Hundreds of people gathered and made their way through Miami’s historic downtown Overtown on Saturday for a feast of the senses: smooth tunes, hearty fare and local crafts.
The Overtown Music and Arts Festival, which stretched from Northwest Eighth Street to 11th Street along Northwest Third Avenue, featured performances from R&B artists including Melanie Fiona, Mya, Bobby V, Raheem DeVaughn, Carl Thomas and others throughout the day.
Among the major attractions, beyond the music, was artwork from local artists and dozens of food vendors serving barbecue, seafood and Italian ices.
Nicole Gates, president of the marketing group Overtown Media, said she was happy to see the event’s growth and thinks it can help to change the perception of the neighborhood.
“People want to come to Overtown; people enjoy when they hear about good things happening here,” Gates said.
The festival has been around for five years and was previously called the Overtown Rhythm and Arts Festival, but this is the second year that the Headliner Market Group organized and promoted the festivities.
HMG also partnered with Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon and the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, which Hardemon chairs.
The event also featured a youth zone filled with bounce houses, an obstacle course and a spot for kids to play double dutch and hula hoop.
Although there were plenty of “Towners” making their way through the festival and overlooking from apartment buildings, people from across Miami enjoyed the festivities.
Linda Roberts and Joseph Moore said they hope to see similar events in their neighborhood.
“They need to do something like this in Liberty City,” Roberts said.
And as Overtown continues to develop with new businesses and the proposed Miami Worldcenter project, Roberts and Moore hope that longtime residents of the neighborhood will be able to enjoy the festival for years to come.
“It’s good but the community’s got to be a part of it,” Moore said.
“That will make it really awesome.”