DALLAS –– Citing the need to offer attendees free health screenings, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price announced Friday that his annual KwanzaaFest is back on.
Last week, Price announced that the festival would not be returning to Fair Park for a 23rd year because too many sponsors had backed out. Even with a surprise $40,000 donation from a donor, organizing the festival before the weekend of Dec. 14 was too much to ask of its volunteers.
On Friday, he went back on that statement.
In a release, Price writes that “good men and women called in flurries to join the hundreds of volunteers who make our vision a reality every year" after seeing media coverage announcing the cancellation.
In the past five years, Price writes, physicians participating in the HealthFest portion of the festival have performed 175,163 screenings, which, according to the commisioner, has an estimated value of more than $4 million. When co-founder Thomas Muhammad hinted that the 2013 KwanzaaFest wouldn’t happen, the majority of the public outcry was that the free health services would have to be procured elsewhere.
“It was the place where a lot of people went to get their care and it leaves a hole in our continuum of care to lose KwanzaaFest,” County Judge Clay Jenkins told News 8 earlier this week.
The HealthFest offers HIV screenings, vision tests, mammograms, blood pressure tests and more. The American Cancer Society, Carter BloodCare, the American Heart Association and representatives from Parkland Memorial Hospital and Dallas County Health and Human Services join myriad other health groups present at the fair.
For KwanzaaFest, Price says radio stations K104 and 105.7 Smooth R&B have volunteered to pay for all the national recording acts.
Last year, it cost nearly $87,000. Price said this year’s operating budget was just under $62,000. He has dismissed any assertion that federal investigation against him had anything to do with sponsors backing out.
KwanzaaFest will be at Fair Park on Dec. 14 and 15.