With the festival season now in full swing, the 28th annual Multicultural Festival will take its turn in the spotlight this weekend on the Halifax waterfront.
And while the festival is stocked with plenty of entertainment options, and of course great food, organizers and participants hope to inspire something more.
“It provides a venue for people of different ethnic backgrounds to showcase themselves and their culture. They feel like they are at home and accepted,” said Ifty Illyas, the festival’s executive director.
The line-up for the three-day event includes 32 musicians, dancers and other participants showcasing cultures from around the world. In total, 22 vendors will prepare food from various countries.
There will also be a dance showcase and a fashion show.
“It’s another way for countries to participate who don’t have food booths,” said Illyas.
The festival goes beyond immigrant involvement; it’s also a chance to unearth local talent. Three Sheet, Afro Nova Musica, Brite-Vu, The Company, The Outsiders, Whale Skin and Between Dreaming are all performing as part of the New East Coast Sound component.
Hip-hop artist Raghav and dancer Sudeshna Maulik will also be performing Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
This will be the festival’s third year at the Halifax Seaport. Previously, they had been stationed in Alderney Landing but moved due to a conflict with the Canadian Naval Centennial in 2010.
The move proved to be a hit with the public.
Attendance spiked the year they moved across the harbour, jumping by 3,000 people to a weekend audience of 21,500.
“The reason why it has been successful for 28 years is because it provides a venue for people from different ethnic communities to gather and meet others and form bonds and friendship in a neutral place,” Illyas sai.