KW Multicultural Festival celebrated diversity with great success in Kitchener’s Victoria Park on Jun. 22 and Jun. 23. Events ran from noon to 8 p.m. during sunny hours following the Summer Solstice.
Keith Summers, marketing and communications manager of the KW Multicultural Centre shared his favourite part of the festival.
“For me it’s the stage. For some people it’s the food but I love the diversity that shows up on the stage… this year we’ve got… different performers, each of whom represent a different culture. And culture does not necessarily mean ethnic culture. We’ve got a hip hop artist… we’ve got a Latin pop guy later today. We’ve got some African music… so there’s a variety of different cultures but culture doesn’t mean just ethnic cultures.”
In addition to the stage performances which ran throughout the festival (including a series of dance performances by the UW Indian Cultural Association), there were vendors of food, flags, clothing, accessories, and books; there were henna artists and a caricature artist; there were also a number of cause based booths, including booths for each of the main political parties and the Green Party.
Linda Perez, a curatorial assistant and educator with KW Art Gallery said of the festival, “It’s an excellent venue for us to connect with the community and for the community to come and to learn more about the programs we have to offer.”
This year the festival opted not to include faith groups after receiving feedback from attendees last year.
“Over the last number of years, there was behaviour by some members of some of the groups that we got a lot of complaints from the general public,” Summers said. “Plus we did a satisfaction survey last year asking people what we could do to make [the festival] better, which was more pro acts, and what was really detracting from it. There was an overwhelming response to the faith groups. So the decision was made that we’d not include the faith groups this year.”
The Interfaith group was allowed a booth. They don’t promote a single faith.
Anne Quinn Wallace of the Interfaith group said, “We have members from every religion. The idea of the organization is that we’ll promote better understanding within our own group so we can spread that to the larger community. So we aim for appreciating and understanding the Golden Rule.”