Hometown heroes to highlight Founders Weekend Festival

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NEWARK, NJ — Newark Celebration 350 presents Newark’s local hometown heroes and international recording artists Faith Evans, Naughty by Nature, Cissy Houston and India at the Founders Weekend Festival Celebrating 350 Years of Newark’s arts, culture and community as one of America’s great historical cities, a free event at Military Park, 51 Park Place, Newark, from Friday, May 13, to Sunday, May 15.

Kicking off the festival on Friday, May 13, it’s multi-platinum Grammy Award winning recording artist, songwriter, arranger and record producer Faith Evans, known for hit songs “I’ll Be Missing You,” “You Used to Love Me,” “He Is” and more. Evans is set to perform at 7 p.m. DJ Felix Hernandez then takes the stage from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

On Saturday, May 14, at 5 p.m., it’s Stefon Harris with the United States Air Force premier jazz ensemble, the Airmen of Note. Then Newark’s first rap group to garner international success, Naughty by Nature, is set to perform their timeless classic hits “Hip Hop Hooray,”  “O.P.P.” and more at 7:15 p.m. DJ Bobby Trends takes the stage from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

On Sunday, May 15, at 4 p.m., kicking off the finale of the festival and taking everyone to church, it’s Cissy Houston and gospel choir Jubilation. Then, at 5:30 p.m., the one and only India, “The Princess of Salsa,” who will get everyone dancing in the streets of Newark celebrating the 350th anniversary founding of one of America’s greatest cities.

“Newark Celebration 350 Founders Weekend Festival will be a shining moment in Newark’s history when we look back on this milestone celebratory year and at the number of extraordinary events and programs celebrating our city’s incredible past and bright future,” said NC 350 Chairman Junius Williams. “Newark has always been a great city for great music. We are proud to present this exceptional lineup of Newark’s finest hometown grown talent who have gone on to become international superstars and changed the world with their gifts. Our city and citizens deserve a reminder of our heritage and we hope that everyone will come together to enjoy this weekend.”

“I commend NC350 for taking this opportunity to recognize the incredible artistry that is part of the tapestry of the heritage of our city. From Wilson Avenue to Mount Prospect Street and from Lyons Avenue to Broad Street – and all of the neighborhoods and communities in between –Newark boasts a wealth of talent,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “It is my hope that these performances will encourage and inspire others in our community to share their untapped gifts and expertise with the city.”

In addition to a stellar music lineup, festival-goers can also look forward to enjoying performances that reflect the city’s heralded traditions of dance and spoken word poetry and offerings of the city’s diverse and ethnic cuisine at the NC 350 North Ward Food Truck Festival. Festival highlights include the Kidz Korner, a family fun activity area, a local arts and crafts fair as well as public art exhibitions including Newark’s proclaimed “peace ambassadors,” the Animodules. The new edition of these three-dimensional sculptures created by students and senior citizens in the communities under the direction of professional artists will be unveiled and erected outside of New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In addition, the Festival Expo will offer community outreach programs for health screenings, voter registration and information services by city and social service agencies and nonprofit organizations. This not to be missed extraordinary weekend of festivities and programs invites city residents and visitors to experience the very best of Newark during this historic milestone year. More talent and programs to be announced in the coming weeks. Please visit nc350.org for updates.