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Soul Food Festival delights day into night

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More than likely, Henry Mabry will always remember his 45th birthday.

Mabry, from Valdosta, Georgia, celebrated the big day at Jacksonville's 5th Annual Soul Food Festival on Saturday.

"It's awesome," says Mabry, as he and his wife Veronica snuggled and swayed back and forth to a recording of rhythm and blues classic "Joy and Pain" by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

This was the last intermission of the outdoor festival, as attendees waited in mild temperatures for the headlining act, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic.

Some in sweaters, others in leather jackets, and die-hard P-Funk fans in tour t-shirts, the adult crowd moved in unison under the night sky.

Local disc jockey/on-air personality DJ Dr. Doom, of Clear Channel Radio, played continuous soulful music, keeping the crowd engaged, and for the Mabry's, anxious for more.

"We'll definitely be back next year," they exclaimed simultaneously. "So far, my favorite has been The Dazz Band," says Veronica Mabry. "This is our first year attending the Soul Food Festival, and we're having a great time."

In addition to the soulful music lineup, the couple says they also enjoyed some flavorful local fare. "We had oxtails and rice and it was good," says Veronica. "Yeah, they were," continued Henry, "we were looking for some conch fritters, but we couldn't find them, there's so much out here."

Seated in the V.I.P. section near Metropolitan Park's world-renowned stage, the Performance Pavilion, the Mabry family had a chance to see six legendary funk bands up close in one night, and say they cannot wait to tell their friends what they missed.

"I've already uploaded some pictures and updated my status on Facebook telling my friends they shoulda came," says Veronica. "After they see these (pictures), I know they'll want to come with us next year."

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