Celebrate diversity at the Multicultural Festival at Market Days

Corrin Foley (center) of Goffstown tries on a saari with the help of Nar Sharma (left) during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Sharma had a variety of garments from across South Asia for visitors to try on. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
Corrin Foley (center) of Goffstown tries on a saari with the help of Nar Sharma (left) during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Sharma had a variety of garments from across South Asia for visitors to try on. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
The Himalayan Heritage Music Group performs during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
The Himalayan Heritage Music Group performs during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
Lochana Sharma (right), 14, and 9-year-old Logan Miller dance to the music during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
Lochana Sharma (right), 14, and 9-year-old Logan Miller dance to the music during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

One of the signature elements of Market Days is the Multicultural Festival.

The festival, now in its 10th year, celebrates the diversity of cultures in the capital area with music, dance, food, activities and all kinds of other things.

This year’s festival – which will be Saturday from 2 to 6:30 p.m. on the State House lawn – is absolutely jam-packed with all of that stuff. In that case, let’s jump right into it.

The whole thing starts with the Welcoming Flag Parade, in which flags from nearly 40 countries – led by bagpipes and carried by local residents – will parade down Main Street starting at 1:45, ending at the State House where a Chinese dragon from the UNH Confucius Institute will kick off the day.

New this year will be an Artist Alley, presented by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The Artist Alley will feature Granite State artists demonstrating traditional arts.

There will be five artists featured:

Liz Charlebois demonstrating Abenaki basket making.

Runjuan Huang demonstrating Chinese folk paper-cutting art and calligraphy.

Marina Forbes demonstrating Russian Matryoshkas (wooden nesting dolls).

Nar Sharma demonstrating Sari wrapping.

Humeyra Ozcan demonstrating Ebru, Turkish marbleized painting.

There will also be an assortment of activities for the whole family, including Henna with Bhutanese students, hair braiding, karate demos with the Penacook School of Martial Arts, Native American activities with the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, Chinese calligraphy and paper-cutting with the UNH Confucius Institute, sand art, heritage bead necklaces and African Shekere.

For the food, there will be a smorgasbord of international flavor. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Katmandu Bazaar will serve momos; Food Basket Korean BBQ will serve jahp-che, bulgogi, Jarred kimchi and meat dumplings; and Aissa Sweets will serve baklava, date- and raspberry-filled cookies and filo wraps. Individual vendors will be serving all kinds of things from all over the world, including chatpatey (Southeast Asia), samosas (Southeast Asia), lentil balls, potato salad, organic lemonade, Turkish bread (Turkey) and green plantains, beef and sweet potatoes (Rwanda).

There will be live performances by:

Berain Rasaily (Nepali singer); In the Field Irish Dancers; Lovestone (Granite State pop-rap R&B artist); Neha Parikh (classical Indian dancing); New American Africans (traditional African dancing); N.H. School of Scottish Arts (Highland dancing); Song of the Lark (Jewish songs and dance); Sayon Camara (West African drumming); Sindy Chown (Salsa Colombiana); Bhutanese dancers; Black Thunder Singers (northern traditional Native American drums); and Old Time New Hampshire Dancing (Contra dancing) featuring Dudley Laufman, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki and Sue Hunt.

Want to perform? Email the performance coordinator at helga.bouchard@lfg.com.

If you’re interested in learning more about some local organizations, you can check out info booths for the ACLU of New Hampshire, the Office of Minority and Refugee Health, the Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire, Open Democracy, the Disability Rights Center – N.H., the Developmental Disabilities Council, New York Life, The League of Conservation Voters, Second Start and Welcoming New Hampshire.

Need a ride? The Boys & Girls Club of Concord will provide a shuttle beginning at 1:30 p.m., with stops (in order) at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Havenwood Heritage Heights, Ormond Street, Canton Circle (Eagle’s Bluff), the State House, the Fisherville Road Dunkin’ Donuts, Jennings Drive and the State House. The final ride leaves the State House at 6:15.

For the hearing impaired, American sign language will be available. Check in at the welcome tent behind the arch for more information.

We know there’s a ton of information packed into this story, and the event indeed is loaded with activities. The main purpose, though, is just to get the community together to hang out and make new friends. You don’t need a schedule for that.

For more info, go to  concordnhmulticultural festival.org or search for the event on Facebook.

Author: Jon Bodell

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1 Comment

  1. I saw your add on the festival this passed week I’m a local coordinator for exchange student
    I’m currently looking for families in the NH area to host for the 2017-2018 school year. We have students both male and females from multiple countries still in need of homes The students come with good English skills own spending money/medical insurance students interests are sport, music, theater computers and much more families with children of all age are welcome to host along with the empty nesters if you know of a family that would be interested in the exchange program contact
    linda_coffey@hotmail.com
    Thank you
    Linda Coffey
    Greenheart -LC

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