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Fortune Cooking Food Festival

Judi

by Festival Nomad "Sidekick" & Partner, Judi McWilliams

Divide and Conquer...
This past weekend, on an overcast but warm summers’ day, I decided to venture out “solo” to the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto to their “World Routes – Fortune Cooking Food Festival”. This was a FREE day at the centre. The Festival Nomad and I had decided to divide and conquer for this weekend festivals and events. The Festival Nomad made the journey north to Collingwood for their “Peak to Shore Music and Art Fest“. I hadn’t been to the Harbourfront in some time and I had definitely never attended “solo”, so it was with a great deal of anticipation that I approached the Centre for their “Fortune Cooking Food Festival”. I knew the general area of where the festival was taking place. The Harbourfront Centre has a wonderful website with all the details including a great site map. As I neared the waterfront, I was instantly reassured that I had arrived at the right location. There were many tents set up, full of wonderful and colourful merchandise. As I had arrived quite early (the festival did not get underway until noon), I had time to visit the Queen’s Quay building. I wanted to explore all the treasures it had to offer, and to pick up a coffee before I started the days activities. Because I was so early, I had a lot of time to "poke" around the “International Marketplace & World Café”. The vendors were extremely helpful and they offered many unique items such as jewelry, silk scarves and hats... "treasures from around the world". The food that was offered smelt delightful and there was an ample selection of new foods from various cultures to discover. I watched the busy Harbourfront Centre volunteers set up the days’ activity stations and prepare for the crowds to come. I managed to secure a front row seat (a huge comfy plastic pink chair under a massive umbrella) to watch the first dance/workshop of the day.

The Dancing Begins...
The “Little Pear Garden Collective Performance and Workshop”, featured visiting Beijing Dancing Academy teacher, Mr. Li Beida. He had just arrived from Beijing a week ago. The costumes of the dancers were spectacular as were their calm peaceful dance movements! They performed two dances, depicting birds, with beautiful fluent movements. The amazing part, other than this beautiful performance, was Mr. Li Beida workshop. He guided, through the assistance of an interpreter, everyone who chose to take part. He took each movement, section by section, taught it to the crowd and then everyone “danced” to the music. I was surprised at how many people participated, young and old, men and women. Even people in wheel chairs participated with their arms! Everyone appeared to be in deep concentration but all seemed to be enjoying the experience intently! It was truly a joy to watch. Right at the end of this dance/workshop a brief rain shower occurred and everyone scrambled to the tents for cover! It stopped as soon as it started and people went on to enjoy all the other activities that the Fortune Cooking Food Festival had to offer. The kids' craft tent was packed with children of all ages. They were learning the fine art of making origami Fortune Cookies and other origami creations. While I waited for the "Breakdancing" workshop with “Supernaturalz” to begin I took the time to stroll around the booths.

Fortune Cooking...
The colourful harvest was inviting at the Greenbelt Farmers Market. This is where we got to join farmers from Ontario as they talk about their skills and their work. “Longos” were sponsoring the "Fortune Cooking Iron Chef Competition" and the Lakeside Terrace was the place to watch Noodle Walk, Chef Howard Chew of Restoran Malaysian for his "Mamak mee gorin" food demonstration. There was a big top tent where plenty of food activities and competitions happened throughout the day. A giant mirror was placed above, so all could see. Speaking of “big”, a “Giant Chef” in full chef clothing (with stilts underneath), had the crowds in laughter as he handed out Fortune Cookies from a basket! It was fun to watch everyone having such a good time! The HarbourKids Zone featured "Monkey Queen" storytelling. The evening performances at the Sirius Stage, which unfortunately I had to miss, topped off the day with all kinds of music and entertainment. This included music by Maylee Todd (soulful pop tunes) and by SICK.SOUND.SYNDROM (a five-member collective of vocal percussionists). All kinds of people, all kinds of cultures, all enjoying this wonderful festival. It’s amazing how music, dance and food brings people together. The Harbourfront Centre and all of its volunteers did a wonderful job putting together such an exciting "free" day, the Fortune Cooking Food Festival!

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