Providing College Scholarships for our Under-served Kids
By: China Boynton
On Saturday, November 26th, Pompano Community Park was taken over from 2pm-11pm by the Second Annual Fall Festival, presented by T-Doggs Big Dreams Charity. Residents from all over South Florida came out to listen to R&B and Hiphop music artists such as Plies, Silk, Lyfe Jennings, Keke Wyatt, and South Florida’s own Trick Daddy. Well-known Pompano Beach gospel rapper, Travis “T-Dogg” Gammage, hosts the event every year and brings local vendors, music, food, and a great cause to the city.
“T-Dogg’s vision for the Fall Festival brought the community together to Party with a Purpose,” said Ana Rodriguez, event coordinator for T-Dogg’s Big Dreams. “Miami already has lots of music events. Our Festival brought “feel good” music to the city of Pompano Beach, plus a worthy charity along with community service.”
After receiving six keys to six Florida cities, T-Dogg decided to build a community village inside a village and made that the focus of the festival. The sold-out event raised funds for students looking to attend a historically Black college or university. T-Doggs Big Dreams Charity gives under-privileged kids an opportunity to get a good education, setting them up to have a fighting chance at a successful future. During the festival HBCU handed out scholarships, which is something that has not been done at any other festival.
Community resources were available at booths for companies like Demesmin and Dover Law Firm, FPL, Lyft, Florida Board of Health, and senior care facilities. Representatives answered questions and handed out brochures, providing valuable information to residents. The festival was also packed corner to corner with local vendors selling everything from vegan lipstick to seafood to some incredible barbecue.
Family- owned company Cakelips, LLC, created a vegan lipstick line in honor of their grandmother, Bertha. “We’re online retailers so this is an opportunity to get the word out, connect with people, and grow roots in our local communities,” said Chandra Evans, Ambassador for Cakelips, LLC. Having their own chemist allows sisters and owners, Tammy Smith and Bertha Miller , to have full creative control.
Crafted By Design, owned and operated since 2015 by Pompano residents Joy Campbell and her sister Debra, make all their jewelry, aprons, and hats with love and care by hand. High Times trucks, based in Orlando, sold everything from vape cartridges, Delta-8 and Delta-9 edibles, and other non-THC, cannabis related products. “We just wanted to come out and spread peace, love, and happiness to the community because overall, that’s what our business is about,” said High Times truck employee, Jay Isamaro.
The music, however, is what brought thousands of locals to Fall Fest. R & B singer Rome, best known for his hit “I Belong to You” and currently working on a new album due out in 2024, said, “The energy here [in Pompano Beach] is amazing. The crowd was engaged and supportive, so I’d love to come back and perform here again in the future.”
MJ Dance Machine, a Michael Jackson impersonator and resident of Hollywood, did an outstanding dance routine, imitating Jackson’s moves with perfection while lip-syncing to “Billy Jean”. Sporting the sparkling glove, socks, and signature black hat, MJ Dance Machine closed his act with a toss of his fedora into the crowd.
Fort Lauderdale resident and festival goer, Tammy Ellington, bought VIP passes so her group could have a front row seat to dance to their favorite artists. “I love the atmosphere! The energy of the performers and the people in the crowd are all about having a good time,” said Ellington.
One artist remembered his son, Jojo, who killed because of the tributes to gun violence rampant in recent rap culture. “Music today is full of violence and demeans women. Back then [in the 90’s], the music was fun and safe. So, let’s take it back!”
Safety was T-Doggs’s number one priority. Event coordinator, Ana Rodriguez, and members of the security team worked closely with Pompano Beach police officers to perform security checks days before the event opened. “With the help of BSO, we were here until 10pm last night making sure all the entrances are secure to keep everyone coming out safe,” said Rodriguez.
The Third Annual Fall Festival line-up is already gearing up. For more details on the next event that lets locals Party with a Purpose, and supports scholarships for our kids, check out the Pompano Fall Fest page.