The annual Phoenix Fest took place Saturday, Oct. 4, on Fayetteville Street just outside of the Phoenix Square Shopping Center.
The festival is a yearly event that allows people to network and socialize.
“This goes on every year,” said Michelle Jackson, a vendor at the festival. “I own a business in the complex; I try and register every year.”
The festival took off with an hour-long parade that began at 9 a.m., featuring high school bands, non-profit organizations, and recreationalgroups.
“We get automatically get a slot because we are independent workers in this area, we do have to register but sometimes we don’t have to pay for our booth,” said Jackson.
Several vendors lined the block selling handmade jewelry, African art, and clothing. Some venders offered samples, and sold products at retail price. Each had their own personalized booth.
“I enjoyed seeing the different shops and food,” said Lakerra Lewis. “I’m not from North Carolina so it’s interesting to see what this community has to offer.”
The booths even offered voter registration.
“We’re here doing voter registration, as well as giving important voter information and important dates for the upcoming races,” said Tara Nichols, Social Action committee chair for the Durham alumni chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. “We’ve done this for a number of years and it’s something we keep on our calendar.”
She said the festival “gives people a chance to network in a positive environment.”
Artists also performed during Phoenix Fest, and several sold their music and merchandise at a booth near the stage.
“I think it’s very positive,” said Vicki Patterson, a vendor at the festival. “It allows us a chance to get together and network, to communicate on a positive term.”
She said the festival was a business opportunity where they can expand to new customers.
“We’re promoting Bad Girl Bail Bonds,” said Patterson. “It’s my close friend’s business and I’m promoting for her. We were raised here and we know how brutality is in this community. We want to serve.”
The festival even motivated newcomers to register for next year’s parade.
“This is my first time here and I’m enjoying it,” said Jhordan Perry, a musician and artist who lives in Durham. “It looks nice, I honestly wasn’t expecting this much I like supporting independent businesses. Just coming here I think I would be interested in participating next year or the year after.”