Allison C. Gallagher
TROY — The levee by the Great Miami River was the gathering place for 21 nations to represent their culture through food, artifacts and history at the 2014 Festival of Nations.
There, festival goers could enjoy the live music of China, Scotland, and Jamaica while eating traditional egg rolls from the Philippines or homemade pretzels from Germany.
Sue Reddy, who was with the Italian delegation, said that this was her fifteenth year at the Festival of Nations, where her group gives out and sells homemade Italian fare, supplied by Guiseppi’s Cookies in Troy.
“This year we have pizzelles, green garden art that matches the green in the Italian flag, and several different kinds of biscotti, including chocolate chip, almond and plain,” Reddy said. “Everything is home-baked by us.”
Argentina was this year’s featured nation, where the delegation talked about the diversity of Argentina and Patagonia, the region to the south of Argentina which is famous for its diverse landscapes that includes Perito Moreno glacier, the Valdés Peninsula, Argentine Lake District, Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. Additionally, Argentina is also famous for its agriculture, particularly cattle and horses.
Abigail Pooe-Jordan has been active with Festival of Nations for several years now as the delegate for South Africa. Pooe-Jordan praised the festival’s ability to bring people from all backgrounds and walks of life together.
“The diversity you find here is amazing,” she said. “There are so many countries represented here, and the opportunity to meet all of the people is incredible.”
Some of the items on display at the South African booth included currency from the nation, sculptures made from okapi and paintings of animals that were child-centered.
Most of the vendors shared geographical information about the regions within a nation, such as the French booth sharing the history of the large bows in the Alsace region of France along with correcting historical myths surrounding famous figures, such as the “let them eat cake” quotation that is frequently and mistakenly attributed to queen Marie Antoinette.
The Japanese booth shared items on sale that were handmade or from the nation, and the Ukrainian booth had multiple displays of pysanka, the traditional Easter eggs that are decorated with Ukrainian folk designs.
Dave Hine, of the St. Andrews Society of Greater Dayton, was at the festival with his wife Heather on behalf of the Scottish delegation. Their display featured lineage books to help visitors discover if they could be of Scottish descent.
According to Hine, he and his wife took a vacation to Scotland years ago where librarians were able to trace back the lineage on her side to the 1300s.
“Most larger metropolitan libraries will sit down with you for a fee – it was £10 when my wife and I went there, although it may be closer to £20 now – and will help you trace back your lineage,” Hine said.
He also talked about some traditional Scottish garb. Along with the kilt in his wife’s family colors, Hine also was sporting a sporran, which resembles a canteen and serves as a means of carrying supplies or food, since the kilts have no pockets on them.
The festival wrapped up at 8 p.m. Saturday evening, with a promise that next year would also be just as fun as well as a learning experience for festival-goers.