Mavis Kwakutse of Scarborough stood under a tent Saturday at the Festival of Nations at Deering Oaks in Portland serving chicken, rice and other West African food she learned to cook growing up in Ghana.

A customer leaned in to announce that “this food is great” as Kwakutse and her partner, Kadiatu Moriba of Portland, who grew up in Sierra Leone, fed the hungry crowds who showed up for the annual festival.

“We have been doing this from back home,” Kwakutse said of the recipes they use.

Edel Rimkunas, 4, of Gorham, who is originally from Ethiopia, enjoys the sights and sounds of the Festival of Nations Saturday at Deering Oaks Park from the shoulders of her father Tony Rimkunas. Edel was adopted by Tony. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Edel Rimkunas, 4, of Gorham, who is originally from Ethiopia, enjoys the sights and sounds of the Festival of Nations Saturday at Deering Oaks Park from the shoulders of her father Tony Rimkunas. Edel was adopted by Tony. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The women are trying to make a go of their catering business, MayJoy Foods, and said the festival was a good place to show off their cooking. Theirs was among a line of international food tents that attracted crowds at the festival.

Visitors could sample food from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and United States at the 14th edition of the event, designed to highlight diversity and multiculturalism in Portland. The festival is co-hosted by the city of Portland, the Mugadi Foundation, Women in Need Industries and Poland Spring, the bottled water company.

Michael Odokara-Okigbo, a former Portland resident of Nigerian descent, helped create the event. Now known as Michael O, he was scheduled to arrive from Los Angeles, where he now has a budding singing career, to appear on the festival stage later in the day.

Odokara-Okigbo gained famed as a member of the Dartmouth (College) Aires a cappella group on NBC’s “The Sing-Off ” show in 2011. He also landed a small role in “Pitch Perfect 2,” starring Anna Kendrick, a 2003 Deering High School graduate.

Kadiatu Moriba of Portland, who grew up in Sierra Leone, smiles as she talks with visitors to her food stand where she was serving African foods at the Festival of Nations Saturday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Kadiatu Moriba of Portland, who grew up in Sierra Leone, smiles as she talks with visitors to her food stand where she was serving African foods at the Festival of Nations Saturday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The festival included other musical performances and dancers, with a steady beat of Afro pop, reggae and Indian classical blasting from the speakers set up at the park’s stage. There were booths promoting political causes, health groups and social services.

The crowd was equally diverse. Greater Portland Health invited visitors to put a star next to their country of origin. An hour into the event there were stars next to 19 different countries.

Mary Joyce of Portland sat on a blanket in the shade with her son, Martin Joyce, daughter-in-law, Sarah Joyce, and grandsons Nolan Joyce, 6, and Roscoe Joyce, 3, all of Hallowell. They were eating rice and chicken and listening to music.

“I read about this in the paper and we are anxious to see other cultures,” said Mary Joyce.

Cathie Whittenburg and husband Lenny Shedletsky of Portland said they decided to venture out to the festival for the first time in years.

“We wanted to go to it for lunch,” said Whittenburg.