PATERSON, NJ – Sherman Avenue was ablaze with color on Saturday as people flocked to the Bengali festival wearing the traditional bright clothing of their culture.

The street pulsated to a Bengali beat. Musicians from Bangladesh performed songs in their native language while people sang along. People browsed through stands of traditional clothing, regional jewelry, and food, purchasing items that caught their eyes.

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The festival attracted of people from different ethnic groups. “The festival and the people are amazing. I plan to come back next year,” said 30 year-old Patricia, who takes pride in being Dominican. “I hope to return wearing a pretty dress like the ones that the Bengali girls have on.”

“It’s nice to see people outside of our ethnicity taking part in our celebration,” said Ali Ahmed, 26. “This festival is not just for the Bengali people, but for everyone in the community.”

For some it was a chance to meet new people; for others, it was an opportunity to reunite with friends and family.  “I connected with people I haven’t seen in a while,” said Shahima Ali, 17.

The festival ran from 9 am to 9m, and from the morning light to the evening darkness, the street was filled with excitement and laughter.