Fan Festival: Europe Eurasia

June 28, 2011

The Fan Festival at Oaka this week focused on countries in Europe and Eurasia. 

It featured booths from Holland, Indonesia, Switzerland, Israel, and Hungary, as well as booths selling official products of the Athens 2011 games.  The Indonesian booth was set up by the Indonesian Embassy, which is cooperating with Special Olympics International to provide assistance and promote their country.  The booth showcased musical instruments and many traditional weapons, which attracted a lot of attention. There were many cultural events that took place at the fan festival, including a traditional Hungarian dance and Swiss musicians who created music that attracted quite a crowd using brooms, bowls, sticks, and coins.  Besides the main entertainment, visitors to the Fan Festival also were able enjoy a variety of songs playing over the loudspeakers throughout the area, including Disney songs for younger Fans. 

The Festival had visitors from all over the world, including Honduras, Guatemala, Ireland, the United States of America, as well as many native Greeks.  Most visitors were staying for the duration of the games to support family or friends and thoroughly enjoyed learning about other cultures during the Fan Festival.  Some of the Fans were volunteers who had been working with Special Olympics for over 20 years, 5 years, or had even just gotten involved this year.  Others were family of Special Olympics athletes such as Jerry Hincka from Detroit, USA, whose daughter Molly is in the 500 and 300 meter races and the four by four relay and was featured in a Proctor and Gamble “Thank You Mom” commercial.  Molly has been involved with the Special Olympics for 12 years and this is her first time at the World Games.  This Fan Festival showed the dedication that the families and friends of the athletes have for supporting their loved ones.

Although the majority of visitors to the Fan Festival were foreigners, there were also many native Greeks who spent the day at the festival with their families and friends.  This proved to spark interest and increase the education of the positive message of Special Olympics.  Antzy Mouchalou had a different reason for visiting the Fan Festival.  Ms. Mouchalou works as a teacher who specializes in special needs education.  She wanted to see the effort that Special Olympics were making in raising awareness about people with intellectual disabilities.  After her visit to the Festival, she hoped to watch as many of the games as she could over the course of the next few days.  Special Olympics has brought together people from all over the world and with all different reasons for being here, but the Fan Festival helps educate, inspire, and raise awareness for anyone who visits it.

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