By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
An assortment of items for sale, dancers wearing colorful costumes and traditional African music greeted visitors to the African Marketplace.
The event took place Saturday in Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room as part of Youngstown State University’s annual celebration of Black History Month.
Vendors offered items such as jewelry, purses, artwork and clothing.
“I’m here to celebrate Black History Month,” said Jacqueline Capron of Youngstown. “I usually come every year. I think it’s a wonderful occasion. I think black history should be celebrated every day of the year.”
She typically finds something to purchase.
“I’m eyeing a ring right now,” she said. “I think I’m going to go and purchase it.”
Capron would like to see more events such as the marketplace.
“I look forward to it every year,” she said.
She also enjoys the dancing and music of the Harambee youth group of Youngstown.
The group performed traditional African dances and music during the event.
JoAnne Wight of Youngstown attends annually.
“I always like to come out to support Harambee,” she said.
Though watching the dancers is her favorite part of the event, she also likes to check out what the vendors are selling. She frequently finds items to purchase, but this year she just looked.
The annual event is a good kick-off to Black History Month, Wight said.
“It’s the beginning of the month,” she added. “This makes you remember that other stuff is coming for the rest of the month, other exciting things.”
The event was a good opportunity to be part of YSU’s black-history celebration while presenting her business to the public, said Katrina Foster, co-owner of Blessings Savant Jewels, Youngstown.
Foster and her partner, Faye Madison, sell handmade bracelets and earrings.
The pair started the business about six months ago.
Foster said the Marketplace is a nice event.
“I think it’s a good idea to give local people a chance to display whatever they’re selling, whatever they’re making,” she said. “It’s a good idea to get the public and the businesses together to see what they have to offer.”
She also found it was a good opportunity to network with other vendors.
Other events planned on the campus in celebration of Black History Month include a lecture titled “Black Arts and the Civil Rights Movement” at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Ohio Room, Kilcawley Center; a one-woman play, “With Grace I Stand,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 also in the Ohio Room; and an African Musical Extravaganza at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Chestnut Room, Kilcawley Center. For information, call 330-941-3097.