The 28th annual Multicultural Fair will bring sounds, sights and tastes from around the world to UMW’s Fredericksburg campus this weekend. The event will take place Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.
Second in attendance only to next month’s undergraduate commencement ceremony, the fair draws celebrated performers, engaging activities and thousands of visitors to Mary Washington each spring.
“Each year we strive to make this longstanding cultural tradition the best ever,” said Marion Sanford, director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, which sponsors the event. “Our goal is to bring the campus and members of the local community together to embrace the many ethnicities, heritages and customs that make our region so rich and vibrant.”
Talent – in the form of spirited dance groups, dynamic music ensembles and colorful crafters – will set up along Campus Walk, bringing a slice of culture from across the globe that stretches from George Washington to Monroe Hall.
Musical entertainment features Celtic, choral and a capella styles, along with Latin fusion and Indie pop, plus cool reggae, smooth jazz, deep soul, rich blues and funky go-go. New to the lineup this year is the UBUMWE Youth Choir, made up of local Burundian students. Famed blues artist and Fredericksburg native Gaye Adegbalola, a longtime friend of the fair and founding member of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, will perform with local musician John Freund.
Dances include belly, break and step-dancing styles, plus clogging and Athenian dance. Puerto Rican native Estela Velez of the Furia Flamenco group will perform at the fair for the first time this year, adding modern flair to traditional flamenco gypsy-type dance.
The University of Mary Washington’s own all-female a capella group BellACapella, gospel ensemble UMW Voices of Praise and breakdancing troupe UMW Breakers will take the stage. The Asian Student Association will present K-Pop, a South Korean style mix of electronic, hip hop, pop, rock and R&B, and Eagle Bhangra will perform South and Central Asian-inspired dance.
A “lipsologist” will be on hand to read visitors’ lip prints, as will a rainbow of children’s activities and international cuisine. Crafters will feature baskets, tie-dyes, origami and more, including essential-oil soaps and bath bombs by Lani Boo Bath, created by 10-year-old Spotsylvania County resident Jelani Jones.
“We are pleased with the variety of performances and vendors participating this year,” Sanford said. “We invite everyone to come out and join us for this fun-filled day to celebrate culture and diversity.”