Last Saturday, vendors, artists, and musicians showcased and sold their work at the International African Arts Festival in Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park from July 1st to July 4th, according to news12.

The vendors span beyond the African continent: “You’re going to find vendors and artisans from South Africa or West Africa or East Africa, but also from the Caribbean and also from down south and from the Bronx. And so, it’s a family gathering that expresses and shares all that the African community is all about,” said International African Arts Festival Vice Chair Adeyemi Bandele.

Bandele co-founded the festival in 1971 with the goal of “understanding other people’s cultures and enjoying them,” she said. This year, there were thousands of attendees and about 200 vendors and performers.

Vivian Bennett, owner of Vivian Bennett Designs, has been selling her jewelry made from recycled cardboard and paper at the festival for the past three decades. She said that the weekend’s impact extended beyond merely celebrating each other’s cultures by serving as an inspiration for the younger generation.

“A child who is brought up to know the grandeur of his ancestors is going to be a different person. I am an ascendant of queens, ok, and I act it,” said Bennett.

There was no entry fee to the festival, which instead accepted donations to keep the festival alive for years to come.

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