Charles Davis

4/22/06

Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair

 

            Those who participated in the 21st annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair this past Saturday weren’t about to let a little bad weather get in the way of their fun.  The fair, which was located just a few blocks down Linda Vista Road from the University of San Diego campus, began at 10:30 in the morning under gray, overcast skies, with a parade that included several USD student groups and athletes.  However, it was the food, music, and games that came after the parade that seemed to attract the largest amount of people.

            Starting at 12:30, as the sun intermittently peaked through from the clouds, groups of children from the community could be seen participating in a variety of songs and dances.  On one side of the fair, children from the local Bayside community center could be seen performing the “Bayside Kids Dragon Dance,” as they moved to a loud, steady drumbeat inside a traditional Chinese dragon costume.  Afterwards, children performed original poetry in praise of multiculturalism, while another group performed a Thai “friendship dance,” where the crowd was encouraged to join in with somebody they didn’t know and dance in a circle for five minutes while conversing with their newfound friend.

            On the other side of the fair was the Viejas Casino stage, which hosted a variety of ethnic music, including the lively band “Bolga Zohdooman,” which performed traditional music from Western Africa infused with elements of more modern African sounds.  And though the stage was surrounded by a variety of Mexican, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Laotian cuisines, the members of the band displayed their own rather particular culinary tasted, playing a song dedicated to the “yummy Bush rats” that are said to be a delicious delicacy in the country of Ghana.  Nearby, the “World Arts Village” stage presented children performing Spanish flamenco and other dances for the fifth year in a row.  And when both stages weren’t occupied, the USD symphony could be heard entertaining onlookers with a few classical numbers.

            In addition to the wide varieties of food and music, the fair also featured a large number of vendors, hawking everything from necklaces, sunglasses and African American art, to church groups and careers in law enforcement.  And for those children who drank too much of the free Dr. Pepper that was being given away, there was even a rock-climbing wall and an inflatable bouncy castle for their parents to take them to burn off all that sugar-induced energy.

            Although the fair was crowded, not many college students could be found, as the event seemed to cater to families and young children.  While there was still plenty to appreciate for an older crowd, not everyone seemed to have a good time.  One USD student criticized the event for being “disorganized,” and said that several groups were confused as to what times they were to perform and generally seemed to “not really know what was going on.”  Yet, despite some of the complaints and the rather cool weather, most in attendance seemed to enjoy the opportunity to witness San Diego’s rich cultural diversity firsthand.