Hundreds gather to celebrate first night of Kwanzaa in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wednesday was the first night of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American culture, and people from across the metro are making sure this relatively new holiday has a presence in Kansas City.

Wednesday night at the Gem Theater on 18th and Vine, hundreds gathered to observe the holiday, which was created in 1966 and is celebrated from Dec. 26-Jan. 1 each year.

The annual City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration, hosted by the National Black United Front's Kansas City chapter, will be held each night of Kwanzaa. The organization said Kansas City is one of only a handful of cities nationwide that celebrate Kwanzaa a full seven days.

Each night, the event is hosted by a local organization that will share the principles of Kwanzaa with special performances, speakers and talent.

For the first six nights, the celebration will be held at the Gem Theater in KCMO, beginning at 6 p.m. with an African Market where vendors will be showing off crafts, art, books, music, jewelry and more. Then at 7 p.m. there will be a drum call and procession.

On the seventh night of Kwanzaa, the celebration will be held at the Nefertiti Ballroom in KCK with a program and unity feast. That night's event will begin at 3 p.m.

See all the fun from Wednesday night's celebration in the video player above.

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