Julian Frederick

Julian Frederick

The 2019 Fall Fest, organized by the African American History Committee, will feature a young chef and entrepreneur, rhyming contest winners and performances from a wide variety of entertainers and organizations.

Fall Fest is noon-4 p.m. Nov. 16 at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St. The African American History Committee is part of Indianapolis Public Library.

The highlight of the free event this year is 11-year-old Julian Frederick, otherwise known as the Step Stool Chef. Frederick is the CEO and head chef of his own enterprise and works to inspire other children to be leaders. He partnered with the White House for the Let’s Move Campaign and is the author of his own cookbook for children.

Frederick will give a presentation and sign copies of his book.

“I get annoyed when people say, ‘Oh he’s a chef,’” Frederick told the Dallas Observer last year. “No, I’m a not a chef. I’m a businessperson trying to get the word out that kids can build confidence and independence through cooking.”

Cordia Watkins, the main organizer for the event, said Frederick will be the youngest presenter Fall Fest has ever had.

“He is just a very positive role model for young people,” she said. “… I think it’s important we highlight young people doing great things.”

Fall Fest will also feature winners from the Teen Slammin’ Rhymes Challenge. Students in grades 6 through 12 submitted poems, raps and spoken word pieces earlier this year, and 10 selections will be performed at Fall Fest.

The theme for the event this year is “In It To Win It,” which is intended to inspire youth and encourage a positive self-image while building confidence and character.

Other performances and entertainment will come from Dr. Leonard Scott and Shawn Cowherd, B.E.A.T.S. Music, Gladiator Skating, the Pike Devil Dancers from Pike High School and Indianapolis Youth Poet Laureate Alyssa Gaines.

Watkins said attendees shouldn’t expect to be passive observers.

“This is not a program that you just come to and sit and watch,” she said. “All of our entertainers … we ask them to do some audience participation.”

In the past, Watkins said, guests have taught attendees how to dance and DJ.

Watkins emphasized that Fall Fest is a family event — it used to be called Family Fall Fest — where the goal is to “promote positive works of African American people and its culture and also to educate people out here in the community.”

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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