People filled the World of Montgomery 2014 Festival in Wheaton this weekend , many wearing the colorful traditional clothing from El Salvador, China, India and Ethiopia.
The sixth annual festival featured authentic food, music and performances representing the cultures of countries that are reflected in the diversity of Montgomery County. The event was organized by the Montgomery County Fun and organized KID (Kids International Discovery) Museum, which opens Oct. 26.
Varieties of music emanated the area. Banda El Pulgarcito USA opened the festival with a performance of traditional El Salvadorian music.
Andrea Cazon, a performer in El Pulgarcito USA, says the band performs in festivals, shows and parades in various states. She wore a bright blue and twinkling outfit.
“Everyone tries to learn something more every time we come,” she said.
Douglas Lopez, another member of the band, said that they realized that the community lacked an El Salvadorian band. They “started doing it, because no one else was,” he said.
After four years, “people start to know us,” Douglas said.
Tents peppered the Wheaton Plaza parking lot with vendors displaying crafts, selling ethnic food and merchandise.
Amanduel Daba volunteered at the Ethiopian table where he wrote names of attendees in Amharic in their souvenir festival passports.
“It’s pretty cool to just show our culture,” Amanuel said. “There are many cultures in Ethiopia, and this is a chance to show one part of it. And it’s also (a chance) for Ethiopians born here to teach them about traditional Ethiopian culture."
The same idea applies to each culture, and this well-coordinated display of the selected countries provided families with a chance to explore the expansive customs in the community.
Wantanee Suksil said that it allowed her two children to have fun.
“When the kids [are] happy, parents [are] happy, too!” she said.
For the gastronomes curious in one of the featured countries, the global kitchen provided chef demonstrations from local restaurants.
Martha Carretero has come to the festival for the past five years. She hopes that future festivals will feature more countries, including her Bolivia, where she emigrated from 30 years ago.
Daba said the World of Montgomery Festival was “a great (chance) to see the diversity of the community.”