‘Celebrating the Diversity’

 

Article published in the Jan. 4, 2014 SanTan Sun News

Chandler Multicultural Festival celebrates diversity

Residents from all walks of life will come together this month to honor the diversity among them during the 19th annual Chandler Multicultural Festival.

“It’s our way of celebrating the diversity in our community,” says Chandler Special Events Coordinator Hermelinda Llamas. “We like to showcase that diversity through our entertainment, our activities and the food.”

This year the festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Jan. 18, in the downtown Chandler Public Library courtyard, 22 S. Delaware St. Admission and parking are free. The festival attracts between 5,500 and 7,500 people throughout the day.

“We do get a pretty good crowd,” Llamas says.

The event is part of the city’s month long Celebration of Unity. For more information about the Celebration of Unity, visit chandleraz.gov/unity.

The Chandler Multicultural Festival kicks off with the fourth annual naturalization ceremony.

“The Department of Homeland Security does the choosing, we provide them with an outlet to do it,” Llamas says of the 200 honorees. “They choose people who are here locally in the East Valley, Chandler and surrounding areas. It’s a little more personalized for them.”

More than 600 individuals have become American citizens through the naturalization ceremony.

“It’s really a neat ceremony and everyone is accepting of the different cultures,” Llamas says, adding that it showcases how they live and puts their heritage on display.

There will be day-long entertainment for those who attend the Chandler Multicultural Festival. The event will also feature entertainment by a number of different groups, including a Mexican folk music duo, a belly dancing troupe, children who are learning Korean drumming and a professional Japanese drumming organization.

Winners of the Creative Expression Competition involving Chandler school age children who produced artwork, essays and performances centering on the unity theme will be displayed.

There will also be a variety of food to try, including Caribbean, southern, Mexican, Native American and American cuisine.

Lisa’s Creatures will bring different animals from various regions of the world. Llamas says it will be fun for the kids as they learn what the animals eat and some history about the creatures.