The 10th Annual Kingston Multicultural Arts Festival draws hundreds

Cultural diversity celebrated at Confederation Park through art and dance

Tents at the 10th Annual Kingston Arts Multicultural Festival 
Credit: 
Ellen Nagy

This past weekend, Kingston residents were able to experience food, drink, and art of cultures from all over the globe, all without leaving the city.

On Sept. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Confederation Park, the Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) hosted the 10th annual Kingston Arts Festival. KIP works to welcome and integrate immigrants into Kingston by fostering a sense of community.

The festival-goers were given the opportunity to experience and learn about the various cultures represented at the event, free of charge.

KIP invited local cultural groups to attend, as their aim is to focus on the diversity of people in Kingston.

Some of the regions represented this year included China, Egypt, India, Syria, Poland, Africa, the Caribbean, and Nepal. While these groups have attended in past years, others new to the festival were from Kenya, Greece, and Turkey. 

The Kingston-Egyptian community group set up a table decorated with small figurines and a large printed menu detailing the food they were offering. The Kingston Malayali Association representing India also dished out food for countless guests. The Iranian group Members of the Community were displaying and selling dishware and framed artwork.

The activities on the main stage kept up the festival pace and charmed those in attendance.

The Rob Roy Pipe Band and the Highland Dancers performed a Scottish dance, followed by the Remesha Drums of Ottawa playing an impassioned set of Burundian drums—for which they received a double encore. This was followed by the Chinese Canadian Association of Kingston and District performing Chinese folk dances.

The celebration of culture and talent created an inviting and non-judgmental environment. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and this relaxed atmosphere. The learning experience was accessible and came easy.

Whether attendees were trying new foods or watching various styles of dance and music, they were learning about Kingston’s rich cultural diversity. This integration of art and learning is part of the effectiveness of KIP’s work to welcome immigrants into Canada and make everybody feel at home.

“Art is an opportunity to learn about different cultures,” said Milong Wang (ArtSci '20).

The Kingston Multicultural Arts Festival held creative workshops hosted by local instructors, including Mayan worry doll-making, taught by interdisciplinary artist Yessica Rivera Belsham, along with rock painting led by artist Ella Gonzalez.

Lining the waterfront were 21 pavilions, one featuring jewelry from Nepal, and another with Irish dancers performing.

Several men and women dressed in powwow regalia  answered the questions of locals inquiring about their cultural dress and practices.

Throughout the day, the crowd of festival-goers weaved in and out of the tents while shopping and eating food from the many locations represented in the park that day.

This annual event serves as a reminder of Kingston’s cultural diversity and the ways in which it enriches our city and local art scene.  

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