Soul of Second Street Festival returns to Danville in August

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the Soul of Second Street Festival returns to downtown Danville on Saturday, Aug. 27. Held at Constitution Square Park, the event is a celebration of Danville’s African American legacy.

“We are really excited to be back,” said program coordinator Michael Hughes. “This event means so much to the African American community.”

Saturday’s festivities include live entertainment, including Gospel and other music and skits – as well as fan favorite “The Glory Train” – local and regional food vendors; merchandise booths with arts and crafts, t-shirts and more; kids activities; displays; and other fun.

In tandem with the event, the much anticipated “We Were Here” opens at the Norton Center on the Centre College campus. Featuring the production and displays, this is the story of African American life and experience in Danville and Boyle County.

(Second Street in Danville as it appeared in the 1960s)

Before the festival gets underway, a History Conference will take place on Friday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. at the Boyle County Public Library.

The festival is an event of the Danville-Boyle County African American Historical Society (DBCAAHS).

“We organized the African American Historical Society in 2013,” said Hughes, who originally proposed the event in 2014. “A lot of people were aware of the history, but we didn’t have a place to gather. I wanted to be able to celebrate, to come together to celebrate the African American community.”

Hughes recalled the DBCAAHS searched for and tossed around different names for the event before Missy Angolia suggested calling it the Soul of Second Street Festival.

“I knew that was it,” said Hughes.

(Second Street in Danville, with a building adjacent to the McDowell House that is no longer standing)

The first event took place in 2015.

“What made it real for me was that first year, when two ladies who hadn’t seen each other for over 50 years came to the festival,” Hughes said. “They were best buddies through high school, and they met in person for the first time in 50 years at the festival. After all those years, they reconnected. That’s what this is about.”

Shortly after the festival takes place (around the first week of September) African Americans in Boyle County, a new book by Michael Denis and Michael Hughes, will be released. The book is $23.99 ($29.66 include shipping for Kentucky addresses). Learn more about the book at Arcadia Publishing and reserve a copy at

For more information about the Soul of Second Street Festival and related events and activities, contact program coordinator Michael Hughes at 859-326-6065. NOTE: Activities are still being added to the event. Food and merchandise vendors may contact Hughes at 859-326-6065.