Celebrating community through its diversity of culture.
That was the order of the day at the Penticton Lakeside Resort during Saturday’s fifth annual OneWorld Penticton Festival.
By halfway through the event featuring an array of entertainment, food, information booths and much, much more attendance figures had already topped the 1,000 with a steady stream of people making their way through the doors.
“I think it’s important for immigrants to be able to showcase their cultural because it helps the Canadians understand who the immigrants are and what they have to contribute to make Canada a better place,” said Tahira Saeed, program manager for the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services which puts on the festival each year. “The immigrants are making friends with the Canadian population and the Canadian community is very welcoming to them as well.
“We have clients in our organization who have made friendships with their mentors and theses mentors are Canadians it’s a soft way of building friendship as well.”
Beckie Albertson brought her eight-year-old daughter Emma to the festival for the first time, just out of curiosity.
“I had heard about it before and we just thought we’d stop in and see what it was all about,” said Albertson. “I never imagined how incredible all this would be and the atmosphere is just so friendly and welcoming.
“I guess it just sort of opens up your eyes to a degree about just how varied the many cultures are in our community and the importance of celebrating that.”
She added the Thai food they had was “super delicious.”
Saeed estimated the society helps about 1,600 clients annually from more than 80 countries.
“This event is an opportunity to allow them to showcase their cultural background whether in the form of performances, whether as food venders as merchandise venders or information booths,” said Saeed, who expressed her thanks to the Lakeside for providing the space at no cost. The festival, it’s getting bigger and I am very proud to say it’s getting better as well.”