Friday, September 20, 2013

Food, fashion, and a whole lot more at Sunday’s Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring

(Sept 19, 2013, (Gazette))--At the third annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring on Sunday, Teru Fentike was dishing out plates of lentils, greens and injera — a traditional starch.

“I’m so excited!” she said. Fentike lived in Silver Spring when she first came to the U.S. 26 years ago. Now, the Bowie resident still runs a restaurant, Bete Ethiopian, just blocks from Veterans Plaza, where music boomed, and Ethiopians, friends and festival-goers mingled, many sporting soccer jerseys or traditional dress.

The area, and the Ethiopian community, has changed since then, she said. “When we came here a long time ago [and saw another Ethiopian] we’d hug and say, ‘It’s another Ethiopian!’ Now, look,” she said, waving at the thousands of people packed into the plaza.

“The Ethiopian community is growing rapidly,” she said, grinning. Silver Spring’s — and the metro Washington, D.C., area’s — Ethiopian population has exploded in recent years, according to festival organizer Tebabu Assefa. There are more than 75 Ethiopian small businesses in the greater downtown area of Silver Spring, many of which have opened. Read more from Gazette »

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