Despite dreary and sometimes drippy skies, Philadelphia celebrated the 43rd annual Odunde Festival Sunday the way in which its late founder would have wanted: with unbridled enthusiasm for African culture.
Lois Fernandez died last August at age 81. The street party she created, the nation's largest and longest-running African American festival spanning 15 blocks in the Graduate Hospital area, is now a tradition carried forward by her daughter, Bumi Fernandez-West, who became its chief organizer 22 years ago. Drawing visitors from the region and beyond, its annual economic impact to the city is $28 million, according to EConsult Solutions Inc.
A day before this year's celebration — featuring food, dance and crafts — the city recognized Fernandez by renaming the 2300 block of South Street, the epicenter of Odunde, as "Lois Fernandez Way."