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Thursday, July 18, 2024

50 years of Black Expo Summer Celebration

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Indiana Black Expo (IBE) celebrates its 50th anniversary with the return of Summer Celebration after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

While the Expo’s Summer Celebration is back, changes have been made with COVID-19 safety protocols in mind. The indoor vendor market was nixed, but the Minority Business Conference, the Black and Minority Health Fair and free concert will continue. The business conference, however, will be virtual, and the free concert is in a new venue: Lucas Oil Raceway.

Indianapolis residents Cheryl McNary and Sharon Anderson have concerns about the new location for the free concert.

“Is it going to be a place where we are going to be welcomed?” McNary asked.
While IBE officials couldn’t be reached for comment, the organization released a statement in March explaining the reasons for the changes.

“Over the last six months, we have monitored the effects of COVID 19,” the statement read. “We have worked diligently with our local and statewide partners to determine how best to move forward with a safe and enjoyable Summer Celebration experience for our community.

“In making the decision on which events and initiatives to continue this year, we looked at whether large crowds can occur in sufficient open spaces where one is unlikely to get or spread COVID-19.  Because outdoor spaces are safer than indoor spaces, we decided that most of our events with large gatherings will take place in outdoor venues that provide an abundance of space or be delivered virtually.”

List of events:

July 8
Ecumenical Service
7 p.m.  — Grace Apostolic Church, 649 E. 22nd St
July 10 
50th Summer Celebration Gala
7 p.m.-12 a.m. — Indianapolis Motor Speedway, outdoor in front of the pagoda on Sixth Street.
Performance by After 7
$125 per person
July 12
Minority Business Conference
IBE Headquarters, 601 N. Shortridge Road
Features a free virtual roundtable discussion but pre-registration required.
To register, visit indianablackexpo.com.
July 13-15
Indiana University Education Conference 
Free but pre-registration needed.
To register, visit indianablackexpo.com.
July 16-18
Black and Minority Health Fair
Indianapolis Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave.
Offers free screenings and examinations, valued at more than $2,000 as well as free demonstrations and presentations.
Hours of operation
July 16-17: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
July 18: Noon-6 p.m.
July 16 
Free Outdoor Concert
6-11:30 p.m. — Lucas Oil Raceway, 10267 U.S. Highway 136
Performances by Keith Sweat, Stephanie Mills, Johnny Gill and El DeBarge. Doors open at 2 p.m. Free admission; $50 VIP seating.
July 17
All White Affair 
10 p.m.-3 a.m. — The Pavilion at Pan Am Plaza, 216 Illinois St.
Hosted by DJ Kid Capri and features Dru Hill and Raheem DeVaughn 
General admission is $50; VIP is $100. Ticket prices increase at the door. 
For tickets, visit eventbrite.com.
July 18 
Virtual Gospel Concert
4 p.m. — Online. More information will be announced closer to performance date. 

For more information on the Black Expo Summer Celebration, visit summercelebration.net.

Contact staff writer Abriana Herron at 317-924-5143. Follow her on Twitter @Abri_onyai.

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