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DC Festival returns to the District this weekend

Residents are excited to learn the popular DC Africa Festival is coming back to the area.
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Members of the regional African Diaspora are gearing up to attend the D.C. Africa Festival, set to be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center - Woodrow Wilson Plaza, in downtown D.C.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the event.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the Office on African Affairs (OAA) extends their invitation to the various African delegations in the District, as well as local leaders and area residents.

In a press release outlining the event, the Mayor states:

At this historic moment when we welcome 47 African leaders from across the continent to our nation’s capital, we are especially proud to showcase the rich diversity of our local African community and to highlight their vital cultural, social and economic contributions to our world class city.

Nigerian-born Ace Shagari is pleased to hear the festival is back.

"I've attended this event every single year the mayor's office has put it on. I've seen it grow and grow and grow. Now more than ever, people need to know about what makes those of us who are African and born outside the U.S. so unique," he said.

The festival is a great attraction because it bring together people from all different walks of life and diverse backgrounds. Culture, music, art, food and history merges during this monumental event, and sofar thousands of visitors have attended in the past.

"I thing the festival is a great idea," said Hamid Sey, an Egyptian born resident, "because it bridges the gap between those born in the U.S. and those of us who are residents born somewhere else?"

Another African-born resident said she enjoys the event because it highlights the creative and cultural tradition that many have brought from their home nation.

"The event shows that we are more than the stereotypes that some people may tag on us; taxi drivers, foreign restaurant owners, and hospitality professionals," she mentioned. "We are artisans who are excited to expose the rest of Washington to what makes our continent so great."

D.C. is home to slightly more than 16,000 African-born people (roughly 17 percent of the D.C.'s population); that's practically one of every ten African-born immigrants. The region has the highest proportion of African- born persons of any major U.S. city. Interestingly, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Egypt make up the countries that have the largest African-born population in D.C. And according to the Migration Policy Institute, the District of Columbia is the Washington, D.C. stands out as a preferred destination for those previously mentioned above and those from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, Liberia, Somalia, Guinea, Sudan, and Eritrea.

People planning to attend should RSVP soon; and anyone looking to serve as a vendor or who wish to volunteer.

The festivities will run from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. on August 3, 2014. The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center - Woodrow Wilson Plaza is located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.