Concord Multicultural Festival, guest blog by Jessica Fogg
Our first guest blogger is Jessica Fogg of JFogg Social Inspirations. Jessica is Event Chair and Organizer of the Concord Multicultural Festival. She can be reached at www.jfoggsocialinspirations.com
photos taken by Lynn Martin Graton
The 8th Annual Concord Multicultural Festival was held on a perfect fall day, at the State House Plaza on September 28th, 2013. The afternoon was packed with dynamic and engaging performances, delectable cuisines from around the world, fun activities for the kids and the essence of what the event is meant to be about: lots of community spirit.
About 11 years ago, the Greater Concord Area Task Force Against Racism & Intolerance began coordinating community discussions. The 2004 discussion, titled "The Changing Face of Concord: Racial, Ethnic & Cultural Diversity," nearly everyone involved recognized the importance of street festivals to the civic life of Concord, so they decided that a big outdoor party was the ideal way to advance the goals of racial and ethnic tolerance and understanding in our small but quickly changing community. And thus the Concord Multicultural Festival was born!
The mission is to raise local awareness of those newly arriving in our community and appreciation for cultural diversity with the hope that increased awareness, supported by educational programs will inspire our neighbors to accept, welcome and assist the newest members of our community. After all, our ancestors were all immigrants or refugees at one point.
Participants shared and celebrated their native cultures through music, dance, food, crafts, and storytelling. There were 15 different performances ranging from a Chinese Lion Dance, Celtic bagpipes and fiddling, Burundian drumming, Nicaraguan dancing, Indian Carnatic singing, African Dance, Bhutanese Singing, German Classical music, and Nepali Singers. I had a wonderful committee comprised of Unitarian Church members who have a great relationship with the New American communities, staff from Lutheran Social Services (the organization that facilitates the Refugee Resettlement Program), and a few other enthusiastic people who were passionate about organizing the event. We had many local sponsors as well that made the event possible. I was also extremely lucky to have the guidance and support of the past organizers who started the event. - Jessica Fogg