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The East Palo Alto Collard Greens Cultural Festival

By Henrietta J. Burroughs
East Palo Alto Today
Posted: July 27, 2008

One can't say that this year's Collard Greens Cultural Festival in East Palo Alto had a sold out crowd, because people don't have to buy tickets to attend. But, as usual, this year's festival, which marked the tenth year for the event, attracted visitors from all over the Bay Area.

There were multiple vendors, bands and exhibits for everyone, with the Soul Line Dancers being, as always, just one of the festival's popular attractions. There was even a Collard Greens Festival contest, called the Collard Greens Queen and King Cook Off Contest, to select the best collard greens recipe. The collard greens ice cream, which is billed as being the "World's First and Only Collard Greens Ice Cream," always proves to be a surprising and delicious treat during the festival.

Picture of Nobantu Ankoanda

According to Nobantu Ankoanda, the festival's founder and event planner, the event was started in 1998 as the First Annual Collard Greens Cultural Festival west of the Mississippi. At the time it was designed as a fundraiser to help support the Shule Mandela Academy, an aternative school in East Palo Alto.

                                                                  Nobantu Ankoanda

For Ankoanda, "This festival is a celebration of our accomplishments and our continued commitment to African Centered Education and Academic Excellence for the children worldwide."

Indeed, the Collard Greens Cultural Festival is proving so successful that it is being duplicated in other cities. This past weekend the House of Umoja held a similar three day event which you can read about here.

When asked what she thought about this year's festival and why she always attends, Tracy Harper, who works in East Palo Alto, said, "I like everything about it."

Certainly as the festival catches on in other places, it seems that we will be seeing and reading more about it in the years to come.