‘Festival of Nations’ finds new location

Discover where this unique outer East Portland celebration was held this year, and what it brought to the community …

Many people, from all over the greater Portland area, come to the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, to explore and enjoy this year’s “Festival of Nations”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After changing locations several times, the “Festival of Nations” – hosted by the Division Midway Alliance (DMA) Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative district – found its most recent venue, the former Dukes Country Bar and KeyBank branch lots, closed for construction, and questions arose whether it could continue this year.

Organizers did find a new spot for it, and the festival took place on September 7 in the spacious parking lot provided by Extended Home Cabinets and Countertops, at 14410 SE Division Street.

Bringing together diverse communities is the aim of this festival, says Division Midway Alliance Executive Director Lisha Shrestha.

“We’re having fun, bringing diverse cultures from different parts of the world together here, in the form of dance, traditional food, and everything,” exclaimed DMA Executive Director Lisha Shrestha as she welcomed us to this year’s event.

Among the 70 vendors, most of them representing local businesses, an additional ten featured governmental agencies or nonprofit organizations who provided information to guests, Shrestha informed.

In the “Taste of the Nations” pavilion, Yili Pan is about to serve Lotus Flower Pastry, a fragrant delicacy representing the food of China.

“Once again, one of our most popular attractions is the ‘Taste of the Nations’ pavilion, where we have foods from four different cultures – Vietnamese, Burmese, Cameroon, and Chinese,” Shrestha told East Portland News.

Some 40 volunteers from the community worked to present this year’s festival. “We have volunteers from the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, other community organizations, and from EPCO,” Shrestha enumerated.

This performer from Ballet Papalote performs a cultural Hula dance.

“The benefit to the community of hosting the ‘Festival of Nations’ is letting people know that there are different communities of people right here in outer East Portland,” Shrestha said. “It’s showing everyone that that diversity exists, and we need to celebrate this, as we move along with our lives – it’s important.”

Some visitors watched the cultural entertainment presented in the main stage, while others noshed on food prepared on site, and yet others browsed the many exhibits set up in the area.

Elizabeth Hardwick of African Arts & Imports helps Parkrose neighbor Annette Stanhope try on an original dress that the vendor designed and hand-made, from fabrics imported from Kenya.

“The best part of this for me is that, seeing everyone here, I feel loved,” Shrestha said. “Here, I feel like I’m giving back to the communities through my work; it makes me feel very contented and satisfied.”

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

 

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