PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The sound of African drumming filled City Hall on Tuesday morning. It was part of a celebration to mark the return of the nation's largest African American cultural festival.
"Odunde is a whole vibe," said Oshunbumi Fernandez-West, CEO of Odunde.
Odunde began as a festival in 1975 and has grown into a non-profit organization that holds year-round cultural programs.
Founded by Lois Fernandez, the major event draws thousands of people to South Philadelphia for the festival, but they couldn't gather for the last two years because of COVID-19 concerns.
After a two-year hiatus, the Odunde Festival is back. It'll take place on June 12 along South Street between 20th and 24th streets and the surrounding area. The city provided $250,000 in funding to help bring the festivities back to South Street.
"That's what it's about, making sure that this tradition lasts a lifetime," said Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson.
Fernandez-West, who is the daughter of the founder of Odunde, says the event has a huge impact.
"Odunde has a $28M economic impact on the city of Philadelphia in 10 hours," she said. "No other festival can do that."
Beyond the economic impact is the cultural impact. Rooted in the tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, the dancing, food, and items available at the free festival all foster a sense of community.
It's something the city of Philadelphia needs right now.
"We need to stop this violence. We are more than the violence we are having in this city," said Fernandez-West.
"It's one of the premier events for our city. It's peaceful, it's wonderful," said Mayor Jim Kenney.
Organizers encourage all families and individuals to come out to Odunde promising a safe, fun time.
There are also several events leading up to the festival including a breakfast giveaway and African and Caribbean business round table discussions.
Click here for a complete list of Odunde activities.