OGDEN -- Mary Griffin grew up in the South surrounded by rich black culture and savory soul food.
But the Syracuse resident felt her granddaughters had missed out on a valuable part of their heritage by being born and raised in Utah.
"I've tried to talk to them about the food and the culture, but they never got to taste food like this," Griffin said at a Black History Month celebration Thursday at Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College.
"It's something good, to be part of Black History Month. It's important for them to see parts of our black culture that they don't see every day, and to be proud of their history."
Griffin and close to 300 others celebrated Black History Month at the college, which has been host of the annual event for as long as anyone can remember.
"We do it to celebrate diversity in Ogden and Weber County. Diversity is one of our great strengths in the Ogden area," said college president Collette Mercier.
Holding the event, she said, is a "wonderful way we can give back to the community and to show young people what we have to offer here at the school."
In past years, a formal, sit-down event was held that drew adults who could pay the ticket price.
This year's event was free and featured donated food, which included submarine sandwiches from Walmart. Smaller companies provided candied yams, spicy collard greens, chicken and sausage, black-eyed peas, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.
"Black history is American history," said Mac McCullough, college diversity and outreach coordinator.
"This event is a chance for people to learn more and to fellowship with the community. And we really want to get the young people involved. We want to be one of the institutions in the community that is there to help."
The entertainment included performances by the Ladies of Today step dancers, the New Zion Praise Dancers, the Second Baptist Mime Ministry and a second step-dance show by the trio Micah, Devon and Da'jon.
Griffin and granddaughters Desiree Reed, 15, Kindrae Reed, 8, and Shantai Griffin, 11, spent much of their time at the event visiting with friends, old and new.
"I like seeing lots of people," Shantai said. "It's fun."
Shirley Miller, of Ogden, gave the event a positive review.
"I liked the way they did it, with food and fellowship," she said.
"It reached more people this year, and everyone seemed pleased to be here."