LACONIA — Saturday's Multicultural Festival, now in its 13th year, will be bigger and better than ever, according to Becky Guyer, chairperson of the event.
''We'll have over 80 vendors, food from all parts of the world, lots of new entertainment and a new entertainment tent as well as a closing ceremony for the first time which will give people something to look forward to at the end of the day,'' says Guyer.,
''Well be going strong until the end, with an uplifting closing ceremony at 3:30 dedicating the day and the community to peace. Taking off on the worldwide Pinwheels for Peace concept, the closing will feature a human peace sign, energized by the spinning of pinwheels which will have been created throughout the day at various locations on the festival grounds.'' says Guyer.
She says the Kids' Korner, located in the HealthLink building parking lot, will be "pinwheel central" until the moment arrives to unleash the collective energy of hundreds of colorful spinning pinwheels at the closing.
The festival highlights the music, arts, crafts and cuisine in honor of this growing diversity of cultures in the Lakes Region, from that of Native Americans to recently arrived immigrants.
Activities start at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. and center in and around Rotary Park and the Belknap Mill, downtown. Included in the day are free entertainment, food and craft venders, some local and many representing a wide variety of cultures, along with exhibits, children activities, and the traditional parade.
Celebrating the worldwide inclusiveness of the day, the Parade of International Flags, organized by Larry Frates, leads off the festival. It will include a contingent of Up With People cast members who are in the city for a pair of weekend concerts.
The parade starts in the Bank of NH parking area at 10 a.m. and marches around downtown to Rotary Park, where the opening ceremony will take place. Up With People will take the stage following the ceremony and offer an shortened version of their normal concert performance.
Guyer says that the Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy of Malden, MA are a stunning addition to the day's entertainment menu. Wah Lum Kung Fu and the Academy are well known throughout the Greater Boston Area and New England for their professional lion dance, dragon dance, drumming, and kung fu/tai chi performances.
Also featured will be the Black Thunder Singers, who keep alive the old Native American traditions as taught by the elders, both in their performances and in their daily lives. They bring their powerful drumming, dancing, and singing to the park.
Lindsay and Her Puppets will be a part of the Children's Corner this year. Other performances include: The Concord School of Music, Larry Frates' Magic Show and Cartoon Story-time, and Artsfest Hoop Dance & Circus Demos. Wildlife Encounters will be present, and much more to hold the attention of the youngest. Juliean Hartley, a certified music therapist of the Concord School of Music, specializes in early childhood development goals.
In its 12th year with the Festival, Wildlife Encounters brings awareness concerning issues affecting Animals – People – Earth, while providing a personal connection with exotic animals.
Also among the many entertainers will be the Jack Zarzatian Ensemble. Jack and his fellow musicians' repertoire include Armenian, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic classical, folk, and contemporary music. They offer a diverse experience in musical instruments and styles, including the dumbek, a Middle Eastern drum, and the oud, a Middle Eastern lute.
There will be a wide diversity of food vendors according to Guyer. ''We''ll have food vendors from the Dominican Republic, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Bhutan, Greece, the Philippines, Turkey and Argentina as well as Jewish food.''
This year's festival has its very own cookbook: Tastes of Nations. It will be for sale at the festival tent. The cookbook contains over 100 recipes collected from our original immigrants to the most recent ones.
With the construction and other activities in downtown Laconia, continuous shuttle bus service has been arranged from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shuttle will pick people up and drop them you off at various parking lots near the center of Laconia, going to and from City Hall. Parking for the Festival can be found in the following areas: St Joseph's Church parking lot on Church Street, the Laconia Clinic area, and the Water Street lots.
The Laconia Multicultural Committee is especially appreciative of our many sponsors, including the Laconia Human Relations Committee; the Penny Pitou-Milo Pike Family Fund; the Well Sense Health Plan; Genesis Behavioral Health; the Bank of NH; the Northway Bank; and Lutheran Social Services.
The festival was conceived and is supported by the the Laconia Human Relations Committee, which was created in 2000 by then Mayor Matthew Lahey and Police Chief Bill Baker. Leonard Campbell is current LHRC Chair.
(Optional for box if needed)
ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE FOR 2014 Laconia Multicultural Festival
10 A.M. – PARADE OF FLAGS
10:15 – OPENING CEREMONIES IN ROTARY PARK
10:30 – UP WITH PEOPLE
11:00-11:30 BLACK THUNDER SINGERS & DRUMMERS
11:00 - LINDSAY'S PUPPETS (@ HEALTHLINK TENT)
11:30-11:45 - ANKARA ROSE CELTIC BELLY FUSION
11:45-12:15 - BLACK THUNDER SINGERS & DRUMMERS
12:00 – LINDSAY'S PUPPETS (@HEALTHLINK TENT)
12:15 -12:45 – THE O'BRIEN CLAN
12:30 – CONCORD COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL
12:45-1:00 – ANKARA ROSE
1:00 – LARRY FRATES MAGIC SHOW (@HEALTHLINK TENT)
1:00-1:30 – THE O'BRIEN CLAN
1:30 – CONCORD COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL (@HEALTHLINK TENT)
1:30-2:15 – THE JACK ZARZATION BAND
2:00 – CARTOON STORY TIME WITH LARRY FRATES
(@ HEALTHLINK TENT)
2:15-3:00 – WAH LUM ACADEMY
2:30-3:30 - HOOP DANCE & CIRCUS DEMOS BY ARTSFEST
(@ HEALTHLINK TENT)
3:00-3:30 – CZECH & SLOVAK FOLKLORE PERFORMERS
3:30-4:00 – CLOSING CEREMONIES
NEW HORIZONS BAND
PINWHEELS FOR PEACE CELEBRATION
ALL DAY, KUNNAWAY, OUR STROLLING, NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE PLAYER
(Unless otherwise stated, performances take place in Rotary Park)
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