By Karen Daniels
In what will be a massive undertaking, the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians recently approached the Mayor and City Council to co-host the Silk Road Festival at the Stafford Centre complex. What makes this extraordinary is the time frame the festival has to design and build the complex that will host an approximate 40 to 50 thousand visitors during this four day event. Dignitaries and Ambassadors from abroad are expected to attend as well as State and City Officials from Texas.
In years past this event–called the Turkish Festival–was held in Houston at Herman Square; however, due to the festivals rapid growth the representatives were forced to seek out a larger venue. The Silk Road is a modern term used in reference to the historical trade that connected parts of Asia with the Mediterranean and European world as well as parts of north and east Africa. The 2012 Festival will follow the route of Marco Polo with special focus on the six countries of: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey; showcasing the sights, sounds, and unique flavors that represent these areas.
Construction of the facility will begin September 20 and will feature eight areas; six for each of the countries featured, one for a main stage of entertainment, and one for a breathtaking entrance that will highlight a thirty-five foot dome. Activities on hand will be musical performances, arts and craft markets, films, silk carpet weaving, paper marbling, calligraphy, business forums and workshops, and a children’s area. The price of admission and the hours of operation have not yet been established.
Shuttle service, street closures, security, and changing of some of the HCC classes were discussed by Council. Cecil Willis expressed concern over the safety of the structure and wants assurance that the dwelling will be secure in the event of high winds. He mentioned the tragedy that occurred last summer at the Indiana State Fair . Wen Guerra said that he believes this to be a fabulous idea, but his concern is protecting the attendees. He wants to know that everything possible is being done for security. Mayor Scarcella said that he expects the event to be “beyond a festival” and more of a “coming together of culture and dialogue.”