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Hundreds attend third annual Banana Festival

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Hundreds of Sacramentans and their families attended the third annual banana festival, Bananarama, on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in William Land Park.

The first day of the weekend-long event proved to be a success: Festival goers walked through the park with frozen chocolate-covered bananas on sticks, banana lemonade, banana splits and other banana-themed treats as music played through loudspeakers and multicultural dance groups took to the central stage.

At the large community stage, groups including the Silk Dancers, the Samba Da Terra Brazil dancers, and the Polynesian group Samoa Sila Sila performed in traditional dress; other performing groups included the Tina B. Soul Line Dancers and the Ras D reggae band.

In addition to watching the festival’s performers, younger festival goers sat around the smaller children’s stage to listen to storytelling and musicians perform, raced go-karts on a miniature track and took part in the Little Miss and Mr Banana contest.

“I love the multicultural part, the music, the entertainment, the kids, the families – and of course bananas,” said Tina Baltimore, who performed with her group Tina B. Soul Line Dancers. “We’ve danced three years in a row.”

The festival, put on by the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum, benefitted both the museum’s own youth arts program and 20 other Sacramento-area nonprofit organizations. “This (turnout) is so much better than last year,” said Teri Berry, an assistant to the festival’s founding director, Shonna McDaniels.

The festival continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5, and children younger than 7 enter free.

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