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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Third-annual Broadway International Festival showcases Sacramento’s diversity
Vendors and customers shop on Broadway during the Broadway International Festival on Nov. 4, 2023. Photo credit: Yoseph Daniel / [email protected]

Sacramento hosted its third-annual Broadway International Festival on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. The festival included local store owners, food vendors, and artists who performed their music live outside on Broadway from 16th to 18th streets. 

The all-day festival had a diverse crowd welcoming hundreds of people to the event, which had been rescheduled from an earlier date due to road construction.

“Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities and I feel like we don’t celebrate that,” said festival organizer Zion Tadesse, who also owns Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway. Tadesse described the Broadway International Festival as a “win-win situation,” because it brings the community together while creating a platform for people to support small businesses. 

Queen Sheba has been in operation for nearly two decades with Broadway being its home for the last 16 years. Tadesse was inspired to create the festival based on the surrounding restaurant community. She explains, “Broadway has an array of ethnic restaurants. In a way, it is its little world regarding food. This is our ancestors’ food and how we introduce each other to our cultures. So I thought why not celebrate that through food, music and entertainment?” 

Zion Tadesse (second to the right) with employees participate in a traditional Ethiopian coffee-making ceremony in front of Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway on Nov. 4, 2023. The ceremony displays the traditional Ethiopian way of roasting coffee beans, grinding the beans, and serving the coffee out of a coffee pot (Jebena) into little cups. Photo credit: Yoseph Daniel / [email protected]

During the festival, small-business owners set up booths and sold handmade products, food and beverages on the street. Business owner Kelley Ashe partners with her 10-year-old son, Taylor, in their business Taylorade Lemonade, which Taylor plays an active role in. During the pandemic, Ashe made plates and sold them for her son’s friends, later paired with lemonade. 

“It allowed us to survive during Covid. With him being young, he didn’t understand at first, but since he comes out to the events, he understands that it takes a lot of work and we have to put in a little bit of work before we come out to these events.” Ashe said.

Taylorade Lemonade uses a handmade lemonade recipe that has been in Ashe’s family for five generations. In addition to owning Taylorade Lemonade, Ashe works at a hair salon that was closed during the pandemic but has reopened since. 

“When I returned to work at the salon I sold my lemonade and it was selling out. Currently, we’re private selling, so I sell it at my salon or I’ll do street vending like this, but I do look forward to getting [into] the stores really soon,” she said. 

Ashe said that the Broadway International Festival is “an opportunity for all of us to get together.” She continues, “I am part of the community. I know Zion and we do a lot of community building. It’s important that I’m here, and I wanted to not only advertise our business but also support the event and Zion.” 

Tara Neavinf stopped at Taylorade Lemonade during the festival  “I know that Sacramento is very diverse, so it’s cool to see that diversity at the festival. I love ethnic food and haven’t been able to travel that much since Covid, so this feels like traveling,” Neavinf said. 

InaJean Delt started Elephants and Earrings in 2018, and normally sells her products at the African marketplace on Florin Road. The Sacramento African Marketplace is an indoor and outdoor market for black-owned businesses and is open on the first and third Saturday of every month. 

Delt also sells online through platforms such as Etsy and Instagram. “I assemble the earrings myself, and I’m a lover of elephants so I have a small selection for resale, ” Delt said, adding, “Elephants are my favorite animal because they’re huge, they don’t really know their strength and they are gentle but powerful. Many people believe the elephants with their trunks up are good luck.”

Delt has participated in the festival for all three years and plans to keep coming back. “The festival allows me to broaden my customer base, and many people walk up and down and a lot of people come up and ask me about the significance of elephants and I educate them on that,” she says, “The festival is an awesome event, it raises awareness about other people’s cultures. It’s important and I think you can get that here. I think we take those simple conversations for granted.” 

Tadesse says, “Right now, I feel like we have done it so hopefully even by next year we’ll get better and better.”

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