness for all and strengthening families.”
As an organization, DREAAM aims “to reach excellence in achievement, engagement, and health among boys and young men ages 3-24 years old. Through outreach to families, community organizations, churches, schools and service providers, they produce strength-based, outcome-driven services for children and young adults.”
DREAAM will also host a Children’s Village in collaboration with other groups (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering at the U of I; Illinois Public Media; WILL-TV Radio). The village will include cultural and STEM activities, games and free books. The festival also will feature an exhibit honoring the life and legacy of the late Willie T. Summerville, a legendary figure in education and music in C-U.