See what I loved at this great fall event
Me and Gerhard dancing the rumba

One of the 8 best fall events

Recently, the Fairbanks International Friendship Day made it onto the list of the Top 8 Best Alaska Fall Events. I reported about this annual event a couple of times here on the blog blog before. The event celebrates diversity in Fairbanks. Each year different groups of immigrants from different countries present the traditions of their heritage. These presentations vary from year to year. Thus, it’s each time different. These presentations can be dances, music, food, songs, games, jewelry, art, you name it. Thus, the posts are different too. You can find my reports about the 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 International Friendship Days at the respective links.

Clothing pageant

You are probably most interested in the fashion show of tradition clothing. The clothing pageant is my favorite highlight of the event beside the dances 😉 . Here are photos of the outfits I loved the most.

young Alaskan girl in traditional outfit
Young Alaskan girl in traditional outfit made of caribou hide and embroidered with small beads and fur. The fringes are hold together by lamp beads.

This young girl was more than happy to pose for photos. Doesn’t she look adorable in her traditional unique outfit. Such outfits are all hand-made. Despite the beading pattern are traditional nor two look alike. Every artist has their own style. Experts can even tell who made the embroidery. You saw Athabaskan beads embroidery on the blog before at the link icymi. I tried this technique and it is very elaborated.

Norwegian traditional clothing
Young mom with her little boy both in Norwegian traditional clothing. The floral patterns along the hem of the skirt, at the chest, head piece and on the belt bag are very fine tightly stitched embroidery. The boy is wearing a kind of lederhosen.

This young mom also was happy to pose for a photo. This Norwegian dress has a huge similarity with the traditional dirndls worn the Alpine regions of Bavaria (Germany), Austria and Southern Tirol(Italy). However, there are distinct differences. In the Alpine region an apron is a must even on Sundays or for festivities like a wedding. Also the blouses in the Alps are closed by buttons made of wood, metal or mother-of-pearl. On the contrary, the blouses in Norway are closed with brooches and pins. The fabric is also heavier due to the farther north cooler climate. The most famous Norwegian clothing are lobben boots and the Norwegian lice sweaters and jackets. You can learn more about these pieces and what to look for when shopping for them at the links.

Norwegian traditional dress with plaid skirt and lobben booties
Back view of a burgundy Norwegian dress with plaid pattern skirt, red lobben booties and a beaded barrette that features a salmon

The maxi dress in the photo below could stem from one of the collections of this fall’s fashion weeks given its design with mixed prints, head piece and bold colors. Actually, the dress is a couple of years old and a traditional dress from Burkina Faso where my friend served as a Peace Corps volunteer.

mature woman in traditional outfit from Burkina Faso
My friend wearing a traditional print dress with head piece and jewelry from Burkina Faso where she served in the Peace Corps years ago.

Sorry, since I modeled myself, I couldn’t take many photos of the models on stage. Thus, I took photos from back stage. The presentation was alphabetic. We were “categorized” as Germany despite my outfit was actually the same Tirolean dress that I wore in 2013 and my husband’s outfit was made of pieces from Austria. You may have seen his Austrian look already in this post.

Traditional dances

There were dances from Argentina, China, Cuba, the Middle East, Spain, the UK (Quick Step), just to mention a few. Here I want to show you some of the dance costumes I liked the most.

Spanish dancer
My friend wearing a Spanish dance costume and a brunette wig.
Flamenco dancers in ruffled Flamenco dresses
Flamenco dancers in ruffled Flamenco dresses

Interestingly, all belly-dances wore net-leotards underneath of their costumes about 15 years ago. Back then I had asked one of them why they were wearing them. The answer was that the organizer required it. In the last 6 or 7 years, none of them did wear a net-leotard anymore.

Eastern dancers in Swarovski crystals, pearl fringes and ruffle embellished outfits
Eastern dancers in Swarovski crystals, pearl fringes and ruffle embellished outfits

Aren’t these costume adorable?

My husband and I performed two dances, an Argentine Tango, and a rumba with the music of Golden Eye. Unfortunately, I had some technical issues with my camera. Thus, I can’t show you a movie of the dances as the videos didn’t record. However, a friend of ours took some photos of the rumba.

male dancer twirling his lady
Twirling. Photo courtesy to Don Gray
couple dancing in a circle
Dancing a circle with hubby in the center. Photo courtesy to Don Gray

International food, keepsakes and jewelry

I always enjoy looking at all the traditional keepsakes and jewelry from the various countries of the world. The photo below shows some pieces from Ethiopia.
keepsakes and Thai food
There were various food booth offering traditional hot food from Thailand (photo above), China, just to mention a few. You could also buy traditional cookies, cake and bread from Norway, Russia, and other countries.

What I didn’t like

The dressing rooms are very small. Thus, all performers try to store their costumes in places along the walls or in corners where the baggage doesn’t bother anyone. Some of us had stored their costumes in a corner between the wall and the stair right underneath the gallery. An angry kid who was with its parents up in the gallery threw a container of apple juice just into that corner. The juice spilled not only our bags, but also some of the hard to clean (read expensive to clean) dance costumes. Then another kid threw his food over a backpack of one of the performers just because the kid didn’t want to eat the food, but his mom insisted on him finishing the plate. Can’t these people just put their leftovers into the trash can when they don’t want to drink/eat it anymore? Did it ever happen to you that someone – on purpose – threw drinks or food on your belongings?

Do you like to see traditional clothing from other countries of the world? What kind of community events do you visit or participate in? Just curious.

Keeping in touch

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Photos: G. Kramm

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