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The annual Barrio Fiesta, organized by the Council of Filipino Associations in Austria (CFAA) was held on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at the Sportplatz ATV Liesing, Vienna.
About 2,000 Filipinos, Austrians and other nationalities from all over Austria trooped to the venue this year, including Filipinos from Italy, Switzerland and the Slovak Republic. The celebration included a buffet-style lunch and dinner featuring an array of Filipino dishes, parade and traditional and modern dances. It is also a chance to showcase Philippine tourism. Decorated booths that exhibited native delicacies and products, which are testaments to Filipino artistry, lined the event venue.
Barrio Fiesta, which means neighborhood celebration, is a gathering of Filipino culture in which different Philippine neighborhoods celebrate their patron saints. The celebration of Barrio Fiesta is nevertheless a part of the Philippine Independence Day Celebration here.
Beginning in the early 90’s, Barrio Fiesta celebration in Austria sought to educate the Filipino community about the richness of the Pinoy culture.
Each year the event has become increasingly popular.
“Every year Barrio has gotten bigger and bigger,” said Arlene Castaneda of the Sentro ng Kultura at Wika ng Pilipinas at Austria.
Elmer Blanco, Chairman of the Council of Filipino Associations in Austria Austria said the purpose of Barrio Fiesta is just showing unity and expressing our Filipino heritage to inform the rest of the Filipino community in Austria.
“We are celebrating today the 20th Barrio Fiesta in Austria. Each year our celebration gets bigger and bigger. We are very proud to have reached this milestone. I believe we’ve been able to sustain it because we have the most generous sponsors and “kababayans” in Austria who have been supporting us for years,” Blanco said.
“On behalf of the Police force here in the District of Liesing, I want to congratulate the Filipinos in Austria for this wonderful Feast. We have been recently hearing and experiencing negative news about the foreigners here but we are very glad and optimistic that this will be a peaceful Fiesta,” Dr. Walter Czapek, chief of Police in Liesing said.
Deputy District Director, Mr. Harald Gruber even welcomed the Filipinos in Tagalog and received a loud applause from the audience when he said, “Maligayang pagdating sa Liesing!”
“I am delighted that you bring Filipino feeling here in Liesing. Thank you for this wonderful cultural celebration,” the Deputy District Director said.
“The booths are our favorite thing so far. We like to look at what booths are new and which were here from last year,” Edna Santiago, a Pinay migrant in Austria commented.
For many Pinoy families, the Barrio Fiesta was a chance to give their youth some exposure to their country’s culture.
This year’s Barrio Fiesta included more than 50 Filipino organizations and establishments.
This annual event is one of the Filipino-Austrian Community’s largest free outdoor festival that draws crowds wanting to sample Philippine cuisine, soak up Filipino hospitality, and enjoy entertainment that crosses all ages, cultures and ethnicities.
The Barrio Fiesta 2016 had been opened with the celebration of the holy mass. Presiding priest ws Fr. Jose “Dong” Conrado, Chaplain of the Filipino Catholic Community in Vienna.
Lending their talent to Barrio Fiesta was a roster of cultural performers from member organizations.
- Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN news, Austria