Multicultural festival to return to Dartmouth waterfront

The newly formed Nova Multifest Society is bringing the multicultural festival back to the Dartmouth waterfront for one day on July 28. The event will feature cultural performances, ethnic cuisine and educational exhibits from around the world.

'There is definitely a gap felt by the community here,' says Nova Multifest Society president

Marcel Amores and Jose Martinez, two members of the Marcel Amores & Plan Ashé, performed at Monday's launch. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

The Dartmouth waterfront will once again be home to a vibrant multicultural festival.

On July 28, Alderney Landing will come alive with cultural performances, ethnic foods, educational exhibits and music from different countries represented across Nova Scotia.

After this year, organizers with the newly formed Nova Multifest Society are hoping to expand the event to three days.

Cultural groups submitting requests

"Our goal, of course, is to promote art and culture and diversity in the province … so there will be (an) education centre, like I said, and one activity section where we'll promote diversity," Vishal Bhardwaj, the society's president, said after the festival launch on Monday at Alderney Landing.

Dartmouth belly dancer Laura Selenzi performed Monday at Alderney Landing as part of an event to mark the return of a multicultural festival in Dartmouth this summer. (Brian MacKay/CBC)
Upwards of 12 cultural groups have already expressed interest in participating and more requests are coming in.

"So there is definitely a gap felt by the community here," Bhardwaj said. "They wanted the multicultural festival back."

In all, the society is reaching out to 55 community associations in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The group is also working with multicultural associations across the province with hopes of helping to revamp similar festivals in the Tri-County and Sydney areas.

"I wish everybody will come join us, this is the time where we share our culture, promote diversity and as a province let's come together and celebrate the multiculturalism and enjoy the day," Bhardwaj said.

Festival cancelled in 2016

The 32-year-old multicultural festival, held for years on the Dartmouth waterfront before it moved to Halifax, was cancelled in 2016 after the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia board collapsed.

The charitable association, which was founded in 1975, ran on grants from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and other revenue sources. The department withheld its grant in 2015 because the association hadn't filed financial statements for several years.

The Nova Multifest Society is not affiliated with the former group.

The one-day festival will be held from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. There is no admission fee.