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New Castle to Hold Inaugural MultiCulture Fest This Saturday

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The Bokandeye African American Dance Theater will be one of the performing groups at the Town of New Castle’s first MultiCulture Fest this Saturday.

Editor’s Note: Due to the forecast of heavy rain on Saturday afternoon, the organizers of the MultiCulture Fest announced late Thursday they have canceled the event.

The Town of New Castle may appear to be a largely homogenous community from afar, but within its borders there are residents from a large variety of backgrounds who call the community home.

On Saturday, the town and its Committee on Race, Equity and Inclusion (CREI) will spend the afternoon celebrating that diversity with its first major event.

In partnership with the New Castle Recreation and Parks Department, the committee will hold the inaugural MultiCulture Fest, a day that will feature foods and entertainment from a wide assortment of cultures as well as vendors, games, crafts and other activities for children.

CREI Co-chair Supurna Banerjee said the goal of the event aside from having a good time on a spring weekend afternoon is for community members who may not be familiar with one another to get acquainted.

“We really wanted to have people get to know each other, know who is in their community and to really just come together, I think especially post-COVID,” Banerjee said.

The town officially launched the CREI last summer and its seven members went to work to start scheduling different types of events. Its first event, an MLK Day program around the time of the federal holiday in recognition of the slain civil rights leader’s birthday, proved to be a success, said CREI member Kimberley Carey.

Now its members are building on the momentum from that day with a more ambitious program. The MultiCulture Fest will be held in the Chappaqua train station’s south lot from 12 to 6 p.m. There will food trucks representing an assortment of different cultures and entertainment, including Indian, Chinese, African and Latin dance and hip-hop. A Mariachi band is also slated to perform.

Carey said the committee’s goal has been to allow people to understand and appreciate everyone’s difference in a fun environment.

“Part of our mission statement is to provide a space for people to talk without judgment, to just get together and discover each other,” Carey said.

CREI Co-chair Larry Liu said holding mutual respect for one another is a key objective. Shortly after Liu immigrated to the United States from China, he recalled the generosity of a Jewish college professor where he was in Ohio who welcomed him into his home.

For Carey, an event like this will perhaps help others to see how many people can be similar despite differences in culture and customs.

“I think once people become more familiar with other people and cultures, they’re more open to it and they don’t see it as a threat,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The event will be held rain or shine since organizers have arranged for a large tent and the stage for the entertainment is covered.

They also hope that MultiCulture Fest will be an annual celebration.

Although it’s a New Castle event, people from other communities are welcome to be part of the festivities, Banerjee noted.

“We want everybody to join us and we want this to be a happy celebration and commemoration and we welcome participation,” she said.

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