A lively and tasty touch of the Mediterranean comes to the green spaces of Stoke Newington

Anatolian fete Clissold Park Stoke Newington Lon N16 © david.altheer@gmail.com
¢opyright David Altheer
Magnificently fearsome band member

MORE THAN 10 years ago, a small group of people sat down together to plan what has become probably’s the biggest free celebration of Turkish and Kurdish culture in this country.

Its organisers say the four-day festival now attracts more than 50,000 visitors. But it would have been little known outside its ethnic base were it not for Loving Dalston’s editor, who happened to see a flyer for an early festival while he was shopping in the TFC in Ridley Road.

Having been looking for a way to reach out to people from Turkey and north Cyprus, he took the opportunity: his became the first English site to write about the Anatolian Cultural Festival, as it is now called. Over the years other serious news outlets slowly followed his lead and the event, always in Clissold Park N16 9HJ, has become a feature of the Hackney calendar, attended by MPs, councillors and other local dignitaries.

Meg Hillier MP & Baroness Ece @ Anatolian Cultural Fete, Clissold Park, Hackney N4 2EY © david.altheer@gmail.com
MP Meg Hillier and Baroness Hussein-Ece, right, at a previous official opening of the fete

The “grand opening” on Saturday 28 May 2016 is due to (attenders should be patient re timekeeping) take place at 2pm. This usually means too many speeches at too great length, so you might be wise to arrive a little later.

Among the performances will be an Ottoman marching band, featuring huge instruments and moustaches that seem almost as big, a sword-and-shield dance, traditional theatre and oil wrestling, as well as Ottoman-style marble painting, calligraphy and cooking contests. Events for children include theatre and puppet shows.

Salih Bosca, of organiser the Anatolian Community Association, told Loving Dalston: “Food and drink will be one of the festival’s main attractions. Traditional tea, coffee, breads, kebabs, irresistible ice cream, world-famous desserts and cuisine will all be prepared by cooks at the festival.”

Whirl probably not see the devishes this year
Whirl probably not see the devishes this year

He did not explain why the whirling dervishes, a highlight of previous festivals, were not in his list of events.

But gozleme, jacket potato, pide, tantuni, kunefe, lahmajun and other tasties from the Anatolian cuisine will be on sale. Yum-yum.

Hamish Scott 270516

* Tenth Anatolian Cultural Fete, Clissold Park, Stoke Newington N4 2EY, Saturday 28 May 2016 to Monday 30 May 2016, 10am to 8pm. Activities for schools today Friday, 27 May 2016. Details: try the organising committee link (0207 684 9900).

* Backstory: Cooking good: fair set in Stokey; Flats for TFC site;  Clissold Park goes Turkish; Turkish delight for sweet Stokey

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