• ESTACI Staff

Exmore got SOUL!

This year’s inaugural Eastern Shore Music & Soul Food Festival is a must-attend event! Eastern Shore Training And Consulting, Inc. (ESTACI) teamed up with the Town of Exmore to sponsor this two-day festival beginning 6pm Friday October 5th and continuing through midnight Saturday October 6th. An estimated crowd of 300 to 400-plus people is expected to attend.

The fun-filled festival events begin with a 6-9pm Friday Dance Party featuring DJ Black Ice and hosted by Sherail Kellam in Exmore Town Park. Saturday’s activities begin 7am with a 5K Run/Walk from 6th Street in Exmore to Willis Wharf and back. Events continue at Exmore Park 1-5pm with a VIP Tent featuring signature dishes prepared by Celebrity Chef Jacoby Ponder, local oysters and clams, a variety of soul food vendors, live band performances by Evolution Soul and Groove Junction, arts and crafts, and educational, fun activities for all ages. Saturday night a 10:30pm to Midnight Basketball game at Northampton High School Gymnasium in Eastville completes the two-day Festival. You don’t want to miss this!

ESTACI Executive Director Gerald Boyd said, “This Festival concept enhances perceived food and heritage value, and gives everyone an entirely authentic culinary experience. We want each person to take home a rare, indelible experience. This is the first time Northampton County has been host to a major multi-day contemporary culinary art and music festival in this unique historic location.”


Some historians say that people of African descent have been part of Virginia history since 1619, when the first twenty Africans came ashore in Jamestown. Soul food was cooked by Black women and men in private homes for plantation communities and at inns, taverns, and early restaurants on the Eastern Shore and in every region of the country. Early Black chefs were trained in traditional English and classical French cuisine, and they were open to other cultural influences with which they came into contact, including Native, Sephardic Jewish, German, Dutch, and Scott-Irish food ways. As an outcome, they reshaped the cuisine, making their own work presence known, giving the food of early Virginia the distinguished taste of dishes common to the African-Atlantic rim.


“This is more than just a music and food festival; rather, it is an opportunity to appreciate the unique gifts of the Eastern Shore and to pay proper homage to African-American contributions as we celebrate our heritage of culinary and musical excellence”, Boyd continued. “Currently, Black culinarians are experiencing a renaissance based on a balance of tradition, innovation, and respect for classic recipes. Let’s get people back to interest in the land, back to the significance of ESVA history, and forward to the experience of Soul Food.”


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