On September 28, 2013, Irvine hosted its annual Global Village Festival at Bill Barber Park from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. With over 20,000 attendees, this event has been celebrating Irvine’s cultural diversity since 1998.
This year, Irvine featured 50 cultural performances throughout the five stages at Bill Barber Park, which included cultural dances, choral singing and martial arts demonstrations by various organizations, such as the Na’Opio Ka ‘Aina Hawaiian Club from University of California Irvine (UCI) and the International Children’s Choir. While watching the performances, guests tasted various sample-sized foods unique to different international cuisines, offered by over 25 local and popular vendors like Koba Tofu Grill, Istanbull Grill, Taco Factory and Crepe Maker.
The festival began with the “Walk for Unity,” a 5 kilometer pre-event walk hosted by the Tiyya Foundation which provides support for low-income and refugee international families in Orange County. “Since the Irvine Global Village Festival is celebrating diversity, it only makes sense for the Tiyya Foundation to take the lead to help launch a day of global festivities with our Walk for Unity,” said Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, one of the Walk for Unity’s organizers.
Several other events unfolded throughout the festival grounds. At the World Religions tent, religious groups hosted booths celebrating their spirituality, while the Entertainment Section of the festival featured international artistic performances, such as the Maple Conservatory of Dance’s ballet performance of dances from Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. “We are interested in sharing the joy of dance with our community (and) will be showing dancers at different stages in their training from ages 9 to 18,” said Charles Maple, artistic director of the Maple Youth Ballet.
Another group, the Caribbean Jems, represented the culture of Trinidad through its dance performances to Soca music. “Jems (performed) dances from the Caribbean including a Market Dance, Limbo, Fire Eating and Breathing,” said Joy Martin, the co-founder of Caribbean Jems.
The Green Exposition, with booths promoting environmentally friendly products and resident awareness, was a precursor to the city’s preparation for the upcoming Solar Decathlon at the Great Park.
Every year, many University High School (UHS) students participate or volunteer at the festival. “I have been going to the Irvine Global Village Festival for the last three years to represent my religion at the World Religions Booth. Every year there is something new that catches my eye – whether it is the music, dances or food. I would definitely encourage everyone to attend the festival!” said Avani Kathuria (Jr).
Written by KRUTHI REDUCHINTALA