BBQ and blues at annual Stone Soul Festival in Springfield

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds will be gathering at Blunt Park throughout the weekend for the annual Stone Soul Festival.

City officials, police officers, and Springfield residents gathered for an annual Labor Day weekend tradition.

The Stone Soul Festival kicked off Saturday morning. It is a celebration of the community and a time where people from all over the country come back home to Springfield.

“It’s a great festival for everyone in the community to get together,” said Shirley Homes. “People who lived here in Massachusetts who have gone and moved away come back for the festival. We look forward to seeing people we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Every year the festival begins with a parade through the city. It kicks off right from Rebecca M. Johnson School and ends in Blunt Park.

Stone Soul Festival began in the 1980s as a community reunion picnic for the Mason Square community. It has since evolved into a 3-day festival and become New England’s largest African-American festival.

“Us in Springfield, we come together,” resident Desire Willias told 22News. “We come even if it’s the Pancake Breakfast or whatever. We come in we work hard, we just grow as a community.”

The festival wraps up Sunday evening. All of the events and food this weekend are free.

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