PALMDALE – Heavy showers did little to dampen the spirits of those who came out to celebrate cultural awareness in the Antelope Valley Saturday.
“I think this is a spectacular event,” said Rosa Fuller of Palmdale. “There’s a lot of talent out here.”
Fuller, her husband, and son, joined more than 150 revelers at Poncitlan Square Saturday for an afternoon of dance, music, and entertainment featuring cultures from around the world. The 17th Annual International Heritage Festival kicked off with the Parade of Nations, where festival goers circled the park marching to the sounds of “It’s A Small World.”
Then entertainers representing a variety of cultures and backgrounds dazzled the audience. The Polynesian Dance Troupe, Halau Hula O Kanoelani, shared the spirit of Aloha through a mesmerizing dance set that included performers of all ages.
“Our youngest dancer is five and our oldest dancer is 66,” said Director Lia Kamminga. “We are a very patriotic group as you can tell by our red, white and blue dresses.”
Other crowd favorites included the Hithe Performing Arts Group, past AV Idol winner Nelson Jimenez, Mexican singer Luz Del Valle, the Amazing Grace Dance Ministries from Living Stone Cathedral, and the Folklorico Divas.
“I like the Folklorico dancers because it’s a part of my culture,” said Cindy Terriquez, attending the event with her sister Kristine. “I like to see the other cultures too; I just like to see how everyone comes together as one.”
“It’s really exciting when you can learn about the different cultures and try their foods,” said Kristine Terriquez.
Area restaurants were on hand to offer festival goers a sampling of ethnic foods.
The event also featured about 50 different businesses and organizations who hosted informational booths to display their services.
Midway through the event, pouring rains sent many event goers scrambling for cover on the stage underneath the bandstand. But organizers say this only made the event all the more memorable.
“We’re all together as diverse people from the Antelope Valley, different cultures, different heritages, all on this stage together,” said Elena Montgomery, Vice Chair of the Festival. “Our goal was to promote unity, and we were successful in that because we are all together on this stage… we did exactly what we set out to do.”