Carrousel volunteers present samples of the food being offered at this year's Carrousel of the Nations. (Photo by Alyssa Leonard)

Carrousel Of The Nations Celebrates 43 Years

Windsor’s longest running festival returns this month with the theme “First in Flavour” and a focus on millennials.

For two weekends every year, ethnic communities all across Windsor open their doors to anyone who wants to experience food, festivities, and dancing from all over the world. Carrousel explores ethnic cuisine, traditional music, international dance, unique art, and cultural expression.

Fifteen communities will be participating this year between June 15-17 and 22-24.

Aruna Koushik, the co-chair of Carrousel, says this year’s theme, “First in Flavour”, is for people to “flavour the world in your backyard”. She says this is in recognition of their many awards, an abundance of cultural firsts, and most importantly where Carrousel is concerned, food.

This year, the Multicultural Council is sending out a call to millennials. According to Koushik, most of the millennial generation have never visited or even heard of Carrousel. She says this event allows them to experience different cultures without purchasing a flight.

“Millenials, this is how you experience culture,” says Koushik. “The world is in your backyard.”

Carrousel of the Nations is one of the longest-running festivals in Windsor, one of the oldest in Essex County, and the longest running cultural festival in Ontario. It has also ranked as one of Ontario’s Top 100 festivals for over 11 years.

“In some cases, the food is made in the same kitchens, by the same hands, for the last 43 years,” says Koushik. “Food made with experience, love, and pride in sharing their flavours with the community.”

Soula Efthymiou, Carrousel volunteer for the Greek community, has been participating for over 40 years. She says Carrousel gives the Greek community recognition for who they are in Canada.

“It’s a way of bringing out our people together and celebrating our culture with others,” says Efthymiou. “It’s a proud moment for us.”

Efthymiou says this year their village will be at the new Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on Walker Rd. She says she’s excited to show off the new cultural centre and church.

Monica Ennis and Sarah Whyte have been volunteering for the Carribean community since the very first Carrousel of the Nations. They say there will be lots of food, a live Caribbean band, and dancing for both weekends.

“We want the rest of Canada to know that we are here too, and we’re willing to be a part of anything that builds the nation,” says Ennis. “We want to take part in every activity that simulates the community, and Carrousel is one of those activities.”

The Windsor Family Credit Union is Carrousel’s 2018 presenting sponsor. With their partnership, the WFCU will be hosting social media contests for a chance to win Carrousel prize packages.