Morristown turned worldly Saturday.
The International Food Festival, organized by HOLA Lakeway, saw food from all over the world served up at its annual event, which took place at the downtown Farmer’s Market.
Food from multiple countries, including Micronesia, Venezuela, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand and more, was served at the festival, which has grown in numbers since its inception a few years ago.
“It’s good because it brings people together,” HOLA Executive Director Betsy Hurst said about the festival. “That’s our mission- to integrate the community.”
The weather was perfect for this year’s event with sunny skies and cooler than normal temperatures. The festival was moved from its original location outside the Rose Center and organizers said that was a hit.
It was welcome after the last two years.
Last year, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic and the year before saw rain come through.
But, the good weather drove thousands of people to come through this year and get a taste of the world.
Along with the international food vendors, there were craft vendors, activity stations and stage performances.
Groups, representing various cultures, donned ornate costumes and garb and entertained the crowds with dancing and music.
Cherokee Health System and the Hamblen County Health Department administered more than 35 COVID-19 vaccinations during the event.
Sponsors of the event included KC Entertainment, The Morristown Task Force on Diversity, Morristown Utilities, Rural Medical Services, Frank’s Weld Works, Lakeway Transit, Sykes, Farmers Insurance, Judge Janice Snyder and Todd Davidson for Sheriff.
Willie Santana, HOLA co-founder and board member, estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people made their way through the festival by the time it ended.
“I think today went very well- this by far the biggest attendance we’ve had for any one of these festivals,” he said. “The weather was gorgeous, everybody participated and it was fantastic.”
Santana said that HOLA learned some things about holding a festival at the Farmer’s Market, since it was the first year the organization had held the event there.
But, HOLA plans on coming back.
The festival will be back at the Farmer’s Market next year, along with its tastes of the world.