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Soulfest returns to downtown Las Vegas this weekend

The Fremont Street Experience will again celebrate Black History Month when the 17th annual Taste and Sounds of Soul festival starts Friday.

“Diversity: the returns are economic, the returns are fellowshipping, the returns are networking,” said Kimberly Tureaud, who co-founded the event with her husband, Charles.

The downtown event, set for 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, will have about 30 street vendors and 25 local bands.

“People really come out here for that good food: gumbo, barbecue, ribs, Creole food and shrimp,” Kimberly Tureaud said.

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will be there to offer brain health checkups and information.

“We are the largest demographic plagued by brain disease,” she said of African-Americans. “It comes down to economics.”

Prior to the inaugural Taste and Sounds of Soul, it was known as the Minority Business Expo, Kimberly Tureaud said, and was held near D Street and Jackson Avenue.

She approached Don Barden, who was then the first black owner of a Las Vegas casino, Fitzgeralds, about co-hosting an event downtown.

“We wanted to give minority businesses an opportunity to sell their goods, to not only the locals, but the tourist market,” Charles Tureaud said. “Because they hadn’t had an opportunity before, and they still don’t.”

Once the event moved to the Fremont Street Experience, with live music and soul food, it drew a crowd of 30,000, he said.

“It started off as a success,” Charles Tureaud said. “The talent has really risen.”

For the fourth straight year, Tureaud’s Black Image Magazine will honor those who “contributed to the great diversity of Nevada” at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s really a multicultural interest and great for humanity to be embraced with the culture,” Charles Tureaud said. “We have a lot of diversity.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.

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