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300 Volunteers & 2,800 Visitors @ World Festival

ABADA-Capoeira students performed at PWPL World Festival. Photo: Linda Nutter
ABADA-Capoeira students performed at PWPL World Festival. Photo: Linda Nutter
Three hundred volunteers collaborated to make the World Festival at the Port Washington Public Library and Landmark on Main Street a great success last Sunday, with a record 2,800 visitors meeting neighbors from 35 countries.

“We appreciate the tremendous dedication of the international volunteers who proudly shared their traditions and made this event possible,” stated Library Director Nancy Curtin. The PWPL World Festival is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Library (FOL).

Brightly-colored flags hung in every room, signaling the 35 international exhibits that were organized by continent throughout the library - Latin America in the Lapham Meeting Room, Asia in the Reading Room, Europe in the Children's Room, and so on, all the way around the globe. 

"It's the day that we can tell, show and share our culture with the rest of the World!" stated Paola Diaz, a Chilean tutor in the library's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) department.

Representatives from each country welcomed every visitor, offering an abundance of traditional foods, craft projects, games, and spectacular images of their homelands.

Many volunteers and their families wore traditional dress, including bejeweled saris, hand-painted silk kimonos, lederhosen and dirndl skirts, woven hats, chic berets, exotic headdresses, and so much more.

"I think it is important to showcase the wonderfully diverse population of our town," said Jennifer Wiggins from Australia, "and I have been impressed with the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the festival - it will give our children a wider window on the world."

According to Betty Leong from Taiwan, "It is important for children to see that adults from different backgrounds can work together and put on a great event."

This year's festival also celebrated traditional stories, fables, and myths that are shared across generations; in the library’s Story Circle, Jonathan Kruk was the host as children and adults performed their favorite stories from around the world. International volunteers contributed traditional tales to the library's original World Tales online flip book - click here to view it! Storytelling activities were sponsored by the Jackie Spielman Storytelling Fund of the Port Washington Library Foundation.

The library’s performances included the brilliant NYC Mariachi Conservatory; ABADA-Capoeira - children and adults performed this breathtaking martial arts-based dance; Graham Wiggins (a.k.a. DrDidg) played the Australian didgeridoo; Dr. Shruti Patel performed a Rajasthani folk dance from India; and students from the Chinese Cultural Association of Long Island Performing Arts Club presented several tales in a traditional puppet theater.

“The Friends of the Library (FOL) takes pride in our library every day for the strength of its programs,” FOL President Amy Bass said, “but we took special pride last Sunday when our library outdid itself in celebrating the expansive cultural fabric of our community.”

Landmark’s global activities included cooking demonstrations, origami lessons, performances by the Petri School of Irish Dance and Louie Miranda Bilingual Singer, and a demonstration by World Tae Kwon Do of Port Washington. World Festival activities at Landmark on Main Street are sponsored by the American Chai Trust.

Though the March World Film Festival concluded last Monday, the International Art Exhibition will be on view through April 25 in the Community Gallery - it features works by 30 artists portraying places and subjects from around the globe.

In the beautiful words of Tinu Thakore, a Friends of the Library board member from India, "We all live in a global community where the traditions and practices of world cultures are integrated into our daily experiences. As part of this integrated approach, it is vital that we learn about culture, communication and diversity. We should expose our minds to the beauty that can be found in other cultures while expanding the understanding of the people that inhabit the earth."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Barbara Nakelski April 05, 2014 at 08:08 PM
No mention in the article of any American culture, since we, too, are part of the 'global' community.

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