First Day of the Silk Road Festival


First day of Silk Road Festival was amazing. More than 7000 people visited the unofficial opening. The first day past like a trip of a life time. Also the weather was perfect to have an outdoor festival. Organized by the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, the festival gave Houstonites a unique opportunity to enjoy the food, arts, crafts, dances, and music of Central Asia.

The “Silk Road” refers to the world’s oldest trade route: the network of cities and trails that once spanned the Afro-Eurasian landmass, linking Asia with Mediterranean Europe and Africa.  For centuries, the Silk Road was the commercial center of the world, but it was also an incredible locus of cultural transmission.  The Silk Road Festival celebrates this history by featuring the cultures of six countries that currently make up this historic region: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Festival activities housed in a 52-foot tall tent constructed outside the Stafford Center.  Just like the ancient traders, visitors to the Silk Road Festival were able to peruse booths displaying hand-made jewelry and scarves, charms, and hand-woven carpet.  Genuine artisans from each of the featured countries will display their handicrafts and demonstrate the traditional arts of water marbling, calligraphy, stone-carving, and filigree.

Visitors greeted by actors in authentic costumes, and the grounds decorated with panoramas and replicas of the historic buildings of Central Asia.  There were multiple stages for performances by folk dancers and traditional musicians, including the world famous TURKSOY (The International Organization of Turkic Culture) folk dance group.

Cooks native to each represented country were also on hand to prepare and share their traditional dishes. Festival-goers freshen up with a cup of Turkish coffee or several glasses of tea. Kebabs, doner (gyros), baklava, and dumplings were available, not to mention maras ice-cream. With an expected attendance of over one hundred thousand, the Silk Road Festival could be considered one of the largest festivals in Houston.

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