We Are One Festival celebrates 20 years of multicultural food and performances
A celebration of the state’s Latin-American, African and Caribbean communities, the We Are One Festival features authentic food, live performances, crafters and more. The free event will celebrate its 20th year at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester on Saturday, Aug. 21.
The festival as it is known today first came together in 2013, after two separate events that were held in the Granite State from 2001 to 2012 — a Latino Festival organized by Latino Unidos de New Hampshire, and an annual African-Caribbean celebration organized by Ujima Collective — each combined their resources. Last year’s event was reorganized as a community health fair, with limited attendance and a greater emphasis on education about the pandemic’s impacts.
“We’re excited about having it. … I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to have the festival as close to what we’re used to having,” said Sudi Lett, who is co-chairing the We Are One Festival’s planning committee with Shaunte Whitted. “At the same time, we know that Covid is still very much a factor, so we’re just trying to take that into account as well.”
One of the biggest draws to the festival each year is the food, and you’ll find a diverse array of options available throughout the day. Local vendors include both restaurants and community members, with usually every cuisine from Dominican, Colombian and Puerto Rican to Congolese, Sudanese and Liberian represented. Featured dishes will often run the gamut from beef or pork to vegetarian options, and other ethnic staples like chivo (goat), rice and beans or stewed chicken. Don Quijote Restaurant in Manchester, for example, is a longtime participant of the festival that will be returning as a vendor once again with Caribbean options, Lett said.
“We’re looking to add more people to participate, even leading right up to the festival,” he said.
While there won’t be a large performance stage at the park as in years past, Lett said there are a few local musicians due to return to the festival this year, including African drummers and R&B and soul artists. The We Are One festival often also features local vendors selling their wares, from handcrafted jewelry to artwork, clothing and more, as well as a back-to-school giveaway featuring backpacks stuffed with school supplies for kids.
A health fair hosted by the NH Black Women Health Project will also be a part of this year’s event. Lett said there will be onsite Covid-19 testing and vaccinations at the park.
We Are One Festival
When: Saturday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 723 Elm St., Manchester
Cost: Free admission; food is priced per item
More info: Email festival co-chair Sudi Lett at email@example.com or search “We Are One Festival 20 Year Celebration” on Facebook
Event is rain or shine. Masks or face-coverings are optional.
Featured photo: Scenes from previous years at the We Are One festival. Courtesy photo.