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The Council of Filipino Associations in Austria kicked off the 2018 Barrio Fiesta in Vienna on Saturday, July 21, 2018. The annual event is a celebration with colorful costumes, song and dance 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, Germany and USA.
The 2018 Barrio Fiesta in Vienna simulated the mood of a traditional Filipino fiesta celebration in a festive gathering of special guests, police, politicians, community leaders and members, and the Philippine Embassy and staff who led the opening ceremonies with a parade of colorful Filipino costumes and entertainment.
The Philippine Embassy Chorale likewise led the participants in singing the Philippine National Anthem.
Performances from the different organizations and several bands followed the opening ceremonies.
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.
Thousands of Filipinos from all over Austria attended the spectacle of typical Filipino parade and dances. Decorated booths that exhibited native delicacies and products, which are testaments to Filipino artistry, lined the event venue.
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 22nd 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.
Ambassador to Austria Maria Cleofe Natividad noted that the Filipino Barrio Fiesta in Vienna is a showcase of the unique cultural heritage of the Filipinos through food and delicacies, music, cultural performances, arts, games, and parade.
The Ambassador affirmed that the Barrio Fiesta celebration works to promote greater understanding and awareness of the diversity of the Philippine culture, heritage, talents and arts, and encourages everyone to get involved in celebrating Austria’s multicultural society!
For many Pinoy families, the Barrio Fiesta was a chance to give their youth some exposure to their country’s culture.
Filipino business Establishments
The Barrio Fiesta celebration is also a chance for various Filipino companies to market or promote their products. Businesses from the Philippines and the Austria had stalls to sell products and services.
Food stalls were packed, with queues of hungry festival-goers discussing their food choices. Plenty of stalls provided Filipino food and delicacies, such as adobo, kare-kare, menudo, dinuguan, kaldereta, bangus and pancit. Native desserts included puto, biko, suman, sapin-sapin, bibignka and halo-halo.
The Barrio Fiesta draws Filipinos from all over Europe who come to celebrate their culture and some hope to emulate the fiesta in their own respective home bases. Even a small group of Filipinos came all the way from the US to celebrate Barrio Fiesta in Autria.
“This is one of the biggest Filipino events in Austria and is the best chance to be with Filipinos here. I came here to be with them and celebrate our heritage,“ a Pinoy participant said.
Marizel Rojas, Pinay leader in Austria and one of the emcees during the event contended that the Barrio Fiesta is a chance for the Filipino Community to come together, allowing old and new generations of Filipinos abroad to delight in the richness of their country and preserve their sense of cultural community in Austria for years to come.
This year’s Barrio Fiesta included more than 50 Filipino organizations and establishments.
- Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN News, Austria