Nfld. & Labrador

Good eats, good beats and good weather: RIAC marks 10th Summer Cultural Festival

The smells and sounds of food and music from around the world filled Bowring Park in St. John's Saturday afternoon.

Festival celebrates culture from around the world and community at home

Winifred Ohwoka uses African fabrics to create clothing, purses, bags, aprons and more. She owns and runs Signage Clothing and Crafts. (Stephen Miller/CBC)

The smells and sounds of food and music from around the world filled Bowring Park in St. John's Saturday afternoon for the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council's (RIAC) Cultural Summer Festival.

Bobbi Vasher of RIAC helped plan the event and says the festival helps bring people together.

"We host events like this all year in support of celebrating culture, inviting people out and encouraging people to come out and learn something new about their neighbours," she said.

Bobbi Vasher is one of the organizers of the Summer Cultural Festival. Some of her artwork was also available at the event. (Stephen Miller/CBC)

The tenth anniversary of the event was a team effort, presented by RIAC, as well as Partakes, another not-for-profit that also focuses on supporting immigrants and refugees in the province. 

But the goal remains the same each year: exposing locals to the diverse cultures of refugees and immigrants while also helping newcomers become part of the community.

Get up and move!

The festival showcased handmade fashion, food and art from all over the globe, and the park's amphitheatre was alive with song and dance all afternoon. 

Elaborate Indian and Caribbean dances complimented the music and song, with audiences members invited on stage to join in on the fun.

Multilingual, multitalented, Maia McKeown shared her various talents with the crowd. The guitar is one of five instruments she can play. (Stephen Miller/CBC)

Maia McKeown, 10, left quite an impression on the audience with her various musical performances. She picked up her first musical instrument — a violin — at the age of three, and has since learned how to play four more.

McKeown said she really enjoyed playing at the festival and even had some advice for aspiring musicians.

"I would encourage anybody who really likes playing instruments to just try, it's a very nice experience to play with everybody, in front of a lot of people," she said.

Feast for the senses

The festival was blanketed in brilliant colours, but the vibrant fashion and accessories at the Signage Clothing and Crafts table seemed to draw the largest crowds.

Eldin Husic poses with his two sons Mesha, 11, and Tarik, 10. The two brothers put their own special spin on a Balkan date desert. (Stephen Miller/CBC)

Whether it was a Chilean dish, African garments or the various art pieces, there was plenty to catch your eye.

It wasn't just the adults getting in on the action, the two young sons of the owner of Balkan Kitchen on Cookstown Road, came up with their own take on a traditional date desert — adding Corn Pops and other flare.

There was plenty to see, hear and eat at RIAC's Summer Cultural Festival. (Stephen Miller/CBC)

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