Hello, (almost) spring! It won’t be long before we’ll be shedding those heavy coats, taking out our lighter sweaters and getting ready to take advantage of the warmer weather to explore the many happenings going on this month. Here are just a few to get your March travel plans underway.


Black College Expo

Representing dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Black College Expo is designed to connect students with college representatives and provide information about scholarships, financial aid, campus life and so on. Held in different cities throughout spring, activities range from career recruitment booths to seminars, competitions, step shows and more.

877-427-4100, www.thecollegeexpo.org/index.php/events/Black-college-expo

March 14: D.C./Maryland

March 28: Atlanta

Through May 3

“Funky Turns 40: Black Character Animation Art From Black Cartoons of the 1970s” (Seattle, Wash.)

Images from among the few Black-cast, Black-focused animated features, original production cells and drawings and other items form the traveling exhibit “Funky Turns 40: Black Character Animation Art From Black Cartoons of the 1970s.” The exhibit is significant in that it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking Saturday morning cartoons that, for the first time in television history, featured positive Black characters—a stark about-face to the hundreds of cartoons that maligned, objectified and horribly stereotyped Blacks from 1900 to 1960. 206-518-6000, www.naamnw.org

Through May 15

“Kingdom of Gold: Photographs of Ghana” (Houston, Texas)

“Kingdom of Gold: Photographs of Ghana” is a vivid photography exhibit that documents the colorful celebration of the installment of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as ruler of the Ashanti Kingdom, as well as other historic places in several coastal towns in Ghana that hold great significance around the history of slavery.

713-526-1015, http://hmaac.org

Through May 15

“To Jack Bradley, the ‘Greatest’ Photo Taker: Treasures from the Jack Bradley Collection” (Queens, N.Y.)

The results of a very unusual friendship between photographer Jack Bradley, and world-renowned musician and jazz icon Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, are now part of the new exhibit, “To Jack Bradley, the ‘Greatest’ Photo Taker: Treasures from the Jack Bradley Collection.” In it, visitors to the Louis Armstrong House Museum will see, on exhibit for the very first time, more than 2,500 sound recordings, fan mail, set lists, diet charts, handwritten notes, laundry receipts, rare books, figurines, posters and other artifacts collected by Bradley during the time that he and Armstrong spent together on stage, back stage, on the road and at home over the years. 718-478-8274, www.louisarmstronghouse.org

Through May 24

UniverSoul Circus

As arguably the most soulful circus on the planet, the UniverSoul Circus presents an entertaining, family friendly show produced, directed and managed by primarily people of color. Its entertainers are world-class acts from around the globe, including clowns, aerialists, Caribbean and hip-hop dancers, magicians, contortionists, wild animal tamers, daredevils and more.

March 3-March 15 Raleigh, N.C.

March 18-April 6 Bronx, N.Y.

April 8-April 26 Brooklyn, N.Y.

April 28-May 10 Queens, N.Y.

May 19-24 Newark, N.J.



March 1-8

Smooth Jazz Cruise (the Caribbean)

What better way to celebrate spring than on a Smooth Jazz Cruise! Sail the Caribbean on Holland America as part of this popular annual event that features the best of the best in jazz music featuring Kirk Whalun, Natalie Cole, Brian Simpson, Marcus Miller and Boney James, just to name a few. The ports of call for this exciting journey are Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and Half Moon Cay.

Beautiful Half Moon Cay is just one of the stops on this year’s Smooth Jazz Cruise. (Lysa Allman-Baldwin photos) (125484)

888-852-9987, www.thesmoothjazzcruise.com/2015

March 6-8

Bockfest Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Bockfest Cincinnati is designed to celebrate the city’s brewing heritage and the coming of spring. The background on the festivals is interesting. It takes its name from the word “bock” (goat in German), a type of beer that usually has a higher nutritional and alcohol content than other beers, and was originally brewed for celebrations and holidays. But because of the higher nutritional content, bock was also used as a liquid food substitute by German monks during Lent. Hence, the festival is celebrated at this time to coincide with this historic association. Celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year, the festival offers attendees a variety of parades, parties, brewery tours, food, a Bockfest 5K run, “Sausage Queen” contest, authentic German dancing, music, a pig roast and, of course, great beer.

513-604-9812, www.bockfest.com

March 18-29

Cleveland International Film Festival (Cleveland, Ohio)

Attracting more than 50,000 attendees to this annual movie montage, the Cleveland International Film Festival celebrates its 39th anniversary this year. The festival features more than 186 features and 168 short subjects from more than 68 countries. In addition to the main World Tour program, are a wealth of interesting works centered on various socio-economic issues, including race, sexual orientation, the environment, family films and other topics.

216-623-3456, www.clevelandfilm.org

March 21-22

Jazz in the Gardens (Miami, Fla.)

Join Maxwell, Toni Braxton, Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Run-D.M.C., Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson and Freddie Jackson as the “Men of Soul,” Sheila E. and a host of others for the 10th annual Jazz in the Gardens. Held in beautiful Miami, Fla. Jazz in the Gardens is one of the country’s premier events, encompassing outstanding musical talent, a Women’s Impact Seminar Luncheon, shopping, great food and community events, among other activities.

305-934-3370, www.jazzinthegardens.com

Lysa Allman Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, featuring “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (www.amazingescapades.com).