TROY — The 26th annual Festival of Nations is set to return to the Great Miami River levee, in Troy, from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 17.
The festival is continuing last year’s theme of “Troy: Nations United,” and will again feature 18 countries.
According to chairperson Michael Ham, the theme was chosen because it best represents the festival’s objective.
“We want to stress the idea of unity,” he said. “There is so much discord going on in the world right now, so we want to put emphasis on us coming together as a unified community and family.”
Each country will feature a designated and interactive booth at the festival, manned by local residents who will share each nation’s culture and heritage with festival-goers.
The festival will also feature an eclectic assortment of dance, music, and arts and crafts. Games, activities, and face-painting will be available for children, and a Parade of Nations will be held at 4 p.m.
New this year, instead of highlighting one or two prominent headliners, the entertainment will be “delegate-centered,” Ham said, and will include individual entertainment groups representing nearly all of the 18 featured countries.
“This is really allowing the delegates to make the festival what it is, and to showcase their various cultures,” he said.
Several popular acts from previous years will return again, including Madame Gigi’s Outrageous Can-Can Dancers, McGovern Ceili Dancers, and Five Point Cloggers.
Also new this year is a change to the festival hours. In years past, the festival has been held from 2-8 p.m., but this year, the event will kick-off at noon and end at 6 p.m.
“After some discourse among the committee members, and with consideration of other events that weekend, we wanted to have the festival available for people to go to while also allowing them to experience other things throughout the community and felt this time slot allowed that,” Ham said. “The new time also allows our workers and participants to get off at a decent hour.”
Along with entertainment, a highlight of the festival is the food. Each nation will offer authentic and traditional food items representative of their countries.
Ham also noted that this will be Mayor Michael Beamish’s final Festival of Nations prior to the end of his mayoral career.
“(Beamish) has been a great support for this festival and has always made sure it continues as intended, so we want this to be special for him, as well,” Ham said.
As always, the Festival of Nations event is free and open to the public.
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