Two years after going virtual, the Odunde Festival is back in person. Odunde is one of the largest African American street festivals in the country, bringing up to 500,000 people annually to celebrate African culture. As always, the festival takes place on the second Sunday in June. This year, the music, street vendors, handmade crafts, and traditional food will all return to the city on June 12.

The Odunde Festival was created by former social worker Lois Fernandez. In 1975, Fernandez — inspired by a Yoruba pilgrimage she experienced during a trip to Africa three years prior — got a $100 grant and started the first Odunde Festival. What began as a gathering of 50 people is now a 15-block celebration.

Even after her death in 2017, the festival has remained a Philadelphia staple. For the 2022 edition, there will be several events leading up to the Odunde Festival, starting on June 8.

Here is everything you need to know about the free festival:

Main festival


The main festival takes place on Sunday and will be welcoming visitors from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. All the streets from 18th and South to 24th and South will be closed. As well as the blocks from 23rd Street to Grays Ferry Avenue and Christian Street. The center of the 15-block festival will be the intersection of 23rd and South.


Based on a faith pilgrimage, the Odunde Festival holds a procession at noon. During the celebration, attendees make an offering of fruit and flowers to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river. The procession starts at the South Street Bridge and moves toward the Schuylkill.

Live music

Performers were selected by a contest in May. Close to 20 artists will get to perform on Odunde’s two stages throughout the day. Mobbluz, DJ Chase Flow, Sunnie, and Maya Simone are among the winners.

Arts and crafts vendors

This year brings 100 arts and crafts vendors, including folks selling clothing, jewelry, and art.

Food and drink

The festival brings African, Caribbean, soul, and Brazilian food right to Philadelphia. There will be food vendors all over the 15 blocks of the festival, including vendors JJ Jamaican Truck and Chef King. Food options range from $10 to $20.

Other events and activities


Lois’ Lunches

(Food) To open the week of the festival, Odunde is holding a free breakfast to honor Lois Fernandez’s memory by supporting a small business. From 7 to 9 a.m., you can head to Mount Airy’s local restaurant Cherish for free sandwiches and coffee. (Free)

📍 7060 Germantown Ave.


African Headwrapping

(Skill learning / Food) If you are looking to learn more about African headwrapping, there will be a soiree at Sky Lounge. You can learn, and be part of a food tasting, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free, but you have to call and RSVP beforehand. (Free)

📍 1500 Locust St. 📞 RSVP at 215-796-7460 or 267-320-4364


African Business Roundtable

(Forum) This event is for people interested in learning more about African businesses and the Africa-USA commerce relationship, with discussions on tourism, education, and cultural exchange initiatives. Panelist Toure’ Ibrahima (Ivory Coast ambassador), Erieka Bennett (African Diaspora Forum), Alassane Diallo (Mali’s chargé d’affaires), and Melvin P. Foote (Constituency for Africa) will be at Temple University Gladfelter Hall (Room 107), from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The event is free, but you must register before attending. (Free)

📍 11th and Berks Streets at the Pollett Walk.


Caribbean Business Roundtable

(Forum) If you are interested in the Caribbean and U.S. economic relationship attend the roundtable at Temple University Gladfelter Hall (Room 107), from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Adam Mitchell (Philadelphia International Airport deputy revenue officer), Shane Angus (Jamaica Promotions Corp.), Worrell Nero (honorary consul general of Saint Kitts and Nevis), and Merytony Pierre-Jean Nathan (Haitian Chamber of Commerce vice president) will be speaking. The event is free, but register before attending. (Free)

📍 11th and Berks Streets at the Pollett Walk.

Where does the money go?

Odunde is a nonprofit organization, so funds will go toward the Odunde 365 program, an initiative that provides free cooking classes, yoga, African dance, hip-hop, videography, karate, and other resources, for Philadelphia youth.