Jacksonville African American History Museum Serves Up “Taste of Cultures” Event This Weekend

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 3, 2023 at 6:16pm

An area museum is giving the public the chance to experience the flavor of different cultures by breaking bread together this weekend.

The Jacksonville African American History Museum is hosting the “A Taste of Cultures” event this Saturday at the Museum located in the historic Asa Talcott House at 859 Grove Street. The event aims to celebrate the cultural diversity of the area through food. Director of the Jacksonville African American History Museum, Art Wilson, says the event is kind of a cultural picnic.

He says the idea came following the success of the CURE, or Community Unity for Racial Equality presentation at Ramelkamp Chapel in April, as the museum board wanted to find a way to expand the local cultural experience.

We wanted to extend upon that by making something that would be more cultural and involve more people from different walks of life in a way that we don’t always get to traditionally be a part of in those cultures, such as eating and stuff like that. So we decided let’s get out and also represent in all these events we are having something on food.

Food is always something that brings people together because regardless of how we feel about each other, we’ll eat each other’s food. We’ll go into a restaurant that some people may not care about the people but they will go in there and eat. So we think food is like sports, it brings people together, regardless of whatever, in a good way.”

Attendees will be able to sample a plate full of items from the African colonial diaspora, along with Italian, Asian, and Mexican delicacies as well. The dishes will include fish, ribs, chicken, pigs’ feet, oxtail, and more.

The cost is $5.00 per plate and runs from 1 to 4 pm this Saturday. The Jacksonville African American History Museum will also be open for tours. A donation of $5.00 per person is suggested to tour.

Wilson says the event extends into the evening at Bogart’s Banquet Hall where there will be entertainment, food, and a raffle of several prize packages that includes a 50-inch color TV, Knights Action Park passes, AirPods, gift cards, a one-night stay at the Gus and Ann Ayers Suite at Villa DeWolf, a one-night stay at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre and more.

Wilson says everyone will want to come for the entertainment who is coming all the way from Oregon, but who has a deep connection to Jacksonville.

DJ Avalanche, his name is Denmark Whitaker and he was originally from here. His family was here, his grandfather had the Whitaker Trash Service, and Creston Whitaker is his uncle.

He’s a top performer as far as being a DJ. He’s opened up for ZZ Top, Tesla, Brett Michaels, Joan Jett, Bell Biv Devoe, Ma$e, *NYSYNC, and a lot of others. So he’s pretty professional and he doesn’t just go out and play music, he gets involved with the crowd and gets them involved with games and all kinds of stuff so it should be a good event.”

The evening event runs from 7:00 to 10:00 pm Saturday at Bogart’s located at 2142 East State Street. Food and a cash bar will be available. Raffle tickets can be purchased the day of during both events, and in advance at the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

More information can be found on the Jacksonville African American History Museum Facebook page.