A little history on the Silk Road Festival’s noteworthy beginnings. The festival used to be called The Turkish Fest and was held in downtown Houston. Last year the event outgrew its location and the decision to move it to Stafford was made. However, the decision and execution of the plan to move was made a little too late. The Silk Road Festival needed more time, four days approximately, to complete the entire construction that was originally planned for the event.
Of the dwelling, the covered dome in the center was supposed to be a spectacular viewpoint, the inside to be air-conditioned. The good news is the weather was cooperative, the air-conditioning was not necessary and the viewpoint was blue sky. The bad news was that due to an inability to complete the structure on time, money was spent that could have gone elsewhere. From the beginning of this endeavor, Mayor Scarcella spoke of the “compressed time schedule” the festival promoters were facing.
By Saturday though, most of the growing pains had been worked out and the VIP Reception was a nice event held inside the Stafford Centre. Mayor Scarcella was “extremely proud to host this special event that brings this many cultures together” celebrating a connection of people and an interchange of ideas. Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker graciously conceded that she was “a little embarrassed that the Turkish Festival had outgrown downtown Houston…but was pleased that Stafford could now host this event” as an invisible baton was passed between the two Mayors. Congressman Olson deemed Houston the “most diverse city in America.”
Many other dignitaries, politicians, and business persons attended. Stafford City Council Members welcomed the Prime Minister of Turkey, the Ambassador to Kazakhstan, the Mayor of Rosenberg, the Chancellor of the University of Houston, Board of Trustees from Houston Community College, other City Council Members from Houston, Missouri City and Sugar Land, and Judges from our various counties. The list of important people was extensive and impressive as they mingled, ate various cultural foods, and enjoyed the live performance of Turksoy.
The Silk Road Festival has a lot to be proud of. Attendance for the four-day event was at 25,000. Next year will be a more efficient year for Mehmet Okumus and Kemal Oksuz, the promoters of the festival, since most of the construction site was built overseas and shipped here. Now that they can store it locally, next years assembly will be that much easier and the Silk Road Festival will be even more successful.