Better than ever is the ‘Festival of Nations’

Take a look, and you’ll see why moving this outer East Portland event back to its original site may have helped this year turn out well …

After holding their Festival of Nations in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood for a couple of years, moving back to the Centennial neighborhood may have helped attendance at this annual event put on by the Midway Division Alliance.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

As it has in the past, the annual late-summer event put on by the Division Midway Alliance (DMA) Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative that’s called the Festival of Nations again delighted visitors this year.

Organizers faced the challenge of letting everyone know that the 2017 festival  would take place at its original location, Duke’s Country Bar & Grill. Apparently, the DMA volunteers were successful in their publicity effort – both the vendor and guest turnouts were strong.

Nancy Someong of Paitong Thai Cuisine entices DMA’s Lori Boisen with one of her savory favorites, Thai noodles.

“Considering the overcast sky, we certainly have a good crowd here today,” said DMA Executive Director Lori Boisen. “The food is great, and the music is even better; and, the mix of vendors we have here is incredible! This may be our best festival, ever!”

Loopy the Clown, also known as Dre Wollrabe, entertains kids and adults at this year’s Festival of Nations.

Makeup artist is Gail Holmes of Beyond The Lines Face Art gives an astonishing new look to Joseph Thompson Jr.

About 80 vendors exhibited at the event this year, including seven restaurants, a good mix of nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and independent vendors.

And, this year’s event attracted and even more diverse visitors and vendors, Boisen told East Portland News. “It’s so exciting to see so many different communities, and so much diversity represented from our community – after all, we call it the ‘Festival of Nations, Where Cultures Come Together’.

“The idea is to celebrate the all of the cultures of people who live and work here,” Boisen went on. “By getting us all together to be a part of one another’s lives, we all resonate with one another!”

Chiropractor Dr. David Day DC greets visitors at his booth.

This energetic group, Son De Cuba, musically entertains.

Throughout the day, musical and dance groups entertained throngs of visitors, and provided an international atmosphere at the festival. The scent of cooking foods wafted through the air, whetting the appetites of guests.

“The good things that come from our festival is increased understanding, a sense of grace, less ignorance, more involvement, and more caring,” observed Boisen.

Kweki Ward shows clothing and fashion accessories from Ghana.

“People are more inclined to care and accept others, and reach out and help someone if they get to know them a set of being afraid, if they look or dress differently,” she said. “When I see our festival come together like this, thanks to the effort of our volunteers and community members, it just feels like it’s worth all the effort – it’s really worth it.”

Learn more about the Division Midway Alliance by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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