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Slovenia at Norfolk NATO Festival

On April 24 and 25, Norfolk was once again host of the annual NATO Festival. The festival is a landmark event for the greater Norfolk area and for Virginia, and was attended by thousands of people. The main aim of the festival is to engage with the citizens, empowering industries and presenting NATO member states to local population and thus spreading the knowledge about the Alliance.   

NATO Festival started on Friday, April 24 afternoon with the raising of the flags and the playing of the national anthems of the 28 NATO member states and NATO itself outside of the Norfolk Scope Arena. Among attendees were general Jean Paul Palomeros, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Paul D. Fraim, mayor of Norfolk, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. 

A colorful display of NATO member-nations’ flags and uniforms was followed by NATO night at the Virginia International Tattoo (the word tattoo derives from the cries of the 17th and 18th century Low Country Innkeepers). Military orchestras, choruses and solo artists from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and the United States performed well-known marching and popular music, and presented national dances and culture. This year, more than 900 performers paid a special tribute to military families. Slovenian Armed Forces were represented by flag bearer, staff sergeant Aleš Kocbek.

On Saturday, NATO Festival continued with the 62st Annual Parade of Nations in downtown Norfolk. For parade, members of the Slovenian Armed Forces working at the NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk built a platform featuring a hayrack – a typical wooden structure, used for drying grain in sheaves, found in many rural places in Slovenia. A musical ensemble of Slovenians from Cleveland, Ohio, wearing Slovenian national costumes, playing and singing Slovenian folk songs on a big stage, presented our country and our rich customs. After the parade, the presentation of Slovenia continued with brochures about Slovenia and Slovenian tourism.