I arrived just as a young woman was singing the opening blessing in the language of the Salish peoples. Then Water Festival President Vicky Reyes offered a welcome in English to the gathered tourists and locals outside the Island County Historical Museum.
“Today is a celebration of the many cultures that are here today; we are from many backgrounds and cultures,” she said. “But most of all it’s a celebration of the original cultures of Penn Cove and Whidbey Island.”
I thought that was a great way to describe the Water Festival. I stood next to a man in a Buddhist robe with two small children. Not far away was an African-American family from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. And in the back was a priest wearing a clergy collar talking with an Asian-American family.