Members of Team Lackland participate with dancers from the Mazuka Polish Dancers of San Antonio. The Polish Dancers were just one of several entertainment featured at the Internataional Cultural Festival held at Arnold Hall on Lackland AFB, Texas, Aug. 25, 2007. (USAF photo by Alan Boedeker) (Photo by Alan Boedeker)
Retired Lt. Col. Linda McCullers, center, leads the Texas Thunder Cloggers in one of their dance routines during the International Folk Festival at Arnold Hall Aug. 25. 2007. This is the first International Folk Festival on Lackland AFB, Texas. (USAF photo by Alan Boedeker) (Photo by Alan Boedeker)
From left, Alexia Buentello, 9, Rachel Martinez, 12, and Meryl Belisario, 10, make Ojos de dios, or God's eyes, at the crafts at the the booth sponsored by the Youth Group. Alexia is the daughter of Anna Buentello, 59th Labratory Squadron. Rachel is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Dutchess Martinez, 59th Training Squadron. Meryl is the daughter of Master Sgt. Joel Belisario, 346 Training Squadron. The girls were attending the first International Folk Festival at Lackland AFB, Texas. (USAF photo by Alan Boedeker) (Photo by Alan Boedeker)
Janet Rodriguez from the Hula Hulao Ohana Eikapeka dance troupe demonstrates the Hukilau (fish with a net) during one of the many performances held at Arnold Hall during the International Folk Festival Aug. 25, 2007, at Lackland AFB, Texas. (USAF photo by Alan Boedeker) (Photo by Alan Boedeker)
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
Arnold Hall's ballroom was filled with the sounds of exotic music the afternoon of Aug. 25 as Lackland AFB held the International Cultural Festival.
The event, which was held from 1-5 p.m., featured numerous musical and dance performance groups, ranging from the Fire on the Mountain Cloggers to the Gypsy Caravan.
"I thought it was awesome," said program coordinator Zuhal Rick. "I received nothing but positive feedback about the event from the people who attended."
Programmers hope that the festival will become an annual event, and also hope that each year a new country will host the event.
This year, the festival was hosted by Turkey. The Turkish-American Association of San Antonio was on hand and helped bring numerous cultural items as well as Turkish food.
Highlights from the food table were Kisir, a rice dish mixed with herbs and spices, Borek, which is bread stuffed with feta cheese, and Baklava, a sweet flaky pastry made with nuts and honey.
There was also a dish which consisted of rice wrapped in grape leaves and flavored with vinaigrette dressing.
Mrs. Rick said there was a constant flow of people.
"People kept coming and going," she said. "At one point we had a head count of 68 people, but many more came and went throughout the afternoon."
Children flocked to the tables with Mexican-themed arts and crafts that were sponsored by the Youth Center. Most of the children were mesmerized by the Ojo de Dios, or "God's eye," table. The adults favored the ethnic music characterized by intoxicating percussion and seductive melodies.
One table sponsored by the Turkish Society of San Antonio featured bindallis, which are traditional robes worn during events like bachelor and bachelorette parties. In English, bindalli means 1,000 branches. The name refers to the intricate stitching that resembles several golden branches on the garments.
Like many other first-time events, the Cultural Festival will be undergoing some tweaking.
"One thing I didn't realize until after the event was over was that it was held the weekend before school started, and I think that might have affected attendance" Mrs. Rick said. "I'm not sure what we will do next year, but I'm looking into moving the event outside, possibly to the amphitheater and perhaps to October, when the weather is a little cooler."
Mrs. Rick is also hoping to receive more participation next year from on-base organizations.
Still, Mrs. Rick was very grateful for all of the volunteers that came to help with the festival, especially, Tech. Sgt. Roberto Cerda, who was the event's emcee, Erik Torgerson, who was the DJ, and Senior Airman Brandon Browne.
"I couldn't have done this event without the help from some great volunteers," Mrs. Rick said.