Shake Rag Fest aims to preserve African American History with celebration

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The once-thriving Shake Rag District continues living in the memories of many.

The community became home to middle class African American residents, growing after the Civil War, and into the 20th century.

“That’s why we have the Shake Rag Festival, so although it’s a festival with vendors, and you’re going to hear music, the real truth of the matter is about our freedom, something that we’re still fighting for today,” says Chris Page, owner of the Shake Rag Barbershop.

Although today, the Shake Rag District has been replaced with medical buildings that continue to expand, the memory of a once thriving African American community continues to live in history.

“Similar to Juneteenth, 8th of August is celebration of freedom, it’s where the Western Kentucky region found out about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. So it’s just a way for us to get together and kind of celebrate freedom as one,” adds Shalana Page, the organizer of the Shake Rag Fest.

“This is one of the places where I first got my hair cut, it’s where my mama raised me until I went live with my father, is where we’ve been told about the predominant black businesses that they had back during that time, especially during segregation,” also says Chris Page.

Now, in an effort to preserve the rich history, Shalana Page is organizing a Shake Rag Fest, to celebrate and commemorate.

“The Shake Rag Fest is about freedom not only after American freedom, but it’s our freedom and from our bondage of slavery, not only the ones who were enslaved, but the ones who were enslaved that free to as well,” said Chris Page.

Page spoke about what you can expect at the fest.

“I’ll have small businesses vendors set up in the streets, we’ll also have food trucks as well. This year, I have Jimmy Church Band coming to perform, so everybody’s looking forward to hearing him,” added Shalana.

The fest is at 4 p.m. at 415 E. 3rd Street.

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