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Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Taste of Nations heads virtual

One of Austin’s premier events celebrating diversity is coming back this coming Saturday, in a new way that’s becoming increasingly familiar.

The 11th Taste of Nations will be held virtually this Saturday through the Welcome Center Facebook page from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have much of what it has had in the past, in just a different way of delivery.

“Of course it’s not the same, that’s why we’re trying so hard to pepper everybody and pull them in a different way,” said Pamela Hollrah-Asleson, a member of the Taste of Nations steering committee.

Early on in the pandemic last year, organizers had hoped to be able to still hold the annual event, but as the COVID-19 tragedy continued to gain steam, the decision was ultimately made that Taste of Nations couldn’t be safely held.

“We had to put thought and effort into this,” Hollrah-Aselson.

However, people like Welcome Center Executive Director Herve Idjidina feels that any amount of hard work is worth the effort to make sure this important event is held in some fashion and that it doesn’t fall victim to a second cancellation.

“It was very important because Taste of Nations is a wonderful celebration in Austin,” Idjidina said. “Last year, because of COVID it was not possible to run Taste of Nations. We can try something and do it virtually and celebrate the wonderful diversity in Austin, hoping next year we can do it in person.”

With Jon Deyo of ViDeyo Arts Video Production Studio running the technical show, this year’s Taste of Nations will include much of what people have come to love of the event through their computers at home.

There will be food, dance and song that will continue telling stories of the cultures that make Austin, Austin. There will be a food challenge featuring foods from several nations and people will show off traditional dress from their homelands.

Businesses throughout Austin have donated items for raffle and those names that are chosen every 15-30 minutes will have the opportunity to win some great prizes.

Even the schools are getting involved as for example, Woodson Kindergarten Center made a video of their international students teaching everybody how to say “hello” in their native language.

However, not only is the event a good chance to experience fantastic foods and culture in whatever medium, Taste of Nations can be more.

“I think Taste of Nations is also an opportunity to show the whole world it is always good when we do things together,” Idjidina said. “We may be different, but we are all human. We can get together to build some wonderful things.”