Festival of Nations aims to unite

Event marks 25th year on Aug. 19

By Cody Willoughby - cwilloughby@aimmediamidwest.com

TROY — Celebrating a landmark 25th year in the Troy community, “Festival of Nations” is set to return to the levee from 2-8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19.

This year’s festival, titled “Troy: Nations United,” will highlight 18 nations from around the world including Argentina, Egypt, France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, South Africa, Ukraine, and more.

This year’s theme breaks from the tradition of spotlighting an individual nation, but event chairman Michael Ham explained that this was a conscious decision.

“We wanted to do something a bit different,” Ham said. “With all of the discord and uncertainty going on in the world right now, we wanted to a highlight a theme that states we’re all united. Instead of having a featured country, we wanted to give everybody equal prominence.”

Each country will feature a designated 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 international cuisine, dance, music, and arts and crafts. Games, activities, and face-painting will be available for children.

The Parade of Nations will commence at 4 p.m., and will feature participants of all ages clad in the garb and artifacts of their native country.

Entertainment will be headlined on the open-air stage by Celtic band Lone Raven, who will perform 5-6:30 p.m.

“They’re one of the more well-known and professional groups we’ve had at the festival,” Ham exclaimed.

Other performances will include Madame Gigi’s Outrageous Can-Can Dancers, McGovern Ceili Dancers, and Five Point Cloggers.

“I think this year’s theme gives us a unique opportunity not only to highlight the diversity that exists in this community and local region, but it also gives us the opportunity to highlight the indisputable fact that despite being different, we’re all one human family,” Ham said. “I think with the theme being about unity, it’s going to be a really unique element that sets this year’s festival apart.”

Ham also stated that “the festival operates under the auspices of the Mayor’s International Council.”

“We are fortunate that Mayor Beamish has recognized the value of this unique festival in the life of our community, and as such, he has been such a resounding cheerleader of this festival and has given so much of his time to ensure its success.”

The festival is funded by donations from the Troy Foundation, City of Troy, and Troy Area Chamber of Commerce.

Event marks 25th year on Aug. 19

By Cody Willoughby