A multicultural feast-ival

Published 12:58 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

If you’ve ever hungered to tuck into the intricacies of African or Latino dance, or how to say “thank you” in eight languages, your appetite could be sated this weekend.

A coalition of business and nonprofit partners will present the first-ever local Multicultural Festival of its kind from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Washington Civic Center, located at 110 N. Gladden St.

This event is free and open to the public.

The fair is the brainchild of Nattalie Castro, a member of the Washington Human Relations Council, which is co-presenting this milestone with the Beaufort County Arts Council. Castro also serves on the arts council board.

“Our primary goal is to educate, first of all, our community and kind of create awareness of our diversity and give people a chance to mingle and kind of exchange cultures,” she said, soon adding, “We just kind of wanted to open the eyes of our community and share our culture with them, our heritage.”

Some 15 countries will be represented through arts, crafts, dance, food samples and other windows into nations, she related.

Tina Rodgers will read her poetic meditation on the diversity of the world, and El Trio, a Mexican orchestra, will perform.

A multinational flag parade will launch the affair, tracing a route from the public parking spaces along Water Street to Stewart Parkway and ending at the civic center.

The festival breaks new ground for the arts council, said Joey Toler, executive director.

“The Beaufort County Arts Council has done some Latino programming in the past, but not anything as encompassing as this,” he said. “The arts council is really acting as a facilitator, we’re acting as a fiscal agent for this event.”

The festival is supported by a Grassroots grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, he pointed out.