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About 2,000 Filipinos, Austrians and other nationalities from all over Austria trooped to the venue this year, including Filipinos from neighboring countries. 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.
Elmer Blanco, Chairman of the Council of Filipino Associations in 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 21th 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.
In her remarks to the community, Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson informed those present of the recent developments in the Philippines and took the opportunity to thank the Filipino community for their tireless efforts to participate in projects that raise the community’s collective consciousness and engage in programs that promote Austrian-Filipino socio-cultural relations. She likewise asked the Pinoys here to show their moral support for the soldiers fighting against terrorism in Marawi.
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 raffle, in which two roundtrip tickets to the Philippines and cash prizes were given away, was also among the most highly anticipated activities of the day.
The numerous booths sold dry goods, traditional and popular Filipino food items such as kakanins, barbeque, lechon kawali, halo-halo, pansit, and lumpia, and service providers such as remittance, travel, real estate and phone cards companies.
The Barrio Fiesta 2017 had been opened with the celebration of the holy mass. Presiding priest was Fr. Ely Dalanon, Chaplain of the Filipino Catholic Community in Vienna.
Lending their talents to Barrio Fiesta was a roster of cultural performers from member organizations.
The Novo Ecijanos in Austria won the Best Boot Award. Philippine International Nurses Association in Austria got the Best Dance Performance Award while Babaylan won the Best Dance Choreograph during the Parade. CFAA bestowed the The Igorot Austria the Hall of Fame Award.
Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN news, Austria