A highlight of living in the Royal City is the annual Guelph Multicultural Festival. When it started way back in 1978, the festival represented a unique way for local citizens to connect with other cultures via demonstrations of local traditions, samples of cuisine, etc. The world has become more of a melting pot since then, but the festival still very much has its value and charms.
The festival ran downtown for ten years and then was discontinued until 1997, when it was revived at its current location of Riverside Park. The date was also switched to the first weekend in June so as not to conflict with the many holidays and outdoor celebrations that typically occur in July and August. The switch eliminated the logistics and inconvenience that came from closing off the downtown core and provided more space for the festival to unfold. That meant more room for more people to enjoy more vendors, community groups, and other attractions.
The 2017 festival, which unfolded last weekend, highlighted 20 different cultures. While you may enjoy certain kinds of international food and incorporate some overseas traditions into your daily life, festivals of this sort still offer many ways to learn new things about the world and its people.
Of course, food is the universal way for people to connect with new cultures and this year’s fest included cuisine from Vietnam, Germany, India, the Philippines, Greece, Ethiopia, Poland, Spain, and Thailand. Trying dishes from various lands is an excellent way to become more adventurous in your own food choices. It might even inspire you to try your hand at cooking some at home.
If you missed this year’s celebrations, don’t fret. Go ahead and mark your calendar for the first weekend next June. In the meantime, the festival is always looking for volunteers, so consider helping out.