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Photos: Somali Independence Day celebration in Twin Cities

Arts & Culture Nikki Tundel · ·

1 The Somali Independence Day festival Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis included food, music and a camel -- a popular attraction among children. Officially July 1, Somali Independence Day commemorates the founding of the Republic of Somalia when it gained freedom from British and Italian rule in 1960. Minnesota is home to one of the largest Somali populations outside of Somalia. 
2 Thousands gather for food, culture and dancing at the Somali Independence Day celebration on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. Minnesota is home to one of the largest Somali populations outside of Somalia. Many Somalis here hope to return, while others have permanently settled and call Minnesota their own Mogadishu. 
3 Young girls share a secret in the midst of the Somali Independence Day festival on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
4 Children flock to the "Bouncy House" at the Somali Independence Day celebration Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
5 Young Somali women check out the scene at the Somali Independence Day celebration June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
6 Thousands of peopled gather for food, face painting and pony rides at the Somali Independence Day celebration on June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
7 Young girls work to blow up balloons at the Somali Independence Day celebration on June 30, 2013 Minneapolis. 
8 The Somali Independence Day festival in Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis included food, clothing and jewelry vendors. Abdi Phenomenal, one of the organizers of the celebration spoke on on MPR's All Things Considered, saying the celebration helps people of ages remember their heritage. "I think it bridges the gap here. The youth growing up here kind of feel a sense of identity, a sense of self knowing that, you know having their history and their culture and where they're from live in front of them that day. And for the older generation, it brings memories of back home of when they used to be home, what it used to feel like and what unity felt like," he said. 
9 Balloons galore at the Somali Independence Day celebration on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
10 A woman takes photos of the music performance at the Somali Independence Day celebration on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
11 Stare-down with a camel at the 2013 Somali Independence Day festival on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. 
12 Heading home as the 2013 Somali Independence Day festival on Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Minneapolis comes to an end.