International Heritage Festival, Modesto, CA

Mexiccan Dancers

On October 6th the 21st annual International Heritage Festival took place in Modesto, California.  It’s an event that I wish to have, and should have attended.  Allowing myself to remain buried, i.e., distracted, by other work meant that I failed to monitor event calenders.  So while I worked and remained comfortably oblivious, the 21st Annual Heritage Festival slipped into the history books without me ever knowing otherwise.  It’s a lesson learned, and reminder to always remain cognizant of those “must attend” events that are both informative and entertaining.

Fortunately for me a friend and colleague, being more alert than I, was able to attend and take notes of the goings-on.  Adding to the good fortune is that he happens to be a photographer, making good use of his time at the event to capture several images from the day that I’ve used in this blog.  You can view a sampling of his other work here: D.T. Photography.

Promotional literature claims “It’s the ultimate trip around the world”, and the 21st annual showing of the festival was well attended according to D.T.  And in my very humble opinion it should be.  One of the irrefutable truths of living in the U.S. is that we are and will continue to be a proverbial “melting pot.”  In the spirit of getting to know your neighbor, this event and others like it allow us to gain insight into the similarities and differences of the various cultures that populate the country we collectively call home.  And for those not able or inclined to travel, such events provide an excellent opportunity to visit the world from the relative comfort of our own communities.

During the festival attendees were able to enjoy various offerings of music, dance, food and crafts provided by the respective cultural groups. Event organizers put a great deal of effort into educating children, with displays given for each country and cultural group, including its geography and history.  According to D.T., one of the activities children participated in was accumulating “stamps” from the various countries represented at the festival.  As the children approached each cultural booth they presented a “passport book”, which was then stamped by the particular country represented at that booth.  At each booth individuals representing a country and/or culture were available to answer questions and share information.

According to the Heritage Festival web-site more than 30 countries were represented during last year’s event, so for those attending there was an abundance of information and activities to keep one’s interest.  The festival takes place at the Gallo Center for the Arts plaza, with live performances inside the Gallo Center at the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater.

I’ve always enjoyed attending cultural events such as this, and can say first-hand they are both entertaining and informative.  Having a love for food in general, I’d go just for the culinary adventures alone!  If you’ve never gone to a cultural event or festival then you, your friends and family owe it to yourselves to attend.  I assure you that you will be entertained and informed, and upon leaving will have learned at least a little more about the world than what you knew prior to attending.  And besides, it’s an excellent opportunity to get out and meet those who live and work in your community.  It’s a good time, it’s free, and a terrific way to spend your afternoon.

Below are several photos captured by D.T. while attending the festival.  Thanks for the captures, D.T!

~ Castaway

Cambodian Dancer: Rogers Theater

 Welsh Harpist: Rogers Theater

Mexican Dancers: Rogers Theater

Mexican Dancers: Rogers Theater

Ripon Police Dept. Bagpipe Band: Rogers Theater

Ripon Police Dept. Bagpipe Band: Rogers Theater

Mexican Dancer: Outdoor stage area of Gallo Center

Vendor Booth:  Outdoor vendor area of Gallo Center

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