Diversity celebrated at 2023 ‘Festival of Nations’

INCLUDES FESTIVAL TOUR VIDEO | See how the signature event of the Division Midway Alliance brought neighbors together at this outer East Portland event this year …

At the Division Midway Alliance booth, incoming guests find a warm welcome.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Once again, the Division Midway Alliance (DMA) Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative District hosted their hallmark Festival of Nations on the very warm, summery afternoon of September 16, in the Planned Parenthood parking lot.

Can’t wait to see our video tour of the celebration?
It’s right here:

With having covered the first such Festival of Nations put on by the DMA back in 2015, it was a joy to revisit this celebration of diversity here, in outer East Portland. (CLICK HERE to read about their first celebration.)

DMA Executive Director Lisha Shrestha talks with guests during the Festival of Nations.

“The best thing about Festival of Nations is seeing so much diversity in one place – people coming together to create a welcoming space for everyone,” DMA Executive Director Lisha Shrestha smiled about this year’s annual celebration.

Staffing the 26 booths were local product and service vendors, and representatives of government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

One of the four “Taste of Nations” food vendors is Lisa Do, from Van Nien Vege Vietnamese Food.

Ready to serve another hungry guest is Nefthalem Mulat, of Emami Ethiopian Cuisine.

Although Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t attend, other elected officials did come by, and appeared to be enjoying their visits.

One who did come was Portland City Commissioner René Gonzales. “After the pandemic we need to ‘return to living’; which means embracing all of our communities, supporting our businesses – and for me, it also means laughing and enjoying good food!” Gonzales told us.

Portland City Commissioner René Gonzales and Commissioner Mingus Mapps pause for a photo.

Also celebrating at the festival was Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who told us, “I came out here today to support one of my favorite events of the year – because the Festival of Nations, as we know, has a long tradition of celebrating diversity, here in outer East Portland.”

Entertainment, including ethnic dance demonstrations , such as shown here by a member of Ballet Papalotl, makes for a lively day in East Portland.

After it was over, Shrestha told East Portland News, “Holding the Festival of Nations helps the DMA meet its mission – in that we are a place-based community organization, working to create resilient, prosperous, vibrant, and safe space for everyone.

“And, our Festival of Nations brings many cultures together in one space, creating economic opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and making the Midway dDstrict vibrant and welcoming.

Selling her sage products at the festival is TaMara ‘Fiya’ Walker of Fiyas Place.

“We’re so grateful for the 46 volunteers who supported us today; and we especially thank Raimore Construction for their help with logistic coordination.” commended Shrestha. “And, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our eight Festival of Nations Committee members, who were involved in our planning and organizing.

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

>> On our Front Page: Ready for their picture to be taken at the festival’s “photo booth” are Simaam and Ali Ibriham.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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