JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — One of the festivals in our area provides a unique way to celebrate diversity. With music, kids activities, and local resources displayed, the Umoja Festival champions the idea of bringing everyone together.

The sound of drums filled the air in downtown Johnson City as the 26th annual Umoja Festival began. Volunteer Jasmine Henderson says hearing this type of music may be a first for some.

“So, this is a festival that has that diverse music,” Henderson said. “Of course, we appreciate music in all forms, but gospel, R&B, rap, is diverse and so my favorite part is the music.”

Of the 30,000 people estimated to visit the two-day festival, Henderson likes to talk with first-time visitors who may have stumbled upon Umoja.

“We try to make this space very welcoming and open for all people,” she said. “We have an awesome kids area, so a lot of families love to bring their kids and enjoy the free activities.”

And that’s what organizers want: a space where everyone is welcome, and everyone is celebrated.

“We need to understand each other more,” Henderson said. “We need to celebrate each other more. We don’t need to be afraid of our differences. They’re actually tools to make us stronger. And so the more we learn about each other, the more we understand each other, the better our little world will be.”