Auburn Avenue festival adds crime rally to annual event

"Take a Stand against Crime and Violence" will kick off the fall festival at Dobb’s Plaza, located at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Fort Street. The rally will start at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Charles Johnson, director of the annual "Sweet Auburn" festivals  said the rally is timely.

“Crime and violence seems to be a priority on everyone’s agenda, and rightfully so,” he said. “ We are letting criminals run this city. The men and women of the police department can’t do it on their own.”

Johnson said by using the festival as a vehicle to bring everyone together on this issue, more can be done.

“It is important that we come from behind the four walls of our establishments and churches,” he said. “If we stand together we can lick this crime problem.”

For more than 20 years, the Sweet Auburn Festival has been held in Atlanta, Johnson said.

“It has been a chance for people to come back and re-discover Auburn Avenue and Edgewood Avenue,” he said. “It has always been an opportunity to tell the history of the street and keep the street and its history present.”

Last year organizers of the festival held voter registration drives during the festival.

Each year, the Sweet Auburn festival shuts down Auburn from Spring Street to Boulevard. Vendors, artists, and musicians and restaurant owners line the street selling anything from handmade clothing, to art, and meals. This year's festival will also include a health and fitness fair along with "Kid's Fun Zone" and a bid whist tournament in the Odd Fellows Atrium.

Auburn Avenue, once called the richest street in Black America, was were the the first black-owned insurance company, Atlanta Life Insurance Company, as well as Ebenezer Baptist Church, once led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and WERD, the first radio station owned and operated by African-Americans, were all located.

For more information on the festival, visit www.sweetauburn.com.

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