Two neighboring events offer everything from free international food to a Richmond native’s music that was popular overseas.
From 1-3 p.m. Saturday, July 22, the One World, One Plate cultural celebration returns to Morrisson-Reeves Library, 80 N. Sixth St. in Richmond.
Area residents of all ages can drop in and experience Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Peruvian, Turkish and Guatemalan cultures through storytelling, dance, food, displays and activities.
Local eateries providing free food samples while they last include Thai Thara, Yamato, El Bronco, La Mexicana, Tiffin, Great Wall, Domino’s and Radford’s Meat Market & Deli.
An Indiana Humanities grant and Friends of MRL funding make “One Plate” possible.
Then, across the street at Elstro Plaza, Townsend Community Center is organizing SoulFest from 4-10 p.m. Admission is free for the event, which includes music, food vendors, family games and the splash pad.
Live music will be provided by The Band 2.0, and DJs include Bigg Mills and Sickness.
This year’s performance is a tribute to the soul sounds of Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters, which featured local talent during the 1960s.
After graduating from Richmond High School and moving to the greater Chicago area, singer/frontman James Ramey (singer/frontman) formed the band with childhood friend and trumpeter Melvyn “Deacon” Jones. Jones later toured the world as a blues organist.
Ramey’s ironic nickname came from a comic book character/cartoon named Baby Huey. He had a glandular disorder, and sources describe his build at 6-foot-5 and more than 350 pounds.
The band had a rabid following across the Midwest as a live act, and eventually was in demand around the nation and world.
The Baby Sitters went to Paris to play at a coming-out party for the daughter of the Baron de Rothschild and landed gigs such as the Merv Griffin Show. They also released a few singles between 1965 and 1967.
Although the Baby Sitters slowly transitioned to psychedelic soul over the decade, the group fizzled out in the late 1960s.
Famed producer Curtis Mayfield signed Baby Huey to his Curtom Records label. They went to work on Baby Huey’s first solo effort (with some help with the Baby Sitters).
However, Ramey died in October 1970 in his mid-20s of an apparent heart attack while working on his debut album. He’s buried in Glen Haven Memorial Cemetery in Richmond.
“The Baby Huey Story: Living Legend” was released posthumously a few months later. Ramey’s work has been sampled on hundreds of songs. In particular, “Hard Times” has been named a precursor to the hip-hop genre.
In addition to paying tribute to the Baby Sitters, Community and Family Award winners being recognized include Tommie and Carrie Williams and the Deloney family.
Richmond resident Alex Painter’s research on Baby Huey contributed to this article.
A version of this article appeared in the July 19 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.