PHOTOS: Pista sa Nayon Festival Serves Up a Feast with a Side of Community

by Carolyn Bick

As he and his family waited in line for plates heaped with lumpia (fried spring rolls), pansit (noodles), and longanisa (sweet Filipino sausages), Mason Asbill briefly reminisced about his time coming to the Pista sa Nayon festival.

“We’ve been coming here since the very beginning,” he said of the Filipino festival, which is part of Seafair, and has taken place in Seward Park for the last 30 years. “We know [all the families involved]. I’ve volunteered here.”

Throughout the sunny day of July 28, tens of thousands of attendees would filter through the festival. As Asbill and his family settled into the shade of a tree to eat, the sounds of music ushered young Filipino folk dancers dressed in traditional outfits onto the stage of the Seward Park Amphitheatre. Further up the hill, vendors sold vibrantly-colored fans and clothing, near games set up for children to play.

The festival’s name means “feast of the village,” said longtime festival advisor Larry Alcantara.

“In the Philippines, it was tradition, after harvesting crops that a village would take pause to celebrate their bounty, and share it with neighbors,” Alcantara said. “They would go on for days, having a festival, day after day. It was a time of celebrating, and fellowship, and friendship, and sharing, and family.”

Alcantara said that his favorite part of the festival is running into old friends whom he may not have seen for years. Sometimes, he said, he even runs into people who had been attending since they were young children, and are now bringing their own families to the festival.

“Every year, I meet new friends, and it is just a joy for this human interaction to take place in an atmosphere of harmony and acceptance,” Alcantara said.

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Fans for sale sit on a table, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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A person is reflected in a mirror at a jewelry booth, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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A dancer performs, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Andrei Datol, left, plays a game with Carlos Datol, far right, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Dancers take their bows, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Aleksa Manila announces raffle winners, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

Featured Image: A young dancer performs, during the 30th annual Pista sa Nayon at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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