In the spring of 1972, several ethnic group leaders got together with an idea to organize an art and cultural festival in the Capital District. The purpose was three-fold. The first was to prove how well people with diverse backgrounds can work together and have lots of fun doing it; the second ws to present a glimpse of the world to the residents of the capital District; and the third was to get the children involved so that they can appreciate their heritage with their parents.
This idea was soon turned into a reality and the first ethnic festival was held on October 27, 1972. It was named "Festival of Nations" and was held at the Hudson Valley Community College. It was welcomed so much that thousands of people had to be turned away. The following year we moved to the RPI field House to be able to accommodate everyone. In 1978, when the Convention Center at the Empire State Plaza in Albany was built and ready for us, we moved there.
The word got around about us - how much enjoyment we offer for the family on one Sunday afternoon in the Fall of every year. Now there are several interantional bazaars/festivals in the area. They are organized by different institutions. Our Festival of Nations remains the original. It is unique, in the sense that we, the participating nations, ourselves, organize everything. Each nation has equal voice. There is no veto power, no deadlocks nor sanctions. Here at a small-scaled United Nations, the decisions are made jointly. Any ethnic group (registered as a non-profit group) can apply to join us.
This year, we are celebrating our 47th annual Festival with you! We hope you enjoy your few hours with us by looking at the arts and crafts from different parts of the world; by tasting delicious ethnic foods; and by being part of the audience indulging in the music with rhythm and dances representing various cultures and tradition of the world.