Revelstoke Multicultural Society’s flagship event, the Carousel of Nations, is celebrating its sixth year this Saturday, Jan. 31, at the community centre.
“The aim is to showcase and celebrate the multiculturalism and diversity in Revelstoke’s past and present,” says B.R. Whalen, the Society’s coordinator.
Whalen explains that the event builds bridges between the cultures that make up the community of Revelstoke. “The Carousel of Nations increases intercultural understanding and pride by sharing information about cultural differences and values,” she says.
The Revelstoke Multicultural Society is itself fairly young. It came into being when several Okanagan College staff from the ‘Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Program,’ community members and organizations decided to open a dialogue about how to make Revelstoke a more inclusive and welcoming place.
“One participant, Satish Shonek, mentioned that there is a large event where he had lived that celebrated multiculturalism,” Whalen explains, adding that Alan Chell, who was coordinating these sessions, liked the idea, inspired the group and delegated tasks to make the event a reality. “Alan, with the help of many others, including Cathy English and Catherine Bellerose was instrumental in forming the Revelstoke Multicultural Society, so that we could apply for Columbia Basin Trust funding,” adds Whalen.
“The Carousel of Nations really highlights the cultures of people from different countries who have made Revelstoke their home,” says Paula Flaa, a volunteer helping with the event’s marketing. Born and raised in Revelstoke, Flaa believes the event is useful in celebrating diversity and showing Revelstokians how the community is changing and growing.
“As well the event gives those who have never had the opportunity to travel a taste of these cultures,” she adds.
This family friendly event has, new this year, two ‘Kids in School’ drop off opportunities. Designed for primary school aged children, parents can leave their kids for one hour (4:30–5:30 p.m. or 5:30–6:30 p.m.) where children explore a variety of different stations, learning how children play and learn in the educational systems of other cultures.
Additionally, the event will boast cultural displays, a wide variety of food (available at $3 per try), local musical group The Highlanders, followed by out of town musicians, hoop dancers, with headliners Santa Lucia LFR Latin Funk Rock playing a somewhat more acoustic set to appeal to all ages.
At 10 p.m. that night, Santa Lucia LFR will also be performing at the River City Pub, accompanied by a Polynesian dance group from Vernon. Admission is only $5 and the Regent will donate all cover back to the Multicultural Society to support the Carousal of Nations.
Santa Lucia LFR Latin Funk Rock has had their latest CD described as “a blend of horn driven music anthems with a social conscience, unique Latin sensibilities with plenty of rock, a shot of salsa, a shed-load of funk, and some high-speed Colombian cumbia.”
On Sunday, 10:30 a.m. at the Community Center, the Polynesian dance group will deliver a free dance workshop that is open to all ages.
The Carousel of Nations is a community driven event, and it is thanks to its dedicated and talented group of volunteers it has become such a success. Additionally, the “event is free (expect food) for everyone thanks to many generous sponsors and volunteers. You can see the sponsor list on all our posters and our program. We have an outstanding volunteer planning committee that is led by Catherine Bellerose,” Whalen explains. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”
Please check out the Revelstoke Multicultural Society’s website for additional information.