The sun always seems to shine on the ROOTS Picnic. And last Sunday was no exception, when the 44th Annual event was held at Sam Smith Park next to the Northwest African American Museum.
Black families from the Seattle area and around Washington state have been gathering at an annual summer picnic since the early 70’s, when a group of friends lead by Arline and Letcher Yarbough decided it might be nice to establish a regular reunion. They formally named it Relatives of Old Timers of Seattle (R.O.O.T.S. for short)
This year’s event was highlighted by a tribute to Ernestine Anderson, the Seattle Jazz legend who passed away in March of this year. Grace Holden, 86, herself a renowned jazz vocalist, narrated the life of Ernestine while talented singers Darelle Holden, “Lady A” Anita White and Josephine Howell honored Ms. Anderson with beautiful renditions of some of the songs she loved the most.
At the end of a long day of eating barbecue, enjoying amazing entertainment and most of all, visiting and reminiscing with old friends and family, the several hundred attendees packed up their belongs and headed for their cars, already looking forward to next years picnic. Big things are planned for the 45th Anniversary and everyone is invited.