Fort Greene played host to the DanceAfrica 2016 Bazaar this past weekend, welcoming vendors from around the world and thousands of attendees.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) sponsored the DanceAfrica 2016 Bazaar, which stretched from May 28th to May 30th. The street fair started at noon from Saturday to Monday, and extended into the evening all three nights.The festival took place at the intersection of Ashland Place and Lafayette Avenue.
“I think every year it gets a bit more diverse because people hear about it,” said Noelis, a celebrant who had come all the way from the Bronx.
DanceAfrica was founded at BAM’s Lepercq Space in 1977 by Chuck Davis and it celebrates the many cultures of the African diaspora. Roughly 40,000 revelers were expected to attend the festival in Brooklyn. The festival also takes place in other cities such as Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Over 150 vendors sold their goods.
The festival has changed over time, just as the neighborhood has. This year, it was held under the shadows of construction cranes, even as it stretched across multiple blocks.
Community activist Joe Gonzalez talked about the effect of the construction along Ashland on the Bazaar.
“This festival’s footprint occupied twice the space available to us now,” said Gonzalez. He added that “there was a whole row of vendors along the east side of Ashland place and none of them are present today.”
Some vendors said they noticed the change and felt the effects.
“We’re a little bit displaced by all of the construction, but people are finding us,” said Matthews, who continued that “a lot of people couldn’t get spaces here. Maybe 100 people couldn’t get a spot. We didn’t find out until last week that we actually did have a space.”
Even with space at a premium, throngs turned out to celebrate. Continue below for some snapshots of the DanceAfrica 2016 Bazaar.