Strength as a People. Perseverance as a Nation.

Lexington Roots & Heritage Festival Celebrates over 25 years of Diversity | Kickoff September 7-9 in Lexington, Ky

September 7-9, 2018

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How do you remember September?


For over 25 years, during the weekend following Labor Day — the Roots and Heritage Festival has been a pinnacle of regional diversity providing entertainment & education for all ages.

The colorful pageantry of the festival combined with its high-quality offerings of cultural and educational programs has earned its recognition as one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society and One of the Top Ten Festivals in Kentucky.

We invite you to join us and celebrate our rich heritage at our month-long events!


This year’s parade will begin at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 8th – hope to see you there!


Support our festival programming with your donation to our community!


Pay Sponsorship here!




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Thursday Sept 6, 2018
6:00p - 8:00p
Judicial Candidate Forum


Friday Sept 7, 2018
Omar Cunningham


Omar Cunningham

Award Winning Singer, Songwriter, and Producer

One of the more prominent independent Southern soul artists of the 2000s and 2010s, Omar Cunningham is a singer with a smooth yet strong voice, as well as an accomplished songwriter. The native of Gadsden,   Alabama established his career with the group Daybreak and went on to work with the likes of Larry Blackmon and Cameo prior to releasing his solo debut, Hell at the House (2003), which reached number 53 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Although that release was his commercial peak, Cunningham steadily built a solid and unwavering solo discography that appealed to grown fans of traditionally rooted R&B. As a writer for other artists, he has charted with Willie Clayton’s “We Both Grown” feat. Dave Hollister in (2010) which reached number 84 on Billboard and has also worked with Karen Wolfe, Vick   Allen, Lacee, CoCo, Dave Mack, Big Yayo, Wendell B., Calvin Richardson, Mel Waiters, Bigg Robb, and Lenny Williams to name a few.  Omar also performed on the finale night of the 2004 Air    Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival with Alicia Keys, Cassandra Wilson and Michael McDonald. Other celebrity performers included India.Arie, Nancy Wilson, Beres Hammond, Bobby Womack, Monty Alexander, and Kenny Rogers.


For more information, please go to

Saturday Sept 8, 2018
3:00pm - 8:00pm
Upstage: Youth Competition

This is your chance to shine! Submit your performance info to Winners receive a historic performance on Stage 1! 



12:00pm - 5:00pm

It’s ALL about the kids! Join us for a FULL DAY near the corner of Short Street and Elm Tree Lane from 12pm-5pm. KidsFest is bigger than ever this year with many activities for children to learn – play – and grow!


Thank you to Sponsors:
Sonja Brooks – Sisohpromatem Art Foundation, Inc.
Marty Henton – UK CORE and their volunteers
Kentucky State University
The Explorium of Lexington
National Society of Black Engineers
Institute for Compassion in Justice
Central Ky Council for Peace and Justice
GapX The Band



The music influences and the stage presence that gave birth to the legendary group “The Gap Band” flows through “Gap Experience The Band” (GapX) founding members. The names recognized by the Gap Band nation — Oliver Scott, Raymond Calhoun, Billy Young, Roman Johnson, Baby Gap and Terry Scott unite to come to the stage once again!! The core group who wrote, recorded and toured the world as The Gap Band are bringing the original rhythm and funk back!!

This is no ordinary “tribute band” and The Gap Band nation should accept no substitutes. The original GapX members toured the world and blazed the charts with amazing hits like Outstanding, Burn Rubber On Me, You Dropped a Bomb On Me, Early In The Morning, Yearning For Your Love and Party Train. With newcomers lead singer Max C and Guitarist Marlon McClain, GapX appeals to old and new followers by staying true to the heart of their music classics and infusing contemporary production and styling that produces a sound and live performance show that is undeniably electric.


Public Announcement


Platinum Recording Artists Public Announcement have been a household name for nearly 3 decades now. The group originally teamed up with R Kelly to collaborate on their first hit album Born into the 90’s. That album brought us hits to include “Honey Love”, “Dedicated” and “Slow Dance” (Hey Mr. DJ). This album sold over a million copies domestically and went Platinum both Honey Love and Slow Dance topped the charts at #1. Their hit single “Body Bumpin” topped the Billboard Charts for many weeks at #4 R&B and #5 POP on the Billboard Charts. They were also a Top Twenty Success on the R&B/Hip Hop Charts. That single was part of the All Work, No Play album in the late 90’s. Current members are Feloney Davis, Ace Watkins and Glenn O’Neil.

Sunday Sept 9, 2018
4:00pm - 6:30pm
Gospel Celebration

Last but certainly not least is our GOSPEL CELEBRATION Sunday September 9th at 4:00pm inside the The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center

Doors open at 3:30pm! Limited Seating available and is first come first served! Be there and celebrate with Roots & Heritage! #RootsFestKy




Thank you to Sponsors:

Main Street Baptist Church

St. Peter Claver Catholic Church

Historic Pleasant Green Baptist Church

Saturday Sept 15, 2018
STEAM Summit






To sign-up online, click here. 

If you would prefer to print out and hand-write the application, click here.


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How do I become a vendor??

The Roots and Heritage Festival showcases the region’s most diverse vendors – including food, clothing, literature, music and art.
Vendors can download our Vendor Application below. We also offer an information line at 859.276.3262 for your convenience.

We encourage our vendors to purchase an official Roots & Heritage T-shirt and further support our festival of diversity.

2018 Roots & Heritage Vendor Application (PDF)

Complete 2018 Roots & Heritage Online Vendor Application






Submitted application and still need to pay?

Click Here. 




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Click here to download the Parade Entry Form | Click here to fill out a Permission Slip

Click here to download a Liability WaiverClick here for more information about the Parade 


Parade Type

Contact Us

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How to Reach Us

General Inquiries:


Parade inquiries:

Vendor inquiries:


For Music & Entertainment inquiries

Main Stage:

Youth Stage:

Gospel Stage:


For Fine Art inquiries:

For t-shirts inquiries:

Looking to be a vendor this year? Please fill out the Vendor Application above.


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Be a part of our community. Be a Sponsor!

Our month long events represents an exceptional opportunity to put your company’s brand in front of a wide audience that could have direct interest in your products. By becoming one of our sponsors, you have the chance to reach a unique targeted audience and demonstrate your businesses diverse activism within the local community.


For sponsorship information email: