2008 Taste of Soul. Photo by Jason Lewis
As the largest street festival in California, anticipation for the sixth annual Taste of Soul is at a fever pitch as the countdown continues to October 15.
This is the sixth year that Taste of Soul has been happening and it has become a staple event in the Los Angeles community. As it gets closer to the day–October 15–anticipation builds and builds, as the community looks forward once again to the biggest street festival in the city. Last year, the crowd numbered in excess of 100,000 and this year, a bigger turnout is expected. People come from near and from far.
Danny J Bakewell, Sr. executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times, and the creator of the festival stated, “Taste of Soul was created to highlight the positive aspects of African American life and to encourage the enjoyment, respect and appreciation of our community, and each other in an atmosphere of peace, pride and pleasure.” And that captures the essence of Taste of Soul; as what started six years ago as a gentle breeze has now blossomed into a whirlwind of epic proportion.
The Mayor, members of the city council, many city officials–some of them co-chairs of the event–and their respective departments including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Building and Safety, and Sanitation departments, all extend their services to make sure that the event is safe and secure. In addition to the local officials, other elected and public officials from county, state, federal and other cities have always lent their presence and support to make the day, a fun day.
The Sentinel, as the main sponsor of the event, has asked the co-chairs for their comments and they replied accordingly.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: “Now in its sixth year, ‘Taste of Soul’ has quickly become an iconic event in the City of Los Angeles. This culturally rich festival brings together the African-American community and showcases the great diversity and ‘soul’ of our city.”
Councilman Bernard Parks (District 8): “Six years ago, when Danny Bakewell came to me with an idea to bring a street festival to Crenshaw Boulevard, I never imagined it would be as big and successful as it has become. I am thrilled to join him and Councilmember Wesson for another great ‘Taste of Soul’ featuring the best local food, live entertainment, displays from local artists, and exhibits from local businesses and organizations.”
Councilwoman and President Pro Tempore, Jan Perry (District 9): “A ‘Taste of Soul’ is a joyous and fun event for the entire family that celebrates our community. Each year, I look forward to sharing in this festival that brings people from throughout Los Angeles to Crenshaw Boulevard to enjoy outstanding live entertainment, sample some delicious food, and browse art and craft stalls. I am proud to co-sponsor what has become one of Los Angeles’ largest and best street festivals and hope to see everyone there on October 15 for what is certain to be another great event.”
Councilman Herb Wesson (District 10): “It’s an honor to be co-chair of this year’s ‘Taste of Soul.’ I know first hand how important this annual event has become for people from all parts of our city. For the community and our families, ‘Taste of Soul’ is now a great tradition which we look forward to, and make special plans to be a part of. Danny Bakewell and his amazing crew are to be congratulated for their outstanding leadership.”
Councilman and City Council President, Eric Garcetti (District 13): “This festival has quickly become the best festival in Los Angeles and one of the biggest in the country. We’re going to be setting new records, eating great food and taking in the very best of Los Angeles.”
City Controller Wendy Greuel: “Our city is facing an enormous structural deficit. I took the opportunity for us to look at long-term fiscal healthiness… and events like ‘Taste of Soul’ can only help to return the city to sound fiscal health.”
The countdown has begun and the city awaits ‘Taste of Soul’ with great anticipation.