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Irvine Global Village Festival Celebrates Diversity in Tandem with City’s 50th Anniversary

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The Irvine Global Village Festival, Orange County’s annual multicultural event, returned in celebration of its 20th year as well as the City of Irvine’s 50th anniversary, in Irvine’s Great Park on Oct. 9.

The event included food, music, art and the celebration of Orange County’s diverse community. It originated in 1988, when a group of Irvine residents established the city’s first Multicultural Festival to help promote understanding and build harmony between cultures. In the 2000s, the festival expanded to larger venues with better equipment. Today, it has become one of Irvine’s signature events.

Though the festival was held virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was held in person, following the OC health guidelines regarding outdoor events. To promote the return, fees for admission and general parking were waived this year. 

“We are excited to bring the community together again to enjoy the Irvine Global Village Festival at Great Park,” Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan said. “There will be plenty of room outdoors to take in the sounds and sights while spending time with friends and family.”

The festival attracted the attendance of many families and community members; it featured live music from multiple cultures and performances of martial arts and global dances. Attendees could purchase a variety of global cuisine and festival staples, with prices ranging from $3 to $6 per item. Handmade goods and artifacts from the artisans’ marketplace were also sold. Art exhibitions were displayed to show traditional costumes, religions and history.

Additionally, the festival included an expanded Kids Village in which younger visitors could enjoy a variety of interactive activities, including karate demonstrations, language lessons, a henna tattoo station, a puppet show, arts and crafts booths, a petting zoo, and face painting.

The festival documented the diverse population and cultural heritage of Orange County, celebrating inclusivity by providing multicultural entertainment, while following COVID-19 guidelines.  

Ellie Zhang is a Staff Writer for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at yitangz@uci.edu.