A fun way to celebrate and a great way to party is how Jin Lin describes this year’s Comox Valley Multicultural Festival.
“The concept is fun, and it’s a way to celebrate national Multicultural Day and a warm up to July 1st,” added Lin who, along with a small group of board members from the Comox Valley Multicultural Society, is organizing a musical celebration at Simms Millennium Park June 27.
The highlight of the festival is Cuban band Brisas del Palmar, who will perform two 45-minute sets; Azucena Flamenco will also entertain.
Lin said she hopes the performance, which is by donation, will allow people of the Valley to come together to have fun and celebrate the diversity of culture in the area.
“In the Comox Valley, the immigrant population is small – maybe only 10 per cent. We want to find a way to connect people and promote other cultures.”
She explained the role of the festival, along with the multicultural society, is to connect people with their culture and others in the community.
Lin recalls her arrival to the Comox Valley from Taiwan in 1993. She didn’t speak English very well and didn’t know anything about the area.
In order to learn the language, she walked up and down Fifth Street in Courtenay with a dictionary, walking into stores and asking questions to understand where she could purchase basic household staples. Now, Lin said, the Multicultural Society hopes to provide a role to help those who have recently immigrated to the area and act as a resource for not only basic services, but a social outlet to connect other new residents.
It’s easy with a language barrier to choose to stay at home, she added.
“Come out, introduce yourself to others, and get involved,” she noted. “Every culture is unique, and whatever your background is, let’s do things together. Immigrants have questions, they don’t know where to go, and we’re like (filling) a gap; we help like a friend. I’ve been through that and I know the system.”
The festival celebration later this month is a chance to show respect and share culture, added Lin. The non-profit organization holds events for anyone nearly monthly, but this is a highlight event, she added.
The society is working in conjunction with the Comox Valley July 1st Committee as a lead-up to Canada Day festivities in the area.
Admission is by donation, and she said all funds raised by the community are given back to the community through outreach and programming.
For more info on the event, call 250-338-9386 or visit the Comox Valley Multicultural Society’s Facebook page.