African festival in Silver Spring this weekend -- Gazette.Net







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More than 8,000 people are expected to attend the 12th annual FestAfrica Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Plaza and the Silver Spring Civic Building.

The free two-day festival is in downtown Silver Spring for the third year, having previously been held in Baltimore. The event features traditional and contemporary African music and dance performances, arts and crafts, vendors, food, a health fair and fashion shows.

Featured artists include Somi, who headlines Saturday’s entertainment lineup, performing at 6:30 p.m. Cheick Hamala is Sunday’s headliner, performing at 7 p.m. Other entertainers include Maimouna Youssef, Amadou Kouyateo, Elikeh, Diane Macklin, Jay Cube, True Voice, Ishangi Legacy, Eddy Kenzo and Les Belles d’Afrique.

The event is hosted by the nonprofit Afropolitan Youth Association and has support from the Maryland State Arts Council and Montgomery County, among others.

“We first began under the name Nigerian Youth Association since the founders are Nigerian,” said Jessica Sarpong, a spokeswoman with the event’s planning committee. “But as we grew as a committee with diverse African roots, we made the name change this year to Afropolitan Youth Association.”

The festival’s theme of African youth education ties in with a partnership with the African Library Project, a California-based initiative that starts libraries in rural Africa. Volunteers will be collecting gently used children’s books at FestAfrica to donate.