Yesterday, my family and I ended up hitting up not one, but two of Western New York’s famous ethnic festivals. It’s a time-honored tradition of summer around Buffalo and Rochester to have a plethora of different cultures celebrated through such festivals, and it seems like every summer weekend you’re able to find at least one such event going on within driving distance. Of course, the fact that there are so many events means that you sometimes have to make difficult choices about which events to attend.
The options for yesterday included a German festival, the Italian festival, and a Macedonian festival. “Macedonian?” I asked, skeptically. “I thought Macedonia hadn’t existed for a long time.” Of course, the 22nd Annual Macedonian Festival at the Sts. Cyril and Methody Macedonian Church in Blasdell, New York provided not only great food, music, and dancing, but also a history lesson for those in attendance who were less than knowledgable. Admission was only $1 for attendees over the age of 14, and under 14 was free. At the front gate, we were also handed a booklet that provided a great history of Macedonia as well as some famous Macedonians, who include singer Shakira and religious icon Mother Theresa.
My five-year-old sister particularly enjoyed watching the dancers, looking at the traditional Macedonian outfits on display in the church hall, and lighting a candle in the sanctuary. The food was also excellent, although many items had already been sold out by the time we got to eat. My dad and step-mom each got a mixed BBQ dinner, although my dad was upset that he missed out on the cabbage rolls dinner. My sister loved the kebabs, and the organizers thoughtfully provided ketchup as a condiment, which she took full advantage of. Although there wasn’t a set vegetarian option listed, I got a plate full of rice, potatoes, and a side salad. Unfortunately, the bakery had already sold out of baclava, but we did try what one woman described as “lazy baclava”. For the purposes of this blog entry, I tried to find a recipe for the cookies, which were surprisingly dense and moist, but when I google “porcupine cookies from macedonia” I find recipes that sound totally unlike what I had. Maybe I misread the cookie sign! Unfortunately, the only solution is for you to head to the 23rd Annual Macedonian Festival next year!
What are some of your favorite ethnic festivals to attend?