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Turkish festival in US capital enchants thousands, fosters cultural exchange

The much anticipated traditional Turkish Festival captivated audiences this year on the iconic Pennsylvania Avenue, right in front of the Congress building in the US capital Washington, D.C.

Türkiye’s Ambassador to the US, Hasan Murat Mercan, graced the festival with his presence, touring the stands and taking photos with participants.

Organized by the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATA-DC), Sunday’s vibrant celebration showcased the rich tapestry of Turkish culture and delighted attendees with outstanding culinary offerings.

The folklore team’s mesmerizing performances took center stage, drawing particular attention and applause.

The festival was not just a feast for the senses; it also catered to the younger audience with organized games, creating a lively and family-friendly atmosphere. Live music and culturally enriching events added to the festivities.

Stands featuring products reflecting Ottoman-Turkish culture drew considerable interest. Visitors examined hand-woven Turkish carpets, traditional Ottoman clothing and intricate tiles on display.

They also enjoyed Turkish coffee and had the opportunity to partake in fortune-telling.

Popularity, impact

ATA-DC Vice President Gamze Cakmak hailed the overwhelming success of this year’s festival, which boasted more than 20,000 visitors.

During an interview with Anadolu, Cakmak highlighted that the annual celebration consistently earns the title of the best festival in Washington, serving as a testament to its popularity and impact.

“With a visitor number exceeding 20,000, we continue to be recognized as the premier festival in Washington. This is truly wonderful. Being acknowledged as the best motivates us to work even harder,” she said.

She said the event, which saw participation from foreign diplomats, significantly contributed to Turkish-American relations.

Gizem Salcigil White, the founder of Turkish Coffee Lady, a gourmet coffee shop which actively promotes Turkish coffee within the US, conveyed in her remarks that interest in the festival continues to rise each year.

“As a Turkish American, I take immense pride in my country, our culture, our people, and our traditions. Witnessing this surge in attendance fills us with pride,” she said.

She noted that the festival not only serves as a cultural bridge but also fosters dialogue and friendship, underlining its role in encouraging cross-cultural connections.

*Serife Cetin in New York contributed to this story