The Washington Times - July 1, 2009, 11:17PM

Baltimore, MD…Celebrate Independence Day at the 8th Annual African American Heritage Festival held in Baltimore from July 3-5 at the M&T Bank Stadium.

Celebrating our nations independence alongside the history, culture, education, heritage and arts that reflect the rich African American traditions of Baltimore, the event will also feature carnival rides, new educational and historical exhibits and an interactive children’s area.

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Kicking off the festival singer Teena Marie (Congo Square) appears on Friday evening followed by En Vogue and a July 4th Fireworks celebration on Saturday. Sunday will feature the incomparable Anita Baker, R&B and soul songstress . Visitors can also enjoy performances by Tony Toni Toné, Chubb Rock, Rob Base, Laura Izibor and others throughout the weekend.

Adding to the weekends events, there will also be a number of specialized “villages” offering free educational, financial and health services information along with exhibits from the Reginald F. Lewis and National Great Blacks in Wax Museums, a spelling bee competition, fashion show, step show, family reunion planning resources and much more.

General admission tickets are $5 and children 12 and under are free. New this year, the Main Stage concerts will also feature a limited amount of reserved seating available via Ticketmaster for $40, $50 and $80. This includes admission into the festival grounds and activities.

In addition to the Annual African American Heritage Festival, visitors can also experience July 4th–themed activities at a variety of popular Baltimore attractions including Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine where there will be a public reading of the Declaration of Independence, cannon firing, period dancing and games.

At Port Discovery Children’s Museum the first fifty children to visit on July 4th will have the opportunityto make a star for the Port Discovery’s Grand Ol’ Flag.

There will also be live entertainment at the Inner Harbour Amphitheatre on July 4th along with fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m.

The 411:

For the City of Baltimore Official Tourism, visit http://baltimore.org/

For more information on the African American Heritage Festival, visit www.ahhf.net.

Information on special Baltimore hotel offerings can be found online at www.baltimore.org/packages.

Information on Anita Baker http://www.anitabaker.com

Information on Teena Marie http://www.officialteenamarie.com/