BROOKLYN - The International African Arts Festival kicked off in Commodore Barry Park Wednesday.

The chairperson of the event said the festival has grown over the years. It started as a block party that served as a school?s graduation ceremony.

This year, the festival includes hundreds of vendors that sell everything from African artifacts to jewelry. Patrons can get henna tattoos and taste a variety of foods.

Vendors said it is a community gathering that shows how important small businesses are to the Brooklyn community.

Events and entertainment including dancing, jazz music and a runway fashion show are scheduled for the next five days.