Deluge doesn’t stop ‘Festival of Nations’ fun

See how this event again showcased the area’s diverse neighbors, for those willing to don a little wet-weather gear …

Dodging the raindrops, vendors and guests trickle in to the DMA Festival of Nations, held in outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For five years, the Division Midway Alliance (DMA) – a Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative-based organization – has held a fall festival

For the last two years, the event they call the “Festival of Nations” has taken place at the highly-visible corner of SE 122nd Avenue and Division Street, in the Division Center parking lot.

Hazelwood Neighborhood Chair Arlene Kimura, and Parkrose Heights Neighborhood Chair Tom Badrick, visit with Powellhurst-Gilbert Greening Committee Chair Dolores Wood, at her booth.

This year’s event featured more vendors, community associations, nonprofit groups, and food purveyors than ever.

It also was moistened by one of the strongest rainstorms of the season.

Checking in volunteers at the festival is DMA Board President Dawn Luethe.

“Raining or not, this is the festival we have once a year, to let the neighborhood know all of the different cultures that we have here,” remarked DMA Board President Dawn Luethe – while taking cover under the organization’s canopy.

“We have food, dancers, demonstrations, and music from many different cultures,” Luethe told East Portland News.

“It’s important to have an event like this,” Luethe opined, “because we have a very large and very diverse neighborhood. We want to help everyone who lives or works in the district get better acquainted – and, we want to celebrate our cultures.”

This energetic group from New Zealand Kiwi Holdings invites visitors to scoop into delicious fruit samples.

Magdalena Anderson of Philippine Market cooks Inihaw na Manok – what we’d call chicken skewers.

The pelting rainstorm didn’t keep specialty shops from exhibiting their wares, or discourage grocery stores, butcher shops, and a kiwi-sampling truck from participating. “And also, we have many different organizations, here, to help people get housing, get jobs, and get settled into our country,” Luethe added.

Portland’s award-winning entertainer, Cha Cha the Clown, brightens the day for Kimberly Calderon her kids.

Maureen Riggs says the weather perfectly fits her company’s name, “Gray Day Design”; you can find her on Facebook.

Visitors took shelter in the “Food of All Nations” tent, visited with vendors under their canopies, and enjoyed the live entertainment at this year’s Festival of Nations.

“I liked seeing was people standing under the canopies, watching the entertainment, and eating the wide variety of food, said Past DMA President Lorelei Young of Keepsake Family Tree Video. “It’s great how the Festival of Nations brings people and food together from diverse backgrounds, who all have a great time together.”

Demonstrating traditional folk dances are members of the Poapalotl Mexican Dancers troupe.

Sponsors of this year’s event included:

C-GEO ~ MLK Properties ~ Casa Del Sol
Curtis Trailers ~ Portland Sand & Gravel ~ T-Mobile
Inter West Properties ~ Slavic Community Center
I Heart Radio ~ KBOO ~ MHCC ~ RACC
Venture Portland ~ Gateway Brewing
The Kresge Foundation ~ Keepsake Family Tree Video

Representing members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce are Roderigo Souza from Portland Happiness Center and Holly Moss of The Bookkeeping Company.

For more information regarding the Division Midway Alliance, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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