While walking around downtown Raleigh on June 8, passersby could hear a range of music intermingled with the smells of a wide array of foods from around the world. The Raleigh International Food Festival is a gathering of food trucks that serve different global cuisines that range from Hungarian pastries to Jamaican food.
Bethanie Mickles, 43, performed a Polynesian dance at the festival and she spoke about what the festival means to her.
“The Raleigh International Food Festival is like a cousin to the International Festival that we normally have in the fall,” Mickles said. “This is maybe about the third or fourth year of this event, but every time that they’ve had it, I’ve been at it, because it's some of the same performers that you’ll see at the International Festival, some of the same food vendors, and it’s just like a showcase of all types of cuisine from around the world.”
The Raleigh International Food Festival also showcases different performances throughout the day.
“I did a Polynesian dance, specifically a dance from Tahiti,” Mickles said. “The song talks about togetherness and unity, and so I thought it would be a great song to perform at something like this.”
Magdalena’s Chimney Cakes was one food truck that was at the Raleigh Food Festival. Viviane Moravick, 33, who owns Magdalena’s Chimney Cakes , spoke about the food that she served.
“We make Hungarian chimney cones," Moravick said. "In Hungarian, they’re called Kürtőskalács. It’s a raised yeast dough, and we wrap it over a spit, and it’s roasted over an open fire until it caramelizes and then we cover it with coatings and fill it with things like ice cream and Nutella. The reason I started this is because my grandma had this business in the 70s back in Budapest. That’s who Magdalena is; that’s why my truck is called that.”
According to Moravick, the International Food Festival makes others aware of different cultures.
“At the time of flux we are in right now, I feel like it’s important to be inclusive of everyone and just understand other cultures,” Moravick said.
Steven Gutierrez, 26, was a member of the staff who helped run a beverage tent for the Raleigh International Food Festival. He spoke about what he thought was the meaning of the festival.
“I think it kind of opens people's minds to be accepting of other cultures and realize that while things may look 100 percent different, they may not actually be so different,” Gutierrez said. “Especially with the food, the music, it really just helps people's understanding of different cultures.”
The common belief between the vendors and participants was best summarized by Alexandra Gizzi, a sales representative for Dilworth Coffee.
“It’s a really great way to connect with different cultures and try different things from around the world, but also get to know people who could live in your neighborhood,” Gizzi said.