Bigger and Better: Kentville’s Multicultural Fair’s 3rd Year

Bigger and Better: Kentville’s Multicultural Fair’s 3rd Year

By Genevieve Allen Hearn

Centre Square in Kentville is seeing a lot more activity these days. The weekly farmers’ market is bustling with patrons, the Kentville Merchant’s Group has been organizing events such as skateboard demos and car shows, the town uses the space to host Harvest Festival and Apple Blossom activities, and on August 26th the square will be closed to vehicles and given over to pedestrians for the 3rd annual Multicultural Fair.

The Multicultural Fair is the brainchild of Lynn Jin, an immigrant from China. She wanted to create an opportunity for immigrants and diverse communities to showcase their culture and interact with the broader community. The inaugural event was held in Kentville’s Fire Hall in 2015. The following year Frances Schagen, former board member of the Kentville Development Corporation Limited, brought the Fair outside and under the gazebo in Kentville’s Centre Square. It was a lively event with a diverse range of food, entertainment, and demonstrations.

This year an active volunteer committee chaired by Dave Reid of DM Reid Jewellers is ramping up for an even bigger and better Multicultural Fair. Dave excitedly tells The Grapevine about the packed day – beginning at 11am with a Smudging by Annapolis Valley First Nation Carolyn Landry. From 11:30am-4pm there will be entertainment on the main stage including Cuban musician Freddy Mujica, belly dancing by Circle of Sisters, and funky jams from the Mark Riley Project. Participants can also enjoy interactive activities such as taking part in an Eritrean coffee ceremony, getting a Henna tattoo, or enjoying stories told by Knee High to a Grasshopper. Food vendors will be serving delicious dishes from their native countries including Indian, Syrian, and Mexican cuisine to get taste buds dancing. As well, a new addition this year will be a designated space for art and craft, organized by Kentville’s Hardware Gallery.

“This event reminds us as Canadians that we come from all different backgrounds but live side by side. We want to acknowledge and celebrate our culture and heritage”, says Dave. He expresses a particular interest in catching the African drumming finale at 3:15pm on the main stage.

Gabriela Rosales has been volunteering for the Multicultural Fair for two years. Originally from Mexico, Gabriela has met many other immigrants through her volunteer work on the Immigration Steering Committee and Board of the Kings Volunteer Resource Centre, and she enjoys reaching out to her network to help connect people with the event.

“It is imperative that we have more events involving our multicultural communities”, Gabriela says. She explains that the event is important for two reasons – it enables immigrant communities to feel pride by sharing a piece of their culture with the local community, and the local community is given an opportunity to connect through music, flavors, and craft, to “get a little taste of what other cultures are about”.

Gabriela is most looking forward to the participation of Latispanica this year. Latispanica is a nonprofit association that promotes Hispanic culture and will be hosting a fashion show featuring traditional costumes and garments.
The Multicultural Fair is a rain or shine event. You need not worry about the elements – all vendors and entertainment will be under tents. Make sure to mark August 26th in your calendars and come join the merriment in Kentville’s Centre Square!

Photo credit: Wild Lupin Media