SEWARD PARK – Lumpia, pancit, halo halo, oh my!
This weekend, Seattle is gearing up to celebrate the country’s largest outdoor Filipino American event. Pista Sa Nayon is a popular festival dating back centuries to the rural areas and towns of the Philippines.
“Filipinos would gather for a fiesta in the middle of town to celebrate a good harvest,” say organizers. “And it would be a time for people to focus on their neighbors, family and friends, solidifying the sense of community and hard work.”
The festival in Seattle was first proposed in 1990 by former King County Executive Ron Sims as a way to give the growing Filipino American population a sense of partnership with the larger Seattle community since African American, Latino, Native American, and other Asian American groups already had celebrations as part of Seafair.
The first event was held in 1990 at Rainier Playfield in Columbia City, drawing roughly 2,000 attendees. By the year 2000, Pista was drawing more than 10,000 people. In 2001, an estimated 15,000 people came to the festival at Seward Park.
“Pista is like a big family picnic,” said local resident Rochelle Gabutero Vinson. “The Filipino community is small in Seattle, so it seems like everyone knows everyone. My husband and I have been going for about 10 years, and it’s fun to share my Filipino culture with our kids. The best part is seeing people I haven’t seen since last year, and the food!”
More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the event this Sun., July 29, from 9 am to 8 pm.
The festival will feature many community performers, including the FYA Drill Team, Mabuhay Warrior Pathfinders Club and the popular hip hop group Kontagious.
Photo/David Mullarkey Images