Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:06

More than 16 countries represented at Hagerstown multicultural festival

Written by  Julie E. Greene, Herald-Mail.com
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Hagerstown resident Lalita balanced a curved sword on her hip, shoulder and head Sunday as a large crowd watched during the 3State Multicultural Fest.

At one point, she was on her knees, with the sword balanced on her head, as she did a belly dance and leaned back, keeping her head straight with the sword atop.

Lalita said it was the first time she had performed the sword dance publicly, apropos considering the festival was a first-time event.

Held in the area of Hagerstown City Park's ball fields, the festival's offerings represented more than 16 countries, said Gaby Polanco, who co-chaired the Multicultural Entertainment Group event.

"I think it turned out really good. For being the first time, to tell you the truth, we're very, very pleased ...," Polanco said midway through the festival.

"This area is so rich in all kind(s) of people from different backgrounds, so we wanted to celebrate that," Polanco said.

Polanco said organizers are hoping to hold multiple events a year throughout the Tri-State area, including an annual Hagerstown event.

Among the wares being sold by vendors were art, jewelry and international cuisine.

A skillet, about a yard in diameter, held paella.

In the neighboring tent, metal chafing dishes held braised stuffed cabbages and Romanian sausages.

Next door, Dan Cazacu was serving appetizers called langoshes, which a sign described as a fry bread with feta and mozzarella, and baked pastries or chimney cakes called kurtos kalacs.

Cazacu, of Potomac, Md., said things were going "so-so" as several people stopped by his booth, but he didn't think the turnout was fabulous.

People were enjoying the weather, he said.

Some adults and younger children were hanging out in the area of several inflatable bounce houses. Nearby, a kiddie ride was available, as was a small train that took riders around the grass.

Lynelle Crawford brought her daughters, Chloe, 7, and Nyasha, 8, to the festival.

Crawford said she recently moved to Hagerstown from Washington, D.C., an area that frequently has multicultural events.

She said Sunday's festival was nicely put together.

"For family and kids, it's a great day," Crawford said.

Most of the crowd was at the main stage, which hosted various entertainment.

Several youths from Reach, a Chambersburg, Pa., group, demonstrated their hip-hop skills, and then pairs of youths took turns dancing, including break dancing and doing acrobatic flips.

After the youths were done, a band performed and a few people danced along.

Juan Aquino, who was dancing with his wife, Cleo, said his family came from Chambersburg for the festival.

Cleo Aquino said the family ate before arriving, but planned to try some of the international foods before leaving.

After Lalita performed a belly dance and sword dance, some people approached her to get their pictures taken with her.

Lalita said she started practicing the sword dance in March with Malia, an instructor from Hawaii.

She used what she described as a sultan's sword, a blade that resembled a kilij or shamshir.

When the wind picked up just as she had balanced the sword on her head, the sword spun a little and started to tilt before Lalita reached up to steady it.

"Outdoor performances are always exciting. You never know what the elements will bring," she said.

Copyright © 2013, Herald Mail

 

 

 

Read 2173 times Last modified on Saturday, 01 June 2013 08:16

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