Our city, Johns Creek, had its first International Festival today. This is a really international area, both this end of our county and into Gwinnett County, which borders us. We’re still 54% Caucasian but that leaves plenty of space for other people. The next biggest group is Asian at 25% (and about 10% of that is Indian with Koreans and Chinese being the next two big groups and others, too). Then there’s about 10% African American and 7% Hispanics. And “Caucasian” covers a variety of backgrounds. There’s a good-sized South African population and lots of European countries. Our next-door neighbors are Ukrainian, as are their next-door neighbors on the other side and another family three houses down from them. So this is a good place to learn about different people, cultures and traditions.
The city has really advertised this event and they had a big turn-out. We were a little worried about finding a parking place. When we got there we realized our church was one of the sponsors. I hadn’t heard anything mentioned about it at church but apparently it came up a couple of times on Sunday (must have been snoozing) and was really promoted on Wednesday evenings when we aren’t there. When we drove in, we saw one of our three pastors helping with the traffic but he’s a chaplain for the police department so that wasn’t surprising. When we got in and picked up a program we saw Johns Creek Baptist on the list of sponsors. We later ran into our senior pastor and our third pastor and had good talks with both of them.
We barely got through the gate when Katy found a dog. Someone was there with two four-month-old Great Pyrenees.
We headed for the food first. They didn’t have nearly enough food trucks and all the lines were long. I had checked out he list ahead of time and wanted to try the Hungarian truck. I figured when am I ever going to eat Hungarian. They had a flat-bread with different toppings. I had the traditional, which was sour cream, shredded cheese and olive oil. The others were more Italian-inspired, caprese, chicken parmigiana among others, and a Cajun one.
I didn’t get a picture until we had eaten three fourths of it and the lighting was bad for food pictures. They bread was crunchy on the outside and soft on the insides, a little like a funnel cake without the sugar. It was really good.
Heath settled on gator tacos from a Cajun truck. No picture of that. It tasted good but since it was fried you mostly the tasted the batter, not so much the meat, but you could tell it wasn’t beef or chicken.
We started to go look at the booths, got as far as the organizing booth where you could put a pin on a map where you are from. I asked if it was OK to put a pin where I grew up and the lady said yes so I found the spec that was Singapore and she was interested in that.
By the time I finished talking with her, Heath and Katy had headed over to a small stage to watch the Chinese yo-yos. By the time I found them, Katy was on the stage trying it out. She did learn a couple of actual tricks.
This is long but watch the girl behind Katy.
She was up there for a while and, well, the Hungarian Chimney Cake truck was right next to me and that was something else on my list so I got in line. Chimney cake is a batter rolled in strips, wrapped around a block of wood and baked on a spit. I got a cinnamon flavored one. I was in line long enough to up-sell myself and also got an ice cream cone made from the same dough, lined with Nutella and filled with vanilla ice cream. But there were three of us to eat it.
Then we finally got back down to the vendors. We saw some really neat Columbian art. Katy bought a flower make entirely out of tree bark. The guy was sure to point out that they are made from fallen trees, no live trees are harmed.
There was a guy with a booth with all kinds of things from Mexico. Katy got a pair of shoes. I was really interested in some blouses and a cute change purse but he was by himself, really busy and nothing had price tags. So Katy just got her shoes and we left.
We also went to a booth for a business started by a junior at a nearby high school. She sold beautiful scarves hand-made in India. They were expensive but I got her card, maybe for a Christmas present. Much the proceeds goes back to the women making the scarves and to some other charities.
We visited the Canada booth and talked with the lady there who works for the cosulate. Katy was excited about her Canadian flag. It is red, not pink, that’s the sun shining through the plastic.
There was a kid-zone with all kinds of activities. We stopped and talk to a Girl Scout troop as Katy knew some of the girls from volunteering at day camp last summer. And we went to a martial arts booth. They had a wheel to spin and Katy spun it. She won 10 kicks. The girl in front of us won a free private lesson but she was real small and her dad didn’t bother getting anything he could redeem later.
There was a huge turn-out, lots and lots of people. They need more food trucks next year, all the lines were very long. They had a big stage with one act after another all day long. We heard a middle school band (the director was the director for the pit orchestra Katy was in this year so she was interested in that), some ethnic dances and instruments. We didn’t really get a chance to just sit and be entertained but we enjoyed the music as we were walking around. We lucked out with parking. We got through the gate and into a parking space in just a couple of minutes and out and through the gate in just a couple of minutes. On the city’s Facebook page people were really complaining about spending 45 minutes just trying to get out. Once we got to the main street we needed to go left but had to go right and took the round-about way home. Well, this is the first year and you never know how many people to expect or exactly how it’s going to go. We are looking forward to going next year.