Cultures Harmonize in Concord through Song & Dance

Dragons to drums, dancing to dumplings, Concord’s 10th Annual Multicultural Fest brought entertainment and delicious food from around the world to the state house¬†grounds. Although many might not be aware of it, the Concord area and New Hampshire as a whole is home to people from more than 100 countries. The Multicultural Fest offers an opportunity for some of those people to share aspects of their culture with their neighbors.

As has been the tradition, the colorful and energetic Chinese Dragon and Lion Dance got the show started. They began their procession in Eagle Square, danced around Main Street to draw people to the Fest, and then made their entrance to the crowd waiting in front of the capital building. A brief introduction and welcome then led to another four hours of singing, dancing, and music. The Fest offered Celtic, Irish, Scottish, Hebrew, and Nepali music; Irish, Colombian, Greek, and Filipino dancing, and African drumming. Several of the dance groups got the crowd involved in the dancing so they could get more from the experience.

Since I like to eat, one part of the Fest I really enjoy is the opportunity to try new food. This year I tried cassava and plantain – both were delicious. There was also food from like meat pies from Somalia, vegetarian treats from Turkey, Syria (you won’t find a better baklava than that made by Aissa Sweets), Nepal, and a variety of local favorites from Rwanda. The NH Food Bank helped some of the vendors prepare their food since they typically make their dishes just for family or parties, not to feed large crowds.

Normally, I like to walk around and get photos of some of the other activities at the Fest. Things like henna tattoos, saari demonstrations, and Native American crafts usually make wonderful images. This year, though, there were so many performances that I didn’t have much opportunity for that.

If you missed this year’s event, I highly recommend you make plans to come next year. It’s your opportunity to travel around the world without ever leaving the state.

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