Parade of Nations—Celebrating Cultural Diversity
It’s a parade. It’s a multicultural festival featuring food and entertainment from countries around the world. It’s an extravaganza of tastes, sounds, sights and experiences.
It’s the annual Parade of Nations in Hancock and Houghton, Michigan.
It all began in 1989, when a few women from Michigan Technological University and the community decided to celebrate the cultural diversity of Michigan Tech’s growing international student body and faculty. Now, in 2020, the Parade of Nations celebrates its 31st anniversary with the theme: 30 Years Bridging Cultures.
The colorful parade features floats created by international students and community organizations such as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, marching bands and flags of 60 nations. It winds its way from Hancock, across the iconic Portage Lift Bridge, through downtown Houghton, ending up at Dee Stadium, the birthplace of professional hockey. Thousands of people pack the stadium to sample cuisine of more than 20 countries and to watch entertainment provided by community musicians and colorfully costumed groups such as the Indian Student Association and the Finnish Kivajat dancers. Pony rides and face painting keep the little ones enthralled.
The business community supports the Parade of Nations. Sponsors range from McDonald’s and Cummins, a manufacturer of engines and generators and employer of many Michigan Tech alumni, to local restaurants, stores and two universities: Michigan Tech and Finlandia.
The Parade of Nations has grown from an idea to a beloved annual festival celebrating the cultural diversity of the Keweenaw