MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - History books have always told us that back in the 1800's, slaves that escaped plantations would flee to the northern "free states" and even further to Canada.
However, researchers found that a small group of escaped slaves came to Manatee county - specifically the Manatee Mineral Spring - and created a community there, eventually known as Angola.
That community lasted until 1821 when an Indian war party raided the settlement and burned down most of the homes. The survivors then fled to Red Bays, Bahamas. Daphney Towns is from the Bahamas and up until a year ago she had no idea she was a descendant of the Angola community. She's now the organizer of the "Back to Angola Festival" that kicks off today. The three day festival commemorates the history of the Angola community and celebrates the Bahamian culture. "We'll have main staples of the Bahamas - fresh conch and other fresh food flown in from the Bahamas just for the festival," said Towns.
The Back to Angola Festival - featuring live Bahamian music Friday and Saturday, as well as wood carvers, basket weavers and food vendors specializing in Bahamian cuisine. The festival runs Friday (4-8pm), Saturday (Noon-8pm), and Sunday (4-8pm) at Manatee Mineral Springs Park, 1312 Second Ave. East in Bradenton. The festival admission is FREE.
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