Question for non-Americans living in the USA. Ethnic events?

Here in the US many towns that were settled by a certain ethnic group often have special days celebrating that heritage.
For example here are “Danish Days” for persons from Denmark.
Here is aCzech festival.
Here in Kansas city they do a bigger festival of multiple nationalities.

I’d like to ask, have you ever attended such a festival and what did you think of it?

I’ve attended several of these and sometimes they are pretty inclusive and happy to have the opportunity for outreach and sometimes they seem to be quite annoyed at having non-ethnics crashing the party.

Greekfest and Serbian festival were the worst examples of the latter. I won’t say where they were. But in each case it seemed to be revolve around the Orthodox Churches. I’m an American of Pakistani descent. Maybe if I was white it might have been different.

I’ve been to Dutch (Kings Day) and German (Oktoberfest) events and felt very welcome indeed.


In Hawaii, virtually every ethnic group has their own festival sometime during the year. My friend used to to try to get me to go the annual Okinawan festival (I have a big thing for Okinawan women) and always tell him it would be like taking a starving man to a food buffet and telling him he can’t eat!

I’m American, but my ethnicity would be Italian. We have Festa Italiana which used to be an enormous event. Unfortunately due to many issues with the board of directors and an aging [off the boat] Italian population it’s probably 50% of what it used to be. Looks like they do about 100,000 people, but they have a good half of the grounds blocked off (I assume the rent is higher if more is open).

Those grounds also host Polish Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest, Mexican Fiesta, and a handful of others. There’s also smaller ones scattered around the city throughout the summer.

Milwaukee does have a good sized German and Mexican population and enough Italians to warrant a large festival, however, everyone goes to whatever festivals they want. Or rather, they go to whatever festivals they want food from. Beyond going to them for the music/concerts, restaurants throughout the city have booths there. So you can go to Festa and just about every Italian restaurant in the city will have a presence.

The United States isn’t alone in this tradition.

In Ottawa, for example, we have multiple ethic festivals throughout the year. We totally embrace them, and why not?

I’d like some clarification on the OP. It asks about “non-Americans.” What exactly does that mean? I’m actually confused about the intent of the question. In the US we have loads of naturalized citizens, resident aliens, and children of recent immigrants; and the question is about how other immigrant communities react to immigrants? Help me out here.

Every white person ever last year even on this board apparently thought Cinco De Mayo was an event invented by Donald Trump.

Up here in Vancouver, Vaisakhi is a big think with full on parades and celebrations, usually on consecutive weekends in Vancouver and Surrey. The Surrey one is huge! I think it’s the biggest outside of India. It’s quite inclusive. The main feature is free food all along both sides of a fairly long stretch of street.
There is also Italian Day on Commercial Drive, which is a day long street festival. There are a bunch of smaller ones celebrating different countries as well and all of them are open to everyone. Of course Pride is huge here to and everyone goes to the parade!

I’m also wondering what the point of the question is. Does “non-American living in the USA” mean people here on H1 or F1 visas, etc.?

Also, there’s a difference between the kind of “ethnic heritage” events mentioned in the OP, and events in which primarily actual immigrants participate. Is the OP only asking about the former? And if so, is the OP then asking what, let’s say a modern international student from Denmark thinks about a hokey “Be a Viking” celebration in the U.S., where people who maybe never even have been to Denmark dress up in stereotypical clothes and do folkloric dances? Is that the idea here?

I think he meant to say something like if your from Ireland what fo you think of our saint pats day festivals" or what would a German from Germany think of our version of Oktoberfest…

I know when the HS Chinese exchange student went to the Chinese new years fest in la she was excited because to her it was historical …they hadn’t celebrated it since the revolution and her grandma told her stories ….it was the highlight of her semester here

Also agree this doesn’t make much sense. I’m an American, recently moved. I’m currently working and living with mainly Mexicans, so I’ll share my experience so far. I attended their annual Thanking Dinner. They cooked a whole hog, nothing more. I could tell It wasn’t much of a celebration that they truly embrace. I didn’t attend their Christmas party. I’m positive I missed out by not being able to attend. The dance, celebration, and food were highly anticipated by all. Mexicans are diehard, festive celebraters! Look forward to experience every celebration from now on!

The OP doesn’t apply to me since I’m a gringo, but I took my family to a Hispanic festival a couple of months ago.

It was amazing. Each country represented there had a booth set up with food and drinks for purchase.

I got to try arepas (Colombian and Venezuelan varieties) and Honduran tacos (they are rolled), among other things.

My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

My wife’s family has Lebanese heritage, so we have been to a Lebanese festival or two. Lebanese people are great, but I’m not crazy about most of their food.

the feast of san gennaro nyc


Anyway, here in San Antonio, the city is ~ 65% Hispanic so you bet we have “ethnic” festivals! Our biggest is the 10-day long Fiesta San Antonio, which is a series of block parties and events (usually attended by 50k-200k people) which culminates with the Battle of the Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parades (each attended by 500k people, easy). The Flower parade is such a huge deal here that over 20% of all businesses and government buildings (even schools) close for that Friday.

Here’s a list of events (PDF).

And, to be honest, I don’t think I ever lived in a city which didn’t have a Greekfest.

Either Springfield, Illinois, or some suburb thereto, has an annual “Highland Games” or something, which is a de facto celebration of all things British Isles. I worked with a guy who was a) actually English - born and raised in Newhamptoncolchestershire or some place, and b) played some English folk instrument in a band, along with a Scot and an Irishman who played folk instruments of their own.

He loved it! Besides getting a paycheck for a gig, he said the games and the dancing and all that, while of dubious authenticity, reminded him of home.

Arguably-white American of non-Scandinavian descent here who has attended Norwegian-American “Syttende Mai” festival in Wisconsin. It was fun!

Same for attending Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinese-American communities. I’m sure I missed a lot by not speaking/reading Chinese but too busy stuffing face to really notice.

Donald Trump had some tweet about celebrating Cinco De Mayo and every single person on the internet jumped on him claiming it was a “Fake Holiday” not celebrated by any Mexicans at all, even Colbert jumped on the bandwagon claiming no Mexican actually celebrates it.

I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico. It is primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, when at all.

It’s not a fake holiday, but it’s true that most Mexicans don’t really celebrate it.