50th Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival
Durham 150 Grantee
This national award winning festival is a celebration of African and African American history, culture, and the arts. It has been a staple in the Durham community for half a century.
In early 1969, a group of African-American students from Duke University, North Carolina College at Durham, now North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and a host of community members met to plan a cultural arts festival for the residents of Durham. After months of planning, the first Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival was held in Duke Gardens.
The Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival was established in honor of the West African festival of harvest and celebration. After the season of harvest, entire villages would gather to give thanks through dance, praise and feasting. The hallmark of the festival is the spirit of sharing as each family or tribe shares its best fruits with the entire village. This tradition continues to be practiced in many villages throughout the Caribbean. It is from the Caribbean that Bimbé came to Durham through the leadership and inspiration of Cuthbert St. John, a native of St. Thomas. A key feature of the early Bimbé Festivals was St. John’s drumming and the dancing of young people from Hayti, who usually performed the closing ceremonies by candle light.
Throughout the years, Bimbé found homes in Duke Gardens, Hillside Park, NCCU, UDI Industrial Park, and the Durham Athletic Park, CCVB plaza, before landing in Rock Quarry Road Park. The event promises to be a day filled with the tradition of sharing, celebration and appreciation of gifts of talent. Bring your family and friends and help us continue to make history!