A Trip Around the World without Having to Leave Irvine!
Friends, family, public servants and dignitaries from over 15 countries gathered on Sept. 27 for the 13th annual Irvine Global Village Festival.
It was described by Irvine Mayor Steven S. Choi PhD as “our city’s signature event.” Choi goes on to say, “the festival celebrates the breadth of diversity within the Irvine community and fosters a cultural understanding.”
According to the festival website the event started in 1998 as the Multicultural Festival, which was put on by a group of citizens.
Since then, the event has grown to attract tens of thousands annually.
Some of the 18 different countries represented at the festival include: Bangladesh, Croatia, Germany, Iraq, Israel and Peru. Delegations from Irvine’s sister cities, Hermosillo, Mexico and Seocho, Korea were also in attendance.
The festival hosts multicultural organizations, food vendors, community and civic service groups, religious institutions and music and dance groups.
UCI was a premier sponsor of the event and had a strong presence there.
The UCI booth featured a UCI student ambassadors, athletics and merchandise; Peter the Anteater was also present, roaming the grounds to take pictures with guests.
There were three main entertainment stages that featured cultural dance groups, choirs, bands and orchestras.
Some entertainment groups traveled from abroad, such as the Hato Paora Kapa Haka, a music and dance group from New Zealand.
Other groups, such as the Galaxy Youth Ensemble (a traditional Chinese orchestra) span a wide age range and provide a way for members to connect with their heritage, according to the Emcee.
Around the festival there were gymnastics, martial-arts and many different dance demonstrations.
The dining options at the festival were varied and included Turkish ice cream–which had a very unique presentation–Korean BBQ and a wide selection of Mexican and Thai food.
The World Religions tent showcased the varied religions in the greater Irvine area. The participants boothing focused on education about their faith and tolerance for other faiths. The Najma Quader Stage, located in the tent hosted educational performances and presentations relevant to their religious beliefs’.
Local charities and community partners connected attendees with information, community service opportunities and resources available to them, such as Orange County Social Services, The City of Irvine-Environmental Programs and Destiny Rescue–an organization committed to rescuing children in slavery.
Attendees could also purchase a myriad of items from various merchants representing the cultures and traditions of countries all over the world.
“Irvine’s global diversity and all of this is what makes Irvine so great–one [city] that continues to be recognized as one of the top places in the United states to live, work, play and raise your family.” Mayor Choi said. “We are the best place to live in California and the number 14th in the country–and if you read all 13 of them in all the different states, I wonder if you would choose to live in one of [the other states]–in California is the best place to be!”
According to Choi’s speech, the event displays the pride Irvine takes in multiculturalism and the well being of its citizens.
“In Irvine we are very multicultural and we know how to live with each other in harmony.”