curate your kwanzaa experience!

Celebrate culture, community and creative expression at NJPAC’s annual Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace! Join the hundreds of families who make the free Kwanzaa Family Festival part of their annual celebration. It’s a full day of uplifting programs based on the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Choose from among dozens of activities and find the ones that ignite your spirit.

The Family Festival coincides with the popular Kwanzaa Marketplace taking place over two floors of the Arts Center from 9AM – 9PM. Shop one-of-a-kind items from local crafters and artisans such as custom and cultural clothing, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, bath and body products, crystals, artwork, books and more. NJPAC’s Community Engagement makes Kwanzaa magical … and memorable.

Check out our selection of free activities and live performances below.

Date: Dec 23, 2023 | Time: 9AM-9PM | Location: njpac


From 9AM – 2PM enjoy holiday-infused activities including dance classes, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting and a candle lighting ceremony. Free live performances take place in the Prudential Hall Lobby every hour from 10AM – 9PM including energetic choreography — with audience participation! —  by Umoja Dance Company and Zawadi African Dance & Drum, Inc.

UMOJA (Unity)

Umoja’s is centered around achieving and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation and race. The activities associated with this principle celebrate coming together and moving in unity to the uplifting rhythms of drum beats and dance forms influenced by deep-rooted African culture and traditions.

Chase Room – Dance

10:00 AM 10:45 AM West African Warm Up Zawadi African Dance and Drum
11:00 AM 11:45 AM Jersey Club Anthony “Solo” Harris
12:00 PM 12:45 PM West African Umoja Dance Company

Community Room – Dance

10:00 AM 10:45 AM Afrobeats Adeola Fashina
11:00 AM 11:45 AM Capoeira Contramestra Amazonas
12:00 PM 12:45 PM Salsa Smiling David’s Dance School


KUJICHAGULIA (Self Determination)

The principle of Kujichagulia centers on defining, naming, creating and speaking for ourselves. Express your self-determination through creativity and Kwanzaa-related arts and crafts projects.

East Shadowbox

10:00 AM 3:00 PM Food Pantry

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)

Ujamaa is about collectively benefitting from businesses by building and maintaining our own stores and shops. Support local Black-owned merchants with an expanded Artisan Marketplace. Dozens of vendors cover two floors of NJPAC selling one-of-a-kind handcrafts, jewelry, soaps, lotions, clothes, art and much more for your gift-giving needs. At the same time, support local musicians, dancers, and artists who will share live performances in the Prudential Lobby.

Prudential Hall Lobby – Performances

9:00 AM 9:15 AM Kwanzaa Opening & Welcome Mayor Ras Baraka and Baba Abdel Salaam
10:00 AM 10:15 AM Performance 1 Orange High School Dance
10:15 AM 10:30 AM Performance 2 Clubhouse Newark
11:00 AM 11:15 AM Performance 3 Infinite Step Team, Columbia High School
11:15 AM 11:30 AM Performance 4 Pzazz Dance Group, Smiling David’s Dance School
12:00 PM 12:15 PM Performance 5 New Jersey Kids Fashion Week
12:15 PM 12:30 PM Performance 6 Bashful LLC
1:00 PM 1:15 PM Performance 7 Zawadi African Dance and Drum
1:15 PM 1:30 PM Performance 8 Umoja Dance Company

3:15 PM 3:30 PM Performance 10 Line Dance with Najah Riker
4:00 PM 4:15 PM Performance 11 Premiere Dance Theatre
4:15 PM 4:30 PM Performance 12 DEW Ministries Liturgical Dance
5:00 PM 5:20 PM BANTABA Kwanzaa Story with Dr. Akil Khalfani and
Procession of the Elders
5:15 PM 5:30 PM Performance 13 BellaStar


7:00 PM 7:15 PM Performance 14 Division X
8:00 PM 8:15 PM Performance 15 Euphony

KUUMBA (Creativity)

Kuumba encourages us to always do what we can to improve and leave our community more beautiful than we inherited it. With this principle in mind, participate in activities that beautify the body and benefit the soul.

Victoria Theater Lobby – Face Painting & Storytelling

9:15 AM 2:00 PM Face Painting Debbie Kirkland
Holly Mess Face Painting
Sheilla Reis
Trust for Public Land
9:15 AM 10:30 AM Reading Newark Public Library
10:30 AM 10:45 AM reading & creative activity Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
11:00 AM 11:30 AM Reading Newark Public Library
11:30 AM 12:00 AM reading & creative activity Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
12:00 PM 12:45 PM Reading Newark Public Library
12:45 PM 1:25 PM reading & creative activity Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
7:00 PM 9:00 PM DJ with Silent Dance Party GalleryRetail

Ryan Gallery – Arts & Crafts

10:00 AM 2:00 PM Arts & Crafts Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., North Jersey Alumnae Chapter
10:00 AM 2:00 PM Dance with Me Eyes Like Mine
10:00 AM 2:00 PM Mosaic Art Project GlassRoots
10:00 AM 2:00 PM Arts & Crafts Newark Museum of Art
10:00 AM 2:00 PM Mask Making Cassandra George

IMANI (Faith)

Imani asks us to believe, with all of our hearts, in our people, parents, teachers and leaders and in the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

West Shadowbox – Health and Wellness

10:00 AM 3:00 PM CPR Demonstration Weequahic Park Sports Authority
10:00 AM 3:00 PM Blood Pressure Screenings Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

UJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility)

Ujima is centered on actively building and maintaining our community. Individual problems become our collective responsibility and we work together to overcome them. Break through your creative challenges with help from our engaged partners who will facilitate art projects and nurture your creative expression.

Tier 2 Hallway, Faux Boxes & Corridor – Community Partners

9:00 AM 2:00 PM Vendors and Tabling AARP Newark
Bashful LLC
Clinton Hill Community Action
Newark Arts
Newark People’s Assembly
Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa
Source of Knowledge
Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ
Umoja Dance Company
United Parks as One

NIA (Purpose)

Nia is about making our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore African people to their traditional greatness.

Parsonnet Room – Percussion and Discussion

10:15 AM 11:00 AM Family Panel Discussion: Neighborhood vs. Community Roots and Bridges
11:15 AM 12:00 PM Drumming Workshop Umoja Dance Company
12:15 PM 1:00 PM Grief Healing Circle & Honoring Our Ancestors Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss

See a show while you’re here!

The Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace is presented in collaboration with 30 partners:

+ AARP Newark, Adeola Fashina; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Bashful LLC; BellaStar; Cassandra George; Clubhouse Newark; Debbie Kirkland; Division X; Euphony; Holly Mess Face Painting; LaRocque Bey School of Dance; New Jersey Department of Children and Families; Newark People’s Assembly; Orange High School Dance; Roots and Bridges; Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa; Sheilla Reis; The Department of Child Protection and Permanency; and Weequahic Park Sports Authority.

Supported by:


NJPAC’s Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace are made possible through the generosity of Leon and Toby Cooperman.