lundi 28 septembre 2015

Haiti, Indonesia join this year's International Folk Festival

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 11:37 pm
By Paige Rentz Staff writer Fred and Nanoushka Sylvain just wanted to get their feet wet with their first booth at the International Folk Festival, and this was the weekend to do it.
"We did literally," said Nanoushka Sylvain from behind a table of bright arts and crafts handmade in Haiti. Her traditional Haitian dress had a rain-soaked ring of darker blue from spending Sunday afternoon in the misty Festival Park Plaza.
Fred, decked out in the red and blue of his nation's flag, celebrated his 36th birthday at the Fayetteville festival that is one year older than him.
The couple, both natives of Port-au-Prince, have lived in Fayetteville for 12 years and have been dedicated attendees. But their schedules always got in the way of making sure their own country was represented.
"This year we decided we're going to do it," he said.
The Sylvains said they want to make sure people see a side of Haiti other than the poverty and post-earthquake devastation often association with the Caribbean nation.
"A lot of people aren't seeing the beauty in Haiti, and this was the perfect opportunity to showcase that," Fred Sylvain said.
When people stopped by the booth, Nanoushka was ready to explain the cultural significance of every item and how it was made, from beaded purses with Voodoo symbols to painted houses representing the country's colonial era. This pride and collective spirit is what the festival is all about, said Bob Pinson, operations manager at the Arts Council, which organizes the event.
"Obviously the attendance was drastically impacted because of the weather," he said, adding that he didn't yet have an attendance estimate.
But from his standpoint, the event accomplished its goal.
"It's all about diversity and bringing the community together," he said.
The weather created plenty of opportunity for that. With the wind and rain after setup on Friday, vendors and staff arrived Saturday to find tents blown across the park, even into the creek.
Vendors stepped up to help their own competition, restaking tents or solving other problems.
"Just that whole spirit of cooperation and working together really drove home what this festival is all about," he said.
With all the work that goes into putting on the festival, it's certainly preferable to have the 100,000-plus crowds, he said.
The festival has grown over the years from a Sunday afternoon food event on Hay Street to the weekend-long celebration featuring about 35 countries performing on stage, marching in the parade, selling authentic food or wares, or some combination of them all.
Indonesia stepped up its participation this year, marching in the parade for the first time.
Dance instructors Krina Armstrong and Liza Soeryanto led a group of women in a dance to celebrate the harvest, native to Armstrong's region of Sumatra.
"Next year we're going to try a different island," said Soeryanto, adding they want to help people understand the great diversity of the nation with more than 17,000 islands and hundreds of languages.
The expansion will likely continue for both countries, as they look into offering food next year.
"We know the rain had a little impact on attendance, but people still showed up, and we've been getting a lot of support, people coming to congratulate us," Fred Sylvain said.
"It was nice," Nanoushka added, "just if God would grant us no rain, it would be better."
Staff writer Paige Rentz can be reached at rentzp@fayobserver.com or 486-2728.

Aucun commentaire: