Summer is traditionally Family Reunion Fun time in Greater Fort Lauderdale. This year, familiar sites that offer year-round activities are also featuring major cultural and sporting events, attracting travelers of African descent.
The Young Circle ArtsPark in downtown Hollywood offers splash and play recreation, close encounters with working artists, free outdoor movies, and proximity to a thoroughfare of restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and outdoor music. In June, Caribbean Heritage Month, the fifth annual Colors of the Caribbean once again took over the south Broward ArtsPark for a day of food, arts and crafts, soca and reggae, as well as a children’s activity zone.
The celebration of Caribbean heritage continued with the upscale Carib Style Week in June in the center of the county showcasing the creations of cutting edge, up-and-coming Caribbean fashion designers with VIP parties, parades of Carnival bands, performances, and special guests.
More than a mall, the renovated and expanded Westfield Broward has emerged as a year-round multicultural, intergenerational meeting place for shopping, dining, and entertainment, part of the CVB’S initiative to highlight the appeal of locales beyond the beach as an affordable tourism hub. “We are creating a partnership that is something very unique, creating venues for Caribbeans and opportunities to bring people to Central Broward hotels and Westfield.” said Albert Tucker, Vice President for Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The South Florida Book Festival and Literary Conference took over the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in July. The festival is one of the nation’s fastest-growing and premiere literary events attracting readers and high-caliber, award-winning African American and Caribbean authors. The Library continues to be a main attraction for families, offering specially-arranged tours, genealogy research, and cultural programs that appeal to diverse groups.
The American Tennis Association, the oldest Black sports organization in the U.S., turns 100 this year, and the group returns to Greater Fort Lauderdale with its 99th Annual National Championships July 31-Aug.7. Amateur players ages 8 to 80 and tennis enthusiasts from major cities around the U.S. and the Virgin Islands converge on the area to watch matches and participate in activities promoting the sport and Black youth development.
The ATA has been a training ground for legendary African American players and contemporary talent and continues to nurture promising young athletes. A permanent home for the ATA is planned in the city of Miramar, southwest of Fort Lauderdale, which will include a Tennis Hall of Fame that future visiting families can enjoy.