We had a great time at the City of Spartanburg's International Festival on Saturday. Held annually in Barnet Park for 29 years, the festival attracts an estimated 12,000 visitors to downtown Spartanburg, SC each October.
Our Greenville friend Sarmīte has been organizing the locals to represent Latvia for many years, and we joined the fun about four years ago. Lauris even made this year’s brochure – see if you can spot our flag-waving hero.
Maybe you noticed on the map we were again placed next to Cameroon and South Africa on the Avenue of Nations. This means once again my head was drumming a similar beat in the evening as the one that kept tempo for the drum circle the next tent over. I’ll forgive them, but I can’t forgive the Greek food vendors for running out of gyros before I managed to swing by. The International Boulevard of Food was truly impressive this year, occupying the stretch of Converse Street for the first time, instead of the sidewalk running parallel to St. John Street where it has been many years in a row. We saw the addition of a bier garten and a much larger International Sports Zone as well.
As always, we marched in the Parade of Nations, perhaps in our largest numbers yet. Numbering twenty-one in our group photo, I estimate almost double that having stopped in at some point or another throughout the day. Lūcija kept the boys (and a visitor or two!) occupied creating little acorn figures while they weren’t running around getting their passports stamped, completing the trivia sheets (with mom’s help) or chasing the world-colored beach ball around with Finn. We didn’t even make it over to the Kids’ Zone, although we had a prime vantage point of the Worldwide Showcase Stage from our end, with all of its belly-dancing, Japanese-drumming, Latin-band glory.
With 37 countries participating, food and goods from around the world for sale, demonstrations in everything from martial arts to fencing, the Spartanburg International Festival is a free event like no other in South Carolina. I’m proud to represent Latvia in this global affair, and hope that our numbers here in the Upstate keep growing right along with the festival! Uzredzēšanos nākamgad Spartanburg!