Fun fact: While the NHL All Star Game can consist of any of thirty teams located in America and Canada, their fans are from around the world. It’s especially obvious when you head out to All Star Wide Open.
For those who are unaware All Star Wide Open is a street festival celebrating the beginning of the National Hockey League's All Star Game. The All Star Game is an exhibition ice hockey match which pits many of the league’s top players against each other. Attending the All Star Game is a great way to meet many famous faces, watch a bit of hockey, or just enjoy the festive mood with an extremely enthusiastic crowd.
Originally I didn’t head out to All Star Wide Open with the intentions of writing a blog post about its international connections. Despite it’s Nordic roots hockey is a game North Carolinians find very close to their hearts, thus turning it into a very American pastime. When you think of hockey you can sometimes forget just how global it really is. Not to mention I’ve been getting over a cold and missing my voice for a good three days now-definitely not in the interviewing mindset. I initially thought I’d go out with a few friends, take some pictures, eat some food, and be done with it. Not quite.
When we arrived downtown my brain started going a mile a minute. It could have been thanks to the French Crepes, or perhaps the African inspired jewelry in the craft bazaar, or maybe the Korean music blaring from a dance stage down the street. Whatever it was it led me to give myself a challenge: find out just how global All Star Wide Open could be.
The Answer? Pretty darn global.
Let’s start with the obvious shall we? While All Star Wide Open was created to cater to all things hockey the street festival was also filled to the brim with all sorts of amazing food from around the world. With two friends in tow; Santana Douglass and Samantha Hightower, we made our way from country to country through our stomachs.
Things started harmless enough, savory crepes (a dish which originated in the French region of Brittany) which then led to two Greek gyros loaded with tzatziki sauce, and a Mediterranean style vegetarian sandwich to finish it off. Even after our more than full meal I had to be curious about what was my friend's favorite part of the international cuisine:
Once we gathered ourselves enough to continue on we spotted an amazing assortment of local and global wares, created by people in the triangle. While some of the things seems rather conventional we were caught off guard by the unique wares of a few tables; especially that of Litina Egungun who brought his amazing African and Jamaican style and flare for art to the Triangle.
After getting food and shopping out of the way I was curious to see just how diverse the entertainment at All Star Wide Open could really be. I was expecting a few cool local bands as well as some headliners (3 Doors Down anyone?) but I really wasn’t expecting to see Greek dancers, a Japanese performance and B-Boy inspired dance teams:
So in conclusion hockey is a pretty great way to go global, especially when it's taking place in the Triangle. Raleigh has an amazing way of making something that doesn’t seem diverse on the surface an international affair for all to enjoy.