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AFRAM returns to Baltimore in hybrid form, after being canceled last year due to the pandemic

Baltimore’s AFRAM Festival is coming back in August after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Spotlighting Black culture and arts, the 44th annual festival will take place in hybrid form starting Aug. 15, organizers said Tuesday. Its main events will be hosted online Aug. 21-22 and will be free.

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Launched in 1976, the festival — which about 75,000 people attended three years ago — has been anchored at Druid Hill Park since 2017. Part of the Baltimore City’s Showcase of the Nations, it’s considered one of the biggest African American cultural arts festivals on the East Coast.

Mayor Brandon Scott said he’s looking forward to tuning in for this year’s hybrid festival.

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“AFRAM is one of my favorite Baltimore traditions, and although we cannot provide in person this year, I am as excited to partake in this hybrid setting,” said Scott in a statement.

Past performers have included rapper Rick Ross, R&B singer Sevyn Streeter and Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk, but organizers have yet to announce this year’s performers or vendors.

Canceling last year’s festival allowed organizers to reflect and strategize on how to safely organize the event this year, said Reginald Moore, Executive Director of the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.

“While this year’s festival won’t bring 100,000 people to the park, we believe that the sprit of AFRAM will be felt,” said Moore in a release.

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In a 2019 interview with WBAL-TV, Scott said that AFRAM is Baltimore’s signature festival.

“It’s something that people, not just in the city or the region, but the nation come to AFRAM because they know it showcases Baltimore’s rich African American history — the food, the music, the art, you hear it each and every day,” Scott said.

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