The Umoja festival is the cornerstone of what we do. A time when people from all walks of life can gather and learn a little bit more about others' traditions and customs; a time to learn about different music, food, dance, dress, and experiences.
People from around the region come to enjoy music performed by national recording artist at no charge and also take in world renowned storytellers for free. It makes perfect sense for the Knoxville, Asheville, Charlotte, and Atlanta community to make the drive to enjoy Umoja. Black Enterprise Magazine recognized Johnson City as a top ten place for African Africans to retire. Umoja and its programs played a part in securing that recognition.
The Umoja parade kicks things off with neighborhood organizations, churches, the Shriners, Tennessee Hillbillies and historical sororities. As always, the highlight of the parade will be Shaka Zulu, the stilt walker who travels from New Orleans to be a part of the Umoja festivities. With him Shaka brings stilt walkers, big and small drummers and other performers decked out in African attire.
The Umoja Festival is funded via donations from local churches, organizations, businesses, citizens, and grants. Because of this support, we are able to host the festival each year.