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Chinese Lion Dancers return to the Multicultural Festival. Courtesy photo




Multicultural Festival

 
Where: Downtown, Main St., Concord
 
When: Saturday, Sept. 13, 1:30 to 6 p.m.
 
Cost: Free
 
Call: 568-5740
 




This land is your land
Festival returns with flavors from all over the globe

09/11/14



Like the nations that the Multicultural Festival in Concord will celebrate on Saturday, Sept. 13, the day’s attractions will be diverse and plentiful. 
 
“Because we are a resettlement city for a large number of refugees, in order to keep the community positive and embrace new citizens, we figured that the best way to celebrate would be with a festival,” said Jessica Fogg, the event’s organizer. “Nine years later [the Multicultural Festival] is still going really strong.”
 
At the lawn of the Statehouse, dancers of origins all over the world will be showcasing special techniques native to their countries. The Drunken Landladies will perform traditional Irish dancing over Celtic music, the ethereal gypsies will showcase tribal fusion bellydance, and that’s only naming a couple. Other performers will include Spanish singers, Bhutanese dancers, Abenaki storytellers, drum ensembles and more.
 
“We really want to highlight local talent,” said Fogg. “There are so many local musicians, singers and dancers who represent different cultures, and there’s also an educational component as well. You can watch all these people and not even realize that you’re learning something.”
 
The festival will also feature dishes from around the globe. While some of Concord’s bigger-name vendors like Hermanos Cocina Mexicana and Puppy Love Hot Dogs will be there to support the event, most of the food will be coming straight from the kitchens of Concord residents. Fogg said that in years past, the dishes were made with recipes from Colombia, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Rwanda, Somalia and elsewhere.
 
In order to make sure the families were able to receive the necessities for their dishes, the Unitarian Benevolent Association has provided stipends for families to buy the proper ingredients, making the festival an opportunity not only to showcase different dishes, but to provide the New Americans with cash-in-hand business.
 
“The individuals get a chance to prepare food from their home country, and it’s also giving them a revenue piece as well,” she said. “They can sell their food and make money.”
 
Several activities are available that will also introduce families to world art, like creating a world peace craft, necklace beading and sand art. Fogg said one of the more popular attractions is henna, the art of creating elaborate designs like temporary tattoos on the skin, or if you prefer to make something a little more musical (hint: get involved with the shows taking place), a booth will be set up to teach residents how to make their own shekere.
 
New to the festival this year will be volunteers who will help bridge the language gap between the different cultures. As educators of sorts, Fogg said, the volunteers will help explain to attendees certain processes such as preparing dishes and making crafts, as well as the history and purpose behind the finished product.
 
Of course, the festival will be featuring some old classics as well. Fogg said that one of the most popular food items at the festival was a dish called “momos,” a type of dumpling that is native to Nepal. She stated that the other organizers running the festival were adamant in making sure the momos made their appearance this year.
 
“It’s not a multicultural festival without a momo,” she said. “People just love to try new things, and it’s nice to have a more information about what the food actually is and how significant it is within the culture. You get the opportunity to learn while you indulge.” 





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