Red Deerians had the opportunity to experience cultures from around the world at a two-day event.
Care for Newcomers hosted a Multicultural Celebration of the Arts on Friday evening and throughout much of Saturday at Festival Hall in Red Deer.
“This is a chance for the community to get together and for different cultures to celebrate together,” said Jan Underwood, Care for Newcomers public awareness co-ordinator.
“There are a lot of people identifying with their culture and there were people learning things about other cultures that they didn’t know.
“We have dance groups here teaching their dancing to people of other cultures. I experienced that years ago at a conference and I thought it was amazing.”
The Multicultural Celebration of the Arts was part of Alberta Culture Days, which runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 16. Care for Newcomers has held Alberta Culture Days in the past, but it’s been a few years since the organization has been able to host one as big as this weekend’s celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Underwood recalled the first time Care for Newcomers, then known as the Central Alberta Refugee Effort, contributed to Alberta Culture Days.
“I was meeting immigrants who had skills and talents that we really didn’t know about. I met two of them who had paintings, so we put them in a gallery exhibit. From there it’s just kind of grown,” said Underwood.
“We’ve done different things over the years for Alberta Culture Days, including a performance with refugee stories called Journeys of Hope.”
Friday evening’s event, which featured live performances, vendors and a two-hour family dance, had about 250 attendees. Saturday’s event was expected to bring in a similar number.
Celebrating culture is important for the community, Underwood added.
“There are a lot of people here in Red Deer and central Alberta who are coming from different cultures,” said Underwood.
“Sometimes we might work with people … and we don’t know too much about their culture. An event like this can provide knowledge. The more that we talk together, the more we communicate with each other, the more understanding there is.”