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Lorain International highlights Macedonia

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

The 47th Lorain International Festival and Bazaar celebrated the rich cultural heritages of the people that make it unique with great pride from June 22 – June 30, 2013. The annual event takes place every summer at the Black River Landing with a slew of events leading up to the three day extravaganza that features a vibrant parade.

This year more than 130 floats representing countries and organizations participated. Natalie Rodríguez, chairperson of the Parade Committee, said this year two announcing stations were setup along the route that leads off from Broadway to West Erie Street to make sure all spectators could be introduced to the participants. 

“This year we have a lot of participating royalties from other festivals,” said Ms. Rodríguez. Some of those included the Vermillion Fish Festival, the Melon Festival and Antiques Show.

The parade also featured this year’s 28 pageant contestants representing 15 countries including Mexico and Puerto Rico. The festival presented the Queen’s title to Lexi Zvosecz,18,  the first French representative in the history of the festival.  The runner up was Taylor Soto, Puerto Rico.

hungarian float

mexican princess

-Photos by Arooj Ashraf

Ms. Rodríguez said this year’s pageant also included a Native-American princess.  Princesses received a total of $2,000 in scholarship money from First Federal Savings and are judged based on knowledge of their heritage. For 17 year old María Elena Rodríguez participating in the pageant has been a childhood dream come true. Her mother was crowned Mexican Queen in 1985 and has always inspired her to participate.

“I love coming to the festival every year with my family,” she said. Besides meeting wonderful friends María Elena Rodríguez said her favorite activity has always been sampling the international cuisine, especially Greek Gyros. She said watching young girls look up to her with joy and admiration was a wonderful feeling and she would encourage them to join the festival in future years.

Macedonia was the featured spotlight country of the event and led the parade with original costumes and congregation members from St. Clement Macedonian Orthodox ChurchMarija Georgievski said the European country is one of the oldest, with a rich history and culture. “We were also mentioned in the bible.”

Macedonians settled in northeast Ohio in the early part of the 20th century with the greatest numbers arriving around the 1960s. Ms. Georgievski said there are nearly 150 families currently residing in the region.

The country’s food of pride is the kebab, a lamp and pork sausage mixed with herbs and spices that was available at the food bazaar during the festival. She said many people don’t realize the bag pipes are actually descendants of a Macedonian instrument called gajda. “We are so honored to be the spotlight country and proud to share a rich culture with a rich festival,” she said.

The spotlight organization was the Lorain Rotary Club.

State representatives, city council reps, and local commissioners also joined the parade. Floats of note included: the NASA moon walker space shuttle, exotic and classic cars including one of the four remaining original 1928 Buicks.  Children enjoyed gathering candy and waved as the procession slowly passed them. The Bazaar showcased 20 vendors and delicious food from many countries including: Croatia, Thailand, China, Germany, Hungry, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

mexican princess

antique show queen

erie county fair

fire brigade

1928 buick

international flags

Janet Espraza Mexican Princess

lions international knights

lions international train

melon queen

nasa moon vehicle

vermilion fishing festival royalty

State Rep Matt Lundy



Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/02/13 19:44:16 -0700.




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