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Organizers are seeking more participants for several events in this year's African-American Family Festival in Vincent D'Amelio Center Court Park, 15th Street and Centre Avenue.

It will last from 4 p.m. to dusk on Aug. 8, and from 10 a.m. to dusk Aug. 9 and 10.

The free event is sponsored by the Niagara Community Center Association.

Festival chairman Renwick Feagin said the festival was originally called "Black Fest," and was held in E. Dent Lackey Plaza downtown when it began about 20 years ago. After a few years, it was moved to Center Court.

"It shows the pride of our community," Feagin said. "A lot of people have migrated down South, but they come back for this."

Besides the popular standbys, a midway with rides has been added to the festival calendar for the first time, Feagin said.

Attendance averages more than 15,000 each year, Feagin said.

Feagin and talent director Tony Newsome said they are still looking for registrants for everything from the talent show to the three-on-three basketball tournament.

The talent show, scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 and 4 p.m. Aug. 9, will be hosted by local comedian Ella Moore and Adelphia Cable host David Allen. Newsome said the deadline for auditions is Thursday , but some walk-ons will be permitted at the performances.

The basketball tournament sign-up deadline is Friday . There will be competition Aug. 8 and 9 in the age 15-18 and 19-and-over classifications. There is a $10 entry fee, and the winning team will take half of the fees paid in its division. A full-court all-star game is set for 2 p.m. Aug. 9, as two local squads, the Elite Gentlemen Productions All-Stars and the Too Tall All-Stars, do battle.

Gospel soloists, quartets, and choirs are also being solicited for the Aug. 10 Gospel Festival.

The association is also seeking more food vendors. Feagin said vendors will be asked to put a prize up for a raffle, and will also be eligible to enter the festival cook-off. There are prizes for the best barbecued chicken and the best ribs.

Entries are due Friday for the annual youth essay and poster contests. This year's theme is "A New Beginning for the African-American Family and What It Means to You." Essays are limited to 150 words; posters must be 11 by 17 inches. Both contests have three age groups ranging from 8 to 18 years old.

Entry forms for these and other events are available at the Niagara Community Center, 1364 Centre Ave., or by calling 285-2920.

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