Multicultural festival bigger and better
April 27, 2003
The eighth annual Multicultural Festival Saturday at Western Nevada Community College was the biggest yet. The event, which was confined to the Sarah Winnemucca Hall in the Aspen Building when it started, has now spread to the lobby of the Bristlecone Building and the Rotary Plaza in between.
“When we organized the first one we wondered if anyone was going to come and it was packed,” said WNCC Librarian Valarie Andersen, an original organizer.
This year there were 20 exhibits, 10 performance groups and seven different types of food offered.
“It’s pretty amazing the people who come through here, it really is,” said adult basic education specialist Joanne Ostergaard, this year’s organizer.
Offering delicious baked goods such as krumkakor, yorte bakkels and sand bakkels, the Queen Maud Lodge No. 42 of the Daughters of Norway were dressed in elaborate sweaters.
“And there are no calories in Norwegian cookies,” said president Kris Mallison with a twinkle in her eye.
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“That’s just a yoke,” she laughed.
Another group member, Doris Howell, provided her home made raspberry jams as topping for the Scandinavian cookies.
Kristaps Kuplais, who will graduate from WNCC this year with a degree in international business, hosted a table with information on his native Latvia.
He was proud that Latvia has a female president and that Latvians are the loudest ice hockey fans in the world.
“They did a study at a game in Sweden last year and found that 5,000 Latvians made a noise the same loudness as a plane taking off,” he smiled.
Across the way was Mike Williams of the Stillwater/Walker River Paiute tribe, showing his traditional Tule duck decoys made of dried marsh plants.
He crafts them in the style of the Tule decoys found at the Lovelock cave in 1924, which he said were some of the oldest decoys found in the world. Williams paints them with resin from Pi-on Pines and decorates them with goose feathers, the same way his ancestors have done for thousands of years.
Meanwhile in the plaza Rosana Marrero was cooking up Colombian Arepas (dough balls with cheese inside flattened and cooked on a grill) and barbecued white corn while Miguel Gomez was making cool refreshing “frutas frescas” (fresh fruit) cups.
“I liked the candies,” said Zach Tolby, 10, from Carson City. He was enjoying the sunshine with his father, Sean, who home schools him.
“I also liked the Scottish table — with the guy wearing a kilt. You don’t just see a guy wearing a kilt walking down the street — unless you’re in Scotland,” Zach said.
Saturday’s event also included popular dance performances such as Leilani’s Hula Halua Dancers, the Capitol City Clog Academy of American folk dancers and the Asha Belly Dancers.
Informational kiosks told the story of immigrants to Nevada like Koreans who came here as brides after the Korean War and Thais and East Indians who came for economic opportunities in the 1970s.
Another kiosk, funded by the Nevada Humanities Committee, had stories of black Nevadans — yesterday and today. There was information on artist Grafton Tyler Brown, a black man who painted scenes from Fort Churchill and the Comstock in the 1800’s and a Dr. James B. McMillian — Nevada’s first black dentist and leader of the Las Vegas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1960.