By Melody Vallieu
TROY — The city of Troy is a melting pot of diversity.
For 22 years, the Festival of Nations has celebrated just that.
The 2015 Festival of Nations is free and open to the public and will be offered from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, on the Great Miami River levee in Troy.
The festival will include a Parade of Nations at 4 p.m., according to festival committee member Tom Funderburg, followed by a children’s parade at 5 p.m., sponsored by the Troy Noon Optimist.
“The children’s parade is a parade of children in costume or with a flag or noisemaker and they parade the festival grounds,” Funderburg said. “It’s a wonderful part of the festival.”
Residents of Troy, Miami County and beyond will be able to experience and celebrate 15-20 nations and cultures from around the world through interactive booths/displays, food, dance, music, story-telling and arts and crafts.
The featured country is China, and others include Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Columbia, India, Honduras, France, Germany, Philippines, Panama, Peru, Japan, Scotland and Ukraine and more.
“China had never been featured at the festival so we wanted to promote them,” Funderburg said. “We look forward to the Chinese delegation and we are looking forward to learning about the culture and the country.”
For children, there are games, face-painting and other activities.
All ages can enjoy learning about various countries, which are represented by local residents who want to share their heritage. Colorful tents and booths will create a festive look for the festival area.
There also will be multi-cultural entertainment presented on the open-air stage during the entire festival featuring dancers, musicians, story-tellers and others.
“Eight of the countries will be providing entertainment from dance to song to stories to customs,” he said.
Funderburg said besides local residents providing entertainment, the event will include Madam Gi Gi’s Outrageous French Can Can dancers, a steel drum group called Steel Expressions, belly dancing by Cairo Mystique and a Peruvian dance ensemble.
“It’s a large group. They had the crowd on their feet last year,” Funderburg said of the Peruvian dance ensemble.
Food from many different countries is always a highlight of the event each year. Individual delegations prepare authentic, traditional food items representative of their countries. Also, there is a food court where local restaurants share favorite ethnic food dishes.
“It’s probably one of the only places you take try some of these recipes because they are home recipes,” Funderburg said of some of the eclectic food choices that will be available.
Funderburg, Jerry Mullins, Michael Ham and Brock and Leyla Heath make up this year’s committee, he said.
Children’s International Summer Village, or CISV, will have a booth and the Troy Historical Society will offer a historical lesson as well, Funderburg said. Troy Community Radio will once again offer a live remote.
“For a town our size to have this much diversity and celebrate it, it’s unique,” Funderburg said.
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131, [email protected] or on Twitter at @TroyDailyNews.