Despite money woes, the annual Odunde Festival will go on as scheduled, starting today.
Executive director Oshunbumi Fernandez said that she has made one payment to the city and plans to make another today to offset the $85,000 needed to pay for fire, police and other services - services that until this year had been provided free.
Due to massive budget cutbacks, city officials no longer are offering that kind of assistance to festivals. That left organizers of the 34-year-old African cultural celebration scrambling for donations in the same way that those working for the Mummers Parade, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the TD Bank bike race have done.
Money has been coming in, though. Philanthropist Kal Rudman yesterday told the Daily News that he would match music legend Kenny Gamble's pledge of $2,500.
The festival, on South Street between 20th and 23rd, begins today and culminates on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Scheduled are a free performance by Doug E. Fresh, an African marketplace, a hair-braiding demonstration, African dancing and other activities.