October 18, 2021

festivalvolunteersrjBY JAMES WELLS

Three festivals down, plenty more to go.

Cambridge’s annual International Festival, held on Sept. 24, came together in a celebration of cultural diversity. The event, which has been held every year at
Cambridge’s Riverside Park, featured many different cultures that shared their country’s love of music, food and apparel as well as words of global unity.

“We’re hoping to keep going and going. I mean, we’ve gotten bigger every year,” said Luke Moyer, director of community relations for the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo.

It all began when a number of community partners came together and wanted to create a city event that celebrated the diversity of cultures that makes up Cambridge’s population. The International Festival is run by the YMCA in partnership with Idea Exchange, the City of Cambridge, Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Regional Police. This year the festival was fortunate enough to have a Facebook page and website to advertise the event to the public, something they did not have the two previous years. According to Moyer, one-quarter of Cambridge’s residents are born outside of Canada, making cultural diversity a celebration.

The festival included stage entertainment with many different forms of song and dance performances throughout the day. They included the Cambridge District Pipe Band, aboriginal drummers, the Islamic School in Cambridge, Romanian dancing, Chinese dancing and a Syrian band.

Along with food and entertainment, the festival featured vendors who set up shop for a small fee. Items for sale included art, jewelry, clothing and pottery.

Vendor Kimi Bois, who owns her own business called Gypsy Scents Aromatherapy, was a first-time attendee at the festival.

“I am a traveller and I am a healer and an entertainer and so the name gypsy really connects with me although I am not of Romanian descent,” said Bois.

She decided to attend the festival to market her business, which features her natural products for everyday use.

Bois found the event to be a great place to embrace her self-proclaimed gypsy title, one that highlights her diversity and openness to all those around her.

The 2016 festival was the largest one yet. Moyer said that he and all partners involved hope it continues to grow and be an even greater success next year.

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