News, events, and bulletins for neighbors living in Historic Germantown, Nashville, TN.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

3:10 PM

posted by HGN Secretary |

Celebration of Culture Showcases City's Increasing Diversity

Metro Parks' and Scarritt-Bennett Celebration of Culture Showcases City's Increasing Diversity
Day Long Event Brings International Focus to Centennial Park

Metro Parks' and Scarritt-Bennett Center have joined forces to bring one of the city's most beloved festivals, Celebration of Cultures, to Centennial Park. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, will showcase the changing face of the city through music, food, art, and exhibitions.

"This festival will be unlike any seen here before," said Metro Parks Director Roy E. Wilson. "On Saturday, October 7, Centennial Park will become a unique international destination offering visitors the option of experiencing a variety of cultural encounters designed to educate, entertain and strengthen our resolve as a community to embrace cultures that might be very different from our own."

The day-long, multi-faceted event has several components designed to give visitors a glimpse of cultures beyond the nation's borders. Four different stages will feature music and dance from countries as far away as Ghana, West Africa to as close as Cancun, Mexico. Visitors will enjoy tasting delicacies from many nations and shopping at the World Market which will showcase original art, imported crafts and, trinkets from around the globe. There's also a children's area which will feature interactive music and dance programs, story telling, nature activities, arts and crafts, and a most unique Instrument Petting Zoo.

"Local and global communities are stronger when people gather in celebration of their diversity," explained the President of Scarritt-Bennett Center H. Sharon Howell. "Celebration of Cultures will offer an opportunity for people in the Nashville community to come together and discover the richness of the different cultures and ethnicities that represent our area. Scarritt-Bennett Center has a historical and current commitment to diversity and is thrilled to partner with Metro Parks to help provide this gift to Middle Tennessee," she said.

An important complementary event to the Celebration of Cultures festival is the Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) exhibit, "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City," appearing in Centennial Park from October 4-8. This interactive outdoor exhibit brings to light day-to-day living conditions of the 33 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and persecution. Guided tours by experienced MSF humanitarian aid workers illustrate the challenges of delivering medical care to people caught in upheaval and conflict. MSF is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflicts, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to engage the diverse community of Nashville in our efforts to raise awareness of the plight of people uprooted by conflict around the world," said Nicolas de Torrenté, Executive Director of MSF USA. "This interactive exhibit aims to move beyond headlines and sound bites to foster a deeper understanding, on a human level, of the challenges faced by 33 million displaced people who must seek safety, shelter, food, and clean water on a daily basis in order to survive."

Adding to the international flavor of the day is the National Conference for Community and Justice's annual Walk as One. The walk-a-thon, which was designed to promote understanding and respect for all people, also helps raise funds for youth and community leadership programs that benefit the regions in which they are held. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at the Centennial Park Event Shelter.

Event sponsors include: HCA, Bridgestone/Firestone, BellSouth, Fifth Third Bank, Castleman Drilling & Pump Service, Ten Thousand Villages, National Renal Alliance, Nashville Scene, Holmes Pest Control, Lanier, Friends of Centennial Park and The Parthenon, Profitsherpa LLC, Comcast, Nashville Parent, and Celebrate Nashville.

For more information on Celebration of Cultures, log on to www.celebrationofcultures.com.