Sporadic downpours had little effect on this weekend’s Ottawa Turkish Festival.
Outdoor festivals tend to be pretty weather dependent, said Kerim Khan, director of the Canadian Turkish Heritage Foundation, and while 15,000 people were expected over the festival’s three-day run at Confederation Park, they got at least that many in spite of the rain.
Attendees who braved the weather were treated to the food, the arts and performances that Turkey is famous for.
The 2006 Census reported 45,000 Turkish-Canadians in Canada, said Hasan Yilmaz, editor-in-chief of CanadaTurk newspaper. Yet Turkish-Canadian events are growing across Canada, taking place in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Kitchener, Edmonton and Hamilton, he said.
The Turkish culture is known for its hospitality to visitors, and the festival was trying to convey that, Khan said.
While the food in general was popular over the weekend, Khan said the biggest lineups were at the Turkish coffee tent and for freshly made gozleme.
While Turkish coffee is famous worldwide, people waited more than an hour for gozleme, a Turkish pastry made with a special dough and stuffed with cheese, spinach and potato.
The festival brought out members of the Turkish-Canadian community as volunteers, like Zehranur Sasal, 15, who has volunteered at the festival for three years because she “enjoys sharing the culture.”
Volunteer Seyda Nur Celebi demonstrated the art of water marbling, a 15th century art she learned in her native Turkey. There was so much interest that she plans on giving classes in Ottawa next year.