Celebrating our differences
Picturesque summer weather and the lure of a great multicultural experience brought record crowds of nearly 25,000 to the 10th annual Langley International Festival, held at the grounds of the Langley Events Centre last weekend.
“It was absolutely phenomenal,” said Shar Dubas, executive director.“It was a huge, huge success.”
What started as a small fundraiser for St. Joseph’s Parish in 2001 with around 1500 attendees, has now grown into a huge community event.
A Volkswagen car show, a bike show, soccer tournament, tennis tournament, carnival, children's chalet, Shakespeare production, writing contest, international food and more meant there was something there for everyone.
“It’s amazing what’s happening with this festival,” Dubas said.
“There’s more and more interest and more people that have immigrated to Canada, and get it now. They understand what the festival is all about. And they want to showcase and share their culture and their heritage.”
Dubas estimates that around 35 to 40 countries were represented at the event through booths, cars, performances, consulates, food and spectators.
“The food was extraordinary this year,” she said.
“It wasn’t just your carnival food, it was original ethnic food, and it was very well received. That’s the multicultural experience that we talk about.”
Marva Vital is one of 180 volunteers at the event. She was working at the food tent from Trinidad, handing out their traditional dish of roti. Made with a wheat flour flatbread, and the choice of either curry chicken, regular chicken or vegetables, the meal proved very popular over the weekend.
Vital immigrated to British Columbia from Trinidad in 1979, and is now living here with three of her four children. She says it’s important to operate a food stand from her country to help introduce different ethnic dishes to Langley.
“In Canada you buy hamburgers, but in Trinidad you buy roti,” she said.
Dubas says that multicultural outlets are a growing need in communities.
“I believe with everything in my heart that people are wanting this now,”she said.
“They want this kind of family community event whereby they can come together and showcase their culture and make friends and be respected.”