They say America is a melting pot. It’s where the whole world comes to hang out and get along.
The same could be said for little old Concord, which is home to dozens of cultures from all over the globe.
Although you may not think of New Hampshire’s capital city as being a hotbed of cultural diversity, there’s a lot more here than you might realize.
All of this will be evident come Saturday, when the 10th annual Concord Multicultural Festival takes over the State House plaza.
The festival is “a celebration of the diverse cultures we have here in Concord,” said Jessica Fogg Livingston, the festival’s director.
“It’s not just the new Americans arriving in the last couple years,” she said. “We have many cultures dating back 250 years. So it’s a day to celebrate all the cultures that make up Concord.”
And just how do the organizers plan on celebrating that diversity?
We thought you’d never ask.
There are always all kinds of fun activities and events at the festival, but since this is the 10-year anniversary, organizers have pulled out all the stops.
“For the 10th anniversary, we really tried to ramp up and add even more performers and vendors than usual,” Livingston said.
That means apart from the usual music and dancing, crafts and activities, this year will also feature things like a special painting done by a local artist from Iraq, of which reprints will be for sale; and a display of peace flags that have been worked on over the past few weeks.
Other activities – all of which are totally free and open to anyone, by the way – include flag making, hair braiding, coloring pages, necklace making, henna tattoos, sand art and much more. There will really be something for everyone of all ages, races, creeds and genders – that’s the whole point.
But the one thing that may be of more interest than anything else is the food.
“The most popular part is always the food,” Livingston said. “We have 18 different food vendors – from Greek and Italian to Nepali and African. There will be baklava, meat pies, gyros, all kinds of Nepali foods I can’t pronounce – just a great range of things to try and taste and enjoy.”
In that case, you can count on two newspapermen to be there with appetites and bibs.
Apart from tons of food from all over the world and fun activities for everyone to participate in, there will also be a bunch of musical and dance performances throughout the festival.
There will be 15 total performances, featuring a flutist on Main Street to kick off the whole thing, a Chinese dragon dance (traditionally reserved for extra special occasions, such as a 10-year anniversary), Filipino traditional dance, the Holy Trinity Greek Dance Troupe and so much more.
At the end of the festival, there will be somewhat of a sendoff in the form of an African drumming expo by the Akwaaba Ensemble.
And it wouldn’t be Concord’s Multicultural Festival without a strong tie-in to the Concord area (apart from its location).
“All of our performers live and work in this vicinity, mostly in the Concord area,” Livingston said. Some of the dancers are from Boston, she said, but everyone else is from the area, including the food vendors.
The festival, which is Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. on the State House lawn, is still looking for volunteers, so if you want to pitch in, go to concordnhmulticulturalfestival.org and click the Get Involved tab at the top.