Cars lined Griffith Avenue and surrounding streets Saturday as Owensboro turned out in a big way for the 21st annual Multicultural Festival at First Presbyterian Church.
Along with assorted entertainment on the main stage, more than 30 booths were on display at the event, which celebrates the differences and similarities among cultures. Representatives from different nations showcased a little piece of life in that country. Some shared traditional art, while others focused on history, attire, food and currency. Agencies that promote inclusivity were also on hand, along with organizations that educated attendees about fair trade.
At China’s booth, returning attendees were greeted by two familiar faces – Lilly Hubbard and Leah Gehret. The pair have been participating since they were three and six-years-old. They’re now 16 and 19.
“We were adopted from China,” Gehret said. “Our parents made it a mission to make sure we remember our heritage. This is our big yearly event and we’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Hubbard said the best part of the day is exposing people to their culture and teaching them a history that they might not know. “Sadly, things aren’t always in the textbook so we want to address that. It’s our way of showing activism”.
The pair performs in at least one dance at the festival. This year they were doing a short and long fan dance, as well as a hip hop song from mainland China.
Hubbard said people should come to the festival because “it’s fun and it’s good to be aware of your culture and where we’re coming from. We all have different things about us but we’re all one person.”
Christine Gramelspacher, who is on the festival committee, seconded that sentiment.
“The festival is a joint effort with the church members because this is a passion that we all believe in,” she said. “We believe that we’re one, and through peaceful efforts, we can heal the rift that is in the country.”
In its 21st year, the festival keeps growing but maintains its original flags flying from the church and it’s original message. “It’s different colors, different nations, different people, but one thing – peace.”