LEXINGTON, Ky. — The annual Roots and Heritage festival returned this weekend after a 2-year hiatus, and those that contributed to the festivities are sharing their thoughts about its in-person return. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Roots and Heritage festival is back in-person with events and more after the pandemic restrictions are lifted

  • A parade kicked-off the second day of the festival

  • Vendors, people, officials and more took part in the weekend-long celebration

  • The Roots and Heritage festival is in its 32nd year

The streets outside of Lexington’s Lyric Theater were filled with excitement from families and officials to performers and vendors.

Corethia Gill, one of the many vendors in the festival’s marketplace and owner of “Coree’s Sippie Dippie Lemonade,” served people both sweet and sour refreshments.

Gill is a native of Lexington and began selling what she calls her “world famous” lemonade in 2017. Like many during the time, she says the pandemic put a pause on her business expansion plans. 

Owner of "Coree's Sippie Dippie" smiles in front of her business before helping other guest. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

In 2021, the festival was held virtually where speakers, performers and more shared in a changed celebration.

This year, Gill and the business got to see sizeable crowds and lots of support from friends, family and supporters of the event.

She says her lemonade starts and ends with love.  

“I actually started with my best friend and my family, and it’s not about the money. You know, we love doing it. It’s good, it’s the best lemonade,” she said.

The festival celebrates African American culture and diversity by connecting people to fresh foods, clothing, live-music and customs.

A parade kicked off Saturday’s events with marching bands, organizations and candidates who performed and greeted people along the sides. 

A motorcade leads the beginning of the parade down towards the Lyric theater where crowds waited. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

Geo Gibson and the Operation Making a Change, also referred to as “OMAC,” say they typically attend annually.

“We weren’t here last year, but it’s always good to visit the Roots and when we’re called, we just like to come out and support the community the best we can,” Gibson said.

Gill says she’s also happy to be back and uniting with her people. 

“Seeing everybody coming together, enjoying the fest, the concert , the music, the food and just coming together as one, it’s always good.” 

The weekend festival wrapped up with its traditional gospel-themed events on Sunday.

Lexingtons Roots and Heritage festival has operated for over 30-years.