ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Sunday, over 3,000 people celebrated the 52nd Annual Festival of Nations at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. From the colorful outfits everyone was wearing, it was definitely a festive festival celebrating each country’s unique features. And an event that is well-needed when many feel the world can be divisive. This event is a reminder of what unites everyone- arts…music…and, of course, the food.
Monaj Ajmera, Chairman of the event, said that since 1972, the festival has been celebrating diverse cultures from around the world.
“The beauty is that we are of different thinking, of different cultures, but we work together,” Ajmera said. “We don’t always agree on everything, but once a decision is made – we all [are supportive].”
The event featured a parade of nations, arts and crafts, along with music and dance. Sandra Gomez and her family were at the event representing Mexico.
“We are so happy to share our country, customs, and food. To share with all kids the tradition,” she said.
And this was a chance for her daughters to learn more about Mexican traditions.
“We are dancing a dance from a state in Mexico called Chiapas,” her daughter said while wearing a colorful Mexican dress.
And they are not the only kids and teens dancing while enjoying the festivities. During the event, there was also the Miss Festival of Nations pageant, and Miss Turkey was with her family and friends, representing traditional Turkish dancing along with the food.
“I’m happy because we’re showing our culture and our country, and I’m happy about that,” she said.
But for Romania, this was their first time having representation at the festival. Florin Vlad represented his country along with Dance Fire Studio & Fitness, specializing in Romanian dancing.
“It feels great,” Vlad said. “All Romanians got together this year to make this happen, and we’re really excited to be here.
Excitement, happiness, and, of course, hunger for the food …were all feelings expressed at this year’s festival. Organizers say they only expect the number of participating countries to grow.