New England BIPOC Fest moving to Strawbery Banke Museum of Portsmouth in 2024

Special to Seacoastonline
Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH — The New England BIPOC Fest, a celebration of diversity and the Seacoast’s Black and Indigenous people of color, announced its relocation to the historic grounds of Strawbery Banke Museum on Aug. 18, 2024. This annual event, founded by David Vargas, owner of Vida Cantina, Evan Mallett, owner of Black Trumpet, and Joanna Kelley, owner of Cup of Joe Café & Bar, has grown exponentially since its inception and has now found a new home to accommodate its expanding reach. 

This year, the festival takes on new significance as it relocates to the picturesque setting of Strawbery Banke Museum, known for its dedication to preserving and sharing the rich history of the Portsmouth area. 

New England BIPOC Fest moves to Strawbery Banke Museum for 2024 celebration

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we've received from the community over the years, but it's clear that the event has outgrown its original location,” said Evan Mallett, co-founder of the New England BIPOC Fest. “Moving New England BIPOC Fest to Strawbery Banke not only offers us the space we need to expand but also provides a historic backdrop that enhances the cultural significance of the festival."

Joanna Kelley, Portsmouth's assistant mayor, and Strawbery Banke Museum Trustee, emphasizes the importance of this move, stating, "Bringing the New England BIPOC Fest to Strawbery Banke aligns with our mission of creating inclusive spaces that honor the diversity of our community's history. By hosting this event at such a historically significant venue, we are highlighting the contributions of Black and Indigenous people of color to our region's past, present, and future."

Organized by Cultivate, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2023, and Marie Collins, Cultivate treasurer and UNH Ph.D. candidate, the New England BIPOC Fest is dedicated to furthering the mission of cultivating conversations and collective action about the important threads of equity and social justice that hold us all together. 

New England BIPOC Fest moves to Strawbery Banke Museum for 2024 celebration

The 2024 New England BIPOC Fest promises to be a day filled with music, art, food, and community connections, showcasing the talents and contributions of BIPOC individuals in the Seacoast area. Attendees can look forward to a diverse lineup of performers, artisans, and food vendors, as well as interactive workshops and discussions promoting dialogue and education.

New England BIPOC Fest moves to Strawbery Banke Museum for 2024 celebration

Additionally, attendees are encouraged to tour Strawbery Banke Museum’s nearly 10 acres, historic houses, and heirloom gardens free of charge during the event. 

“Hosting the New England BIPOC Fest is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts to further Strawbery Banke’s dedication to inclusivity and equity,” said Linnea Grim, Strawbery Banke President and CEO, Thomas W. Haas Endowed Chair. “We're delighted to announce that museum admission will be free for all attendees on Sunday, August 18, offering individuals the opportunity to tour the historic buildings and see initiatives related to Abenaki and Black history.”

As preparations for the festival are underway, organizers are seeking sponsors to help offset the costs of holding this impactful event. Sponsorship levels and opportunities are available atnewenglandbipocfest.com/sponsorships.

Information and updates: newenglandbipocfest.com