Annual Parade of Nations celebrates diversity of Keweenaw


Representation for India shown during Parade of Nations Photograph and colorization by Tim Peters

Thomas Draper

The 33rd annual Parade of Nations and Multicultural Food Festival was held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The parade started at the Quincy Green in Hancock and continued through downtown Houghton and ended at the Dee Stadium where the Multicultural Food Festival was held. The two events serve to showcase the culture and countries represented in the Keweenaw.  


The parade and food festival combined represented nearly 50 countries and 8 student organizations.  The student organizations represented include the Nepalese Student Organization, Muslim Student  Associations, Indian Students Association, Iranian Community, African Student Organization, Society of  Asian Scientists and Engineers, and Bangladeshi Student Organization. 


Each of these organizations prepared traditional dishes from their respective cultures and sold them at the food festival. The funds raised from this event went back to each student organization for the use of funding future events.  


Sagnik Maity, a student worker for the Parade of Nations committee, mentioned that “there were over 1000 local participants” that came to support the festivities. The committee printed 1000 menus for the  food festival and according to Maity “all of them were gone.” 


The events are funded by the sale of event T-shirts. The design of the T-shirt was left to a community design competition that encompassed the theme of this year’s event: The World is One. The competition was won by Chiara Rapacci, a 17-year-old junior at Baraga High School. Rapacci is an Italian exchange student sponsored by the International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES).  


There was also a multiculturalism essay contest for the event. The essay was open to high school seniors that planned to attend Michigan Tech. The prompt asked two questions; What does multiculturalism mean to you and why does it matter to you, to your community, to our country, to the world? The winner of the competition was Baraga High School’s Aidan Holley, 18. Holley wrote, “If both groups put  multiculturalism into effect for Baraga, it would create a more welcoming environment for either group  to be more open to each other, spreading even more culture to each other without the worries of being  slandered.”  


Maity also mentioned, “these events promote a sense of harmony and community amongst the local  community.” He also explained how the Multicultural Dance did not occur this year. The dance has not been held since 2019 because of the uncertainty of the global pandemic. He hopes that this event can return in the coming years. This was the first-year return of the Multicultural Food Festival, however,  since the pandemic. The only restriction that differed from previous years was that the food was taken out only.