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DENMARK – The 2018 Dogwood Festival will bloom Friday and Saturday, April 6-7 in Denmark  with many exciting additions including entertainment by accomplished trombonist and headliner Hank Bilal.

A 2014 cum laude graduate of Benedict College, Bilal received a bachelor of arts in music performance. He has performed with celebrities at top venues.

Bilal has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Christopher Williams, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Israel and the New Breed, The Clark Sisters and John Legend. He has performed at national music events, such as The Grammy Awards, the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Birmingham City Scapes Festival and the Minnesota Vintage Band Festival.

Denmark City Councilwoman Bervay Carter, who is a member of the Dogwood Festival Committee, said, “Nine different groups (including Bilal as a solo act) are being brought in for entertainment this year.”

Bilal will perform from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 7 in downtown Denmark. The lineup with also include: from 12-12:30 p.m, Mt. Zion Baptist Church (praise and worship); from 12:30-1 p.m, The Gye Nyame Dance Ensemble (African); from 1-1:30 p.m., Minister James L. Patterson (gospel); from 1:30-2 p.m., Gra8ful (Christian rap); from 2-3 p.m., Mamie & Sue (Christian comedy); from 3-3:30 p.m., Rock the Mic; from 3:30-4 p.m., Karaline The Label; and from 6-10 p.m., Street Party featuring DJ Guice. Roland “Romo” Kinard will serve as the announcer for the entertainment.

With the excitement mounting for the upcoming festival, volunteers will keep alive the tradition of giving the giant dogwood blossoms in the city's major intersections a fresh coat of paint beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4.

The festival will officially kick off with the Dogwood Festival Pageant at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, at the Dane Theatre. Admission will be $5.

The annual Prayer Breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 6, at the Faust Multicultural Center at Denmark Technical College, with the Rev. C. Allen Moses, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, as the speaker. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Denmark City Hall or at the door.

The Dogwood Art Show will run from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, April 6, at the Jim Harrison Gallery on Carolina Highway (U.S. 321).

Festival activities Friday evening will include carnival rides, concessions and music by “DJ Big Meal” from 6-10 p.m.

The annual Dogwood Festival Parade will get under way at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 7. U.S. Army Col. Joe Daniels Bookard, a Denmark native, will lead the procession as the 2018 grand marshal.

Bookard has served multiple combat tours supporting the nation's Global War on Terrorism, and he also supported Operation Unified Response (Haiti). He has attained numerous higher degrees in military training and has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, NATO Medal (for participation in the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and various foreign parachutist badges.

Applications are still available at Denmark City hall for the Dogwood Festival Parade.

Along with all the entertainment on April 7, festival goers will be able to enjoy carnival rides, shop for arts and crafts and chow down on tasty concessions. 

Parents will also be able to have their children's vision checked that Saturday thanks to screening made possible by the Denmark Lions Club. In addition, the club will be collecting eyeglasses for children who need them.

The 2018 Dogwood Festival Committee members are Jayme Bradford Kinard, Abbie Billinghurst, Detra Salley Bruce, Bervay Carter, Betty H. Duncan, Barbara Beard, Shakora Bamberg, Gloris Gilbert, Willow D. Mathis, Dr. Anna Martin and Akayshia Donaldson.

For more information, contact Denmark City Hall at 803-793-3734 or festivaldogwood@gmail.com.

Contact the writer: rbaxley37@gmail.com.

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