July 28, 2017

Global Fair’s biggest year yet brings together over two dozen cultures

Written by  Linda Moffett and Emily Jones
Fowzia Abdullahi, founder of Every Woman Counts, serves Ethiopian and Somali food to fairgoers at EMM’s 22nd annual Global Fair on July 15, 2017. Abdullahi came to the U.S. from Somalia in 1986 and started her nonprofit to serve local refugee women and children. Fowzia Abdullahi, founder of Every Woman Counts, serves Ethiopian and Somali food to fairgoers at EMM’s 22nd annual Global Fair on July 15, 2017. Abdullahi came to the U.S. from Somalia in 1986 and started her nonprofit to serve local refugee women and children. Photos by Tammy Evans.

WILLOW STREET, Pa. — Whether it was Mahur and Randa Almahasheh, who arrived in Lancaster from Syria a short seven months ago with their four children, or Benuka Tamang, who came from Nepal eight years ago, their opinions were the same. “Everyone is so welcoming here at Global Fair,” they said. Mahur added, “I really like Lancaster; I really like Americans.”

Eastern Mennonite Missions’ (EMM’s) 22nd annual Global Fair took place on July 15, 2017, on the grounds of the Hans Herr House and Museum in Willow Street, Pa. The warm, sunny Saturday saw a record number of attendees who got to experience over two dozen different countries and cultures.

In addition to the usual mix of food stands held by local cultural groups and booths held by EMM international workers, Global Fair featured several new things this year. These included a pottery demonstration by local potter Assefa Haile, new international food vendors — including home-cooked Syrian food from the Almahasheh family — and a performance by the Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster (MCCL), which sang songs from around the world. Sisters and MCCL singers Bria and Elizabeth Nybeldt, 11 and 15, both enjoyed singing with the choir in a new place. “It’s fun to see people from all over!” said Elizabeth.

“It’s so much fun to see so many nationalities at Global Fair,” said Kaylene Derksen, Development director at EMM. “I felt like I was in a microcosm of the world! Not only were the standholders from other countries, but so many of the attendees were too! It was lovely seeing so much diversity and life.”