ODUNDE: Celebrating the rich Yoruba Culture in the heart of America,


Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuade.Celebrated in Style
Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuade.Celebrated in Style

The annual African and African-American Street Festival Odunde was held on Sunday amidst pomp and pageantry.

Odunde is one of the America’s oldest African-American street festivals and takes place, annually, on the second Sunday of June.

The event features a wide variety of vendors, craftspeople, artists and performers that range from Neo-Soul artists, Hip-Hop Dance Groups, Doo-Wop Groups, African-Brazilian Dance Troupes and Gospel Music Groups.

ODUNDE was founded in 1975 by Lois Fernandez and Ruth Arthur.

This year’s festival was held on a more high profile note with the paramount leader of the Yorubas present.

Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Adele Sijuwande Olubuse II, the Ooni of IFE . the cradle of Yoruba creation and his Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Executive Governor, OSUN State, arrived America last week to add glamour to the high profile celebration which is fast becoming a source of tourism attraction

Members of the Nigerian Delegation  joined Odundee officials for a procession which will began, at noon, at the organization’s 24th and Banbridge Streets headquarters to the Schuylkill River, at 25th and Locust Streets, where fruit, money, flowers and other items are offered to pay homage to the Yoruba goddess of the river, Oshun.

At approximately 1:30 pm, the procession  returned to South Street from 20th and 24th Streets where the festival continued and from 23rd and Lombard, to Grays Ferry Avenue and Christian street.

ODUNDE attracts over 600,000 people annually and is one of the largest community- based street festivals held in the country.
The festival, whose concept originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa, celebrates the coming of another year for African Americans and Africanized people around the world.

It is an occasion highlighted by a colorful procession from 23rd and South Streets to the Schuylkill River where an offering of fruit and flowers is made to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river.  ODUNDE is also known for its authentic African marketplace featuring vendors from around the world selling merchandise from many African nations, the Caribbean and Brazil

The occasion also witnessed an award ceremony from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at 24th and South Streets, the festival’s main staging area, wherein U.S. Representative Robert A. Brady  joined Imperial Majesty, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwande (Olubuse II), the Ooni of IFE and his Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, executive governor, OSUN State, Federal Republic of Nigeria in honoring six Philadelphians who have exemplified as outstanding community servicemen throughout the year.

Each year, the second Sunday in June, ODUNDE, one of the nations oldest African American street festivals take place.  ODUNDE will be celebrating its 35rd year in the traditional south Philadelphia location near 23rd and South streets.
The festival started in 1975 with a $100.00 grant and neighbors from Fernandez’s south Philadelphia community.  In two years the ODUNDE Festival exploded.  The eclectic mix of vendors, entertainment and music started to draw people from around and beyond the region and each year continues to be no different.

Odunde festival
Odunde festival

In 2009, Doug E Fresh lit up the stage with his presence singing all of his hiphop classics. Along with Doug E Fresh the stages were full with African dance groups, children, and other performers.

Entertainment at ODUNDE just gets better with time. The South Street stage of the festival featured the following artists on stage.

Kulu Mele
Nu Sigma Arts Program
Kinki Kreations
Universal Dance  Ensemble
Presentation of African Ambassadors & Dignitaries
Community Visionary Awards
Messiah Danceworks
Olive Dance Theatre
M.C. Ian White
Meek Mill
ODUNDE Poetry Slam

Odunde festival Obakoso-dance actor
Odunde festival Obakoso-dance actor

Troupe DaDa
The Odyessey Band
Asantewaa’s Belly Dancing   KEEZ Gorilla   Messiah Danceworks
Quiet Storm  New Freedom Theater
Blue Train
Sankofa Dance Company
Ali Hackett Line Dancing Co.
Tap Team 2 Universal Dance Ensemble